The Mystery: Who exactly is this game intended for?
For 81 years, the Addams Family have ushered horror-curious kids into creepy adulthood. They are the perfect gateway drug. Spooky but not scary, macabre but witty. Addams Family Mystery Mansion, a new home builder simulator from Pixowl , taps into aspects of that unique charm, but never finds a good use for it.
Using the character design from the 2019 movie, Addams Family Mystery Mansion begins on Gomez and Morticia’s anniversary. Gomez strips their ancestral home bare, so Morticia can re-decorate as she sees fit. As they move through the house, periodically stopping to dance or fence, they unlock further rooms and find the rest of the family. To be clear; there is no actual mystery in this narrative. The mystery is exclusively modifying the house. And that is a bummer.
A Novel Idea
Novel, not in originality, but in reference to the amount of reading the player will be doing. The gameplay is heavily reliant on text. And that is no, inherently, a bad thing! The dialogue reads like a decaffeinated version of the classic, morbid Addams Family banter. Not great, but not awful. Gomez and Tish talk a lot. Each character has an icon on the side of the screen. Click on it to see a wish list (for some reason, Tish constantly wants a ball of yarn. I guess because women?). Some items require assembly. Gomez’s gauntlet, for example, demands assembly, which is achieved primarily through expending stars and coins. Coins and stars are granted for completing small tasks, like allowing Tish to dance or Gomez to fence. Levels are unlocked by placing certain pieces of furniture throughout the available rooms.
At What Cost
You would be forgiven for thinking Addams Family Mystery House is a shameless cash grab, because, well, it is that exactly. The tasks, which include such thrilling options as “having family dinner,” require a certain amount of time to elapse. Should a player get impatient and not want to wait 3 hours (no exaggeration. That is the length of the dinner wait) it can be skipped, but only by spending diamonds —more than a player can gain on by play.
There are constant ploys to get players to spend actual, real world money. Who is this game’s intended audience? I can’t imagine an adult spending money to speed their ability to fake interior design. But would a game based on decoration really appeal to a child? The greatest charms of the game rest in the bits of banter between the family, most of which are a bit sophisticated for small children. Addams Family Mystery Mansion is pretty dull, which is the worst possible use of such a classically weird cast of characters. The graphics are pleasant enough. The character designs are accurate. Credit where it’s due.
Is it Hardcore?
If you want a game to dip in and out of while you’re on the train, you could do worse. But overall, Addams Family Mystery Mansion feels pretty mercenary.