Along with The Simpsons and The Flintstones, The Addams Family are one of the instantly recognisable families to have graced our TV screens. Despite this though, we really haven't seen many video games over the years staring these four characters and the last one to be released (outside of mobile) was The New Addams Family on the Game Boy Colour back in 2001. PHL Collective is due to put an end to this drought soon though, as it's releasing a brand-new four-player co-op title known as Mansion Mayhem that will be playable on all modern systems. Recently we were able to attend a short hands-on session with the game to see whether it's worthy of carrying the beloved family's name.
During the preview, we weren't able to delve into the game's story too deeply, but we did learn that it will be completely independent of the upcoming Addams Family 2 movie. A brief synopsis that was shared with us details that Mansion Mayhem will see us fight to protect the family's home after it is threatened by a "mysterious visitor." We didn't get to see much of this, but one interesting observation is that story is delivered through just animated stills.
Mansion Mayhem sees you venture through different parts of the family's home such as the kitchen, graveyard, and record room, and there are two level types: party games and more traditional platforming stages. Within our demo, we were able to play through several platforming levels within the kitchen, and we found that both the enemies and hazards felt consistent with the overarching theme. Here sentient tomatoes and chili peppers attacked us and we had to scale our way past obstacles such as endlessly moving rolling pins and platforms that would descend into searing hot soup.
Something we really liked about the platforming is how accessible it felt. Here the controls feel instinctive if you have played any other 3D platformer (X is to jump and square to attack, etc.) and checkpoints are placed around generously, so you don't feel too punished for dying. There are also plenty of secrets and collectibles to be found for those who feel inquisitive and take their time. During our playthrough, we found many hidden chests stashed with silver coins hidden off the beaten path, and there were even mini-challenges where you had to quickly collect flashing orbs of light to receive even more coins.
Each member of the Addams Family (Wednesday, Pugsley, Gomez, and Morticia) is playable here and they all have their own abilities that become accessible at different parts of the game. In the kitchen, for example, we could use Gomez's sword to slash enemies and extend the highlight of our jump, and in the graveyard, Wednesday's pet sider can be used to swing around and hurl objects. These mechanics help to keep the platforming feeling fresh, but the characters struggle to stand out from each other when they share the same abilities. Having these abilities separate for each character could have also encouraged a greater sense of teamwork between players.
There are 12 different mini-games here and these look to be chaotic and endlessly replayable. The first one we played saw us traverse obstacles and collect coins as the screen slowly started to chase us from before and another we experienced was a rush to gather up the most coins within a small arena filled with sinking platforms. With a friend or two, we can see these having a real competitive edge to them, but they just felt flat when playing solo. Here there are no AI competitors to battle against either and as a result, it feels a little hollow when you're rushing around to get a high score on your own.
Our biggest complaint with Mansion Mayhem though is that the visuals appear noticeably dated with it containing character models and backgrounds that feel like they belong in the PS2 generation. The tone does feel on-brand with the developers using assets taken directly from the upcoming Addams Family 2 movie, but there is just a lack of polish throughout. Sure, with these types of games it isn't make or break, but it stands out like a sore thumb compared to other competitors like Super Lucky's Tale or Yooka-Laylee.
The Addams Family: Mansion Mayhem looks to be capable of delivering some accessible and entertaining family fun when it launches later this month. The blend of traditional platforming and party games does feel unique and there is little barrier for entry with there being very little punishment for failure. That said, the visuals do appear noticeably dated and we'd advise that you steer clear of the party games if you are playing solo. Be sure to check back for our full thoughts when The Addams Family: Mansion Mayhem launches on PC, PS4, and Xbox One on September 24, 2021.