Everyone’s favorite sidekick is back in an all new game all to himself in the form of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, which is the sequel to Luigi’s Mansion which originally appeared on the Nintendo GameCube. This time the cowardly-hero tries his best to suck up some ghosts on the go. Is Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon an adventure worth taking, or like Luigi’s weapon of choice, the Poltergust 5000, does it suck?
In Dark Moon, Luigi is once again called into battle- not to find Mario – but to find the dark moon pieces that have scattered and effected all the once good-ghosts and made them all nasty again. You go into 5 different mansion’s all with their own theme, and in bite-sized stages (perfect for portable), each mansions consists of about 5 levels or so. You will have to solve puzzles while earning yourself some money to upgrade your Poltergust 5000 and flashlight.
The Poltergust is one very fun weapon to use as you’ll find yourself sucking up spider webs, drapes, clothing and really, anything that moves. Luigi can interact with some objects that can give him money, or a surprise ghost. If you’re OCD like me you’ll be interacting with everything in the environment just to see what would happen. The actual gameplay mechanics consists of Luigi stunning ghosts first with his trusty-ole-flashlight and then sucking them up. This part brings back memories of the Ghostbusters game as you force yourself one way as the ghost fights you and pulls the other. It’s a very satisfying mechanic with some great challenges. Some ghosts are cleverer than others as well as some will wear sunglasses to block your flashlight, others will have buckets on the heads, and some will even hide in the environments, upping up the challenge of sucking one ghost while dodging another.
Although the gameplay mechanic is fun I really wish they left the Gyroscope controller as being optional, since this is a portable game you’ll most likely be playing in a car or on a bus, so having the screen constantly tilt when you’re just peeking through a hole is just awful. Especially since the 3D effect mirrors when tilted. It’s a mechanic Nintendo has to stop forcing played to use and it’s pretty much what ruined Shinobi 3DS. There are moments where you have to carefully walk across a plank and tilt the 3DS in order to balance Luigi, and you’ll fall over and over again, making a somewhat easy segment, incredibly frustrating. The controls aren’t perfect, as you’ll find yourself facing the opposite direction of a ghost while trying to stun them and aiming up and down can be a bit confusing. Pressing X or B to aim up or down while pressing the suck or blow button can be even more confusing when using the flash light and aiming. It’s not the best or most comfortable controls, but thankfully there’s no touch-screen moments.
The puzzle elements are challenging but that’s definitely a good thing as most Mario games have become cake walks, but this isn’t Mario, it’s Luigi, and his character and personality comes alive. With little to no words from the Green one, he emotes a lot. He’ll wash himself if you stand underneath water, he’ll hum the background music when he’s scared- and he’s always scared- and he’ll twiddle his thumbs when awkwardly standing in an elevator. He communicate with Professor E. Gadd via a DS or it’s as not so cleverly named “The Dual-Scream”. The two bounce off each other very well and can actually be quite humorous at times.
The 3D effects are nice and works well in the game, there aren’t any outstanding “Pop-out moments” but the graphics themselves are clean and sharp. We pay so much attention to hair on characters but never focus on the great physics of curtain drapes, seriously, they’re wonderful. The ghosts are what you expect, -childish-Nintendo-friendly ghosts that sort of look like De Blob, but there are some surprisingly startling moments which I obviously won’t spoil. It’s not Silent Hill but some places are a little creepy, with some awesome music, you’ll be humming the ringtone (?) of the Dual Scream after you’re done answering it.
There is also a multiplayer. Or, the “Scarescraper” mode in which you and 3 other Luigi’s work together (or competitively) to catch ghosts and red coins (earning a random person a random bonus). It’s a nice little addition to an already thick game and is actually quite a lot of fun. There are 3 modes to play online: Hunter Mode, which consists of you and 3 others working together to clear ghosts on each floor, Rush Mode, in which you must find the exit before times runs out (catching ghosts and objects extend the time) and finally Polterpup Mode, you have to find the adorable pup-ghosts with your dark-light flashlight. The online works fine and is actually a very enjoyable
Dark Moon last quite a while, depending on how much you want to do, my first game was about 15 hours and I still went back to collect all the hidden Boos and find all the hidden treasure…just because I enjoyed it so much. The multiplayer definitely extends the life of the game.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon shows that when Nintendo really tries to focus on a game they get it right. The controls, graphics and music are fantastic and sucking Ghosts are always satisfying. The Boss fights do get a tad annoying and the puzzles might make you run in circles, but that’s the point. It does artificially extend the game by making you get go back to once already explored areas and all that but it’s not a real problem. The real problem is the stupid gyroscope controls that are forced upon you, I absolutely hate it. Yes you can use the controls but the gyroscope should really be optional. The game is fun though, a lot of fun, with great atmosphere and funny-lovable characters and a very good multiplayer to boot. It’s great to see Luigi stand on his own without Mario, and it’s even better that it’s one the 3DS. Busting makes him feel good.
ProsGreat Puzzle and Boss Fights Awesome Atmosphere Music is Fantastic Multiplayer is Really Fun
ConsGyroscope Controls are Awful and Not Needed