Luigi has always been dubbed the eternal understudy in the Nintendo universe. While always playing second fiddle to his more popular brother Mario, Luigi has never really gotten his due in many of the games he has appeared in. Yet there are a few little gems scattered across the all the different Nintendo console generations where Mario’s green hatted brother has stepped into the spotlight and out of his brother’s shadow. One such game was a title originally on the Nintendo GameCube called Luigi’s Mansion, which was a launch title for the system back in the day. Now Luigi is getting another shot at a solo adventure on the 3DS in a sequel following his exploits on the GameCube. And this time the stakes are raised even higher for the green plumber.
Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon picks up right after the events of the first Luigi’s Mansion game on the GameCube. Those who never played the first game should not worry though, as they will be quickly brought up to speed through a little narrative from Professor E. Gadd, a crazy scientist who studies ghost that populate the various areas in the game. The main story involves the Professor’s experiments going awry when the fabled Dark Moon in the sky shatters and causes every ghost in the area to revert to mean, trouble making ghost. The Professor then calls upon Luigi to help capture the ghost causing havoc and recover and restore the pieces of the broken up Dark Moon. Although cheeky and a little simple, the story is handled well through some decent pacing and held together through some silly humor that makes the game more funny than scary. Yet it is still a fun ride to the end finding out the true cause of all the trouble befalling everyone.
The overall aesthetic look of the game is great on the 3DS, with a little more polish than most other titles out there. Although taking place in a dark setting, there is a lot of variety in the different set pieces with a range of colors to keep things fresh throughout the entire adventure. There are a total of five main areas to explore, each with their own look and personality, as well as bunch of hidden secrets. The ghost enemies that Luigi encounters throughout the game all display a lot of personality when interacting with Luigi, the environment, as well as other ghost. Stronger ghost that make up the boss encounters of the game are unique in their design and behaviors rather than being larger versions of standard enemies.
While the graphics and environments are great on the 3DS, the gameplay is what really shines in Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon. Armed with Professor E. Gadd’s invention, the Poltergeist 5000, players will have capture ghost and solve various puzzles in order to restore the Dark Moon pieces to normal. Controls for the game are simple and easy to get into, making exploration and puzzle solving a breeze. In addition to sucking up ghost and blowing obstacles out of the way, Luigi now has access to the Dark Light Device, an add-on to the Poltergeist 5000 that reveals hidden invisible objects. A flash bulb is also attached to the Poltergeist 5000 to help with stunning ghost and prepping them up for capture. All of the devices though can be used in conjunction to solve puzzles and get around obstacles.
Catching ghost is the heart of the game, and it is just as fun in this game as it was back on the GameCube. Usually the process involves stunning a ghost with the flash bulb and then sucking it up with the Poltergeist 5000, this goes for every enemy ghost in the game. Yet there are times when something must be done before players can capture a ghost, such as finding ghost that are hiding in objects. Later on in the game the ghost get a little clever and start to do things like wear sunglasses or armoring up with pots and pans to prevent from getting captured. The game can get a bit challenging when there are multiple ghost on screen that use such tactics, but with a little ingenuity and a hint of patience, such moments can end up being a blast to play.
The newest addition is the multiplayer modes that can be played both online and offline. This is done in the Scarescrapper, a tower where up to four friends can compete or work together to capture ghost and ascend towards the top floor. Unlike most other 3DS games with multiplayer, Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon allows for download play for those who don’t yet own a copy of the game, allowing up to four players to share one cartridge. While this is only limited to so much, it is still a great option to have when nobody else owns the game. But when really getting into the modes, players are going to want to hop online and team up with others for some ghost busting action.
In Scarescrapper there are a total of three different modes that can all be fully customized to tailor to anyone’s preferences. Rush is a race to reach the top floor within a certain time limit, capturing as many ghost along the way to extend the timer. Polterpup is a mode where players work together using their Dark Light Devices to find the hidden Polterpups before the timer runs out. Hunter Mode is exactly as it sounds, where the main objective is to hunt as many ghost as possible within each area. Games can span up to twenty-five floors or as low as five, with various settings that can be set to change things up. Online play is pretty stable, with not a lot of hiccups or connection issues during games. While finding a game to get into can be a little annoying depending on what connection the 3DS is on, going online is a blast when having a full four man team working together.
Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon is one of those 3DS games that bring a lot to love to the table. As a total package there is a lot of value, both in single player and multiplayer experience, any 3DS owner will appreciate. The single player campaign has plenty of story to follow, areas to explore, and secrets to uncover when capturing the many ghost found throughout. Multiplayer adds plenty of extra incentive to keep this game in your system for a good long while. If you haven’t picked up Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon for your 3DS system yet then you definitely need to do so, this game definitely earns a spot in anyone’s collection.
This review was based on a review copy of the game for the Nintendo 3DS provided by Nintendo.