Hands-On: Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon

It has been a pretty significant chunk of time since Luigi has had a game all to himself, it has been since 2001 in fact on the small purple machine known as Gamecube! Now in 2013 Nintendo has finally remembered that Mario has a brother (who is much cooler!) and named this the “Year of Luigi.” Thus a Luigi’s Mansion sequel has finally arrived for the Nintendo 3DS, but was it something worth waiting for? After a few hours with the game I have my verdict.

Luigi 2

First, I have never played the original Luigi’s Mansion. I knew what the game generally consisted of, but I never got around to playing it myself, that will play heavily into whether the sequel, Dark Moon, is for you. While this 3DS version features a much more fleshed out experience, it still consists of primarily wandering around locations while hitting the A button on every item in the place. In fact, Luigi’s Mansion plays out quite similarly to old school Adventure games. You enter an environment and you set out on exploring every nook and cranny while solving the occasional puzzle. While this system isn’t bad, and many will enjoy it quite a bit, I found myself eventually growing tired of its repetitiveness and soon after, found myself eyeing the other games around me.

The story of Luigi’s Mansion 2 see’s the helpful ghosts of professor E. Gadd turned against him by the Dark Moon. The ghosts are now running amok and causing havoc in various locations and it is up to Luigi to return and put a stop to them, Ghostbusters style. Like any Nintendo game the story is provided via text bubbles and the occasional sound from the cast. The tone is light and the text is oftentimes cheesy with the occasional chuckle escaping your lips.


When it comes to presentation Nintendo once again shows what their hardware can do. Dark Moon is one of the best looking games on the 3DS system with great use of the 3D effect and some of the best lighting the handheld has seen to date. Environments vary in style and are well detailed while holding many secrets. It is the sound design that is truly special however. This may come off more negative than I intend, but the audio of Luigi’s Mansion was my favorite part of the game, particularly the way Luigi hums.

From environmental sound effects, to Luigi’s speech, to the soundtrack; Dark Moon is a pretty special audio package. Two shining aspects however come while you are exploring the mansions within the game or receiving a call. During gameplay the main theme plays in the background with Luigi himself occasionally deciding to hum along to the track, literally every single time this occurred I found myself smiling as the frightened plumber calmed his nervousness with song. A similar smirk would come when Luigi receives a call from E. Gadd. Luigi’s Mansion features the best ringtone ever and whenever the call would come (which is pretty frequent in the beginning) I would find myself just letting it play and enjoying. I am sure many have now downloaded this track for use outside the game.

While Dark Moon is without a doubt a very charming little game, after a couple of hours with it, I unfortunately found myself growing tired of its formula. While there are some clever ways for the player to interact with the environments, the gameplay of Luigi’s Mansion consists entirely of tapping A and vacuuming up materials. You are either using the Poltergust 5000 to either suck up ghosts or carpets, or to either blow back items, collecting coins along the way. That will be the majority of your time with the game, and at least for me, no amount of charm was enough to alleviate the tedium.

While the mansions can hold a decent puzzle or two, the combat of Dark Moon is perhaps the weakest aspect of the game. There is just no tension when you’re wrangling up the afterlife in Luigi’s Mansion. The process of capturing ghosts see’s you stunning them with your flashlight and then simply holding back while they’re health depletes. That’s about it. Later on the game will mix up the variety of spectre’s but not once did it become particularly bothersome or difficult, just a simple process that becomes more a chore than an exciting event. I believe I would have enjoyed the game more if the aspect of capturing ghosts was more a puzzle itself and actual “combat” was left by the wayside.

Luigi’s Mansion also offers players various ways in which to play both online and locally with fellow 3DS owners. I haven’t tried these features yet myself, but I have heard they can be quite hectic and lots of fun. The game also allows for sharing to local 3DS systems who do not have the game themselves, allowing for fun without the need for another cartridge.

While Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is a truly charming title that can be fun to pass some time with, for me it wore out its welcome with its lack of depth and difficulty. Its a game I may pick up from time to time, but not one I would sit and play for long stretches, or one that I would think about while away. If you were a fan of the original and know what you’re getting into, than by all means pick this up. But for those on the fence, you may want to wait for it to go down in price (Good luck with that -Nintendo), or opt for another game on your wishlist. –Chuck

Hands-On Rundown

  • + Visuals and audio are fantastic
  • + World design is interesting
  • + Luigi is great
  • – Combat is repetitive and dull
  • – No mid level save causes loss of progress
  • – After few hours seen it all

“Hands-On Impression”



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