Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon for the 3DS is a bigger and better Luigi-centric adventure than its predecessor, with all the added convenience of being a portable game. For anybody new to the franchise it is basically an action adventure game where Luigi is tasked with exploring some haunted mansions and doing some ghost hunting. This basically breaks down to you exploring with your little flashlight and your trusty Poltergust 5000. While exploring, there are fun little puzzles for you to solve, gems for you to collect and ghosts for you to catch. After you stun a ghost that jumps out at you the game turns into an almost fishing-like minigame with you trying to suck the ghost into your vacuum before it gets away. So, yes, this is a much different game than the Mario games we’ve gotten accustomed to lately. Let’s get into it.
This game looks great. The ghosts all look good, the mansions look cool, and this is quite possibly the best 3D I’ve seen on this machine. There isn’t any real dialog and you must read everything said by Professor E. Gadd, which is fine, but they do an exceptional job with Luigi’s dialog. It is a bit hard to explain because Luigi doesn’t talk either, he just kind of makes noise without subtitles. It comes off fun and charming like the first little bit of Wall-E. This was a cute way of doing handling it and really felt right in the game.
Fan Service, Fan Service Everywhere
If you are a Nintendo fan, there are a lot of little fun things hidden throughout the game for you. My favorite Nintendo in-jokes being Luigi’s status in the world and the use of Toads. There are several points in the game where somebody will mention to Luigi’s face that he is in Mario’s shadow. Although the Professor did say if he is successful in this adventure he may get a status closer to his famed brother. Also I really loved the use of Toads in this game.
All the Toads in the game are assistants of the professor’s who get trapped in paintings. First off, the professor is colorblind and he can’t tell any of the Toads apart. He forgets that there are two of them trapped in one of the mansions, leaving the second for dead if someone didn’t tell you about him. But the best comes after you start saving them. A couple of them were shocked that Luigi saved them instead of Mario and my absolute favorite use of Toad is sucking him up with the vacuum and throwing him at distant items you need to destroy. This really seemed like the amount of respect Toad deserves. [Editor's Note: I.E. None]
A Lot To Keep You Ghost Busting For Hours
The story of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon isn’t that long, in fact you could easily have all five mansions done in around a dozen hours, but the game gives you reasons to go back. Each mansion has a set of hidden gems to collect, and a bonus level that can be unlocked. Also each mission has a hidden Boo you can catch, and a mission rating you can try to 3 star. Not to mention this game is just fun enough to keep going back to. On top of this there is also some online multiplayer. This multiplayer just consists of you and three other Luigi’s playing different ghost catching minigames. It isn’t great, but I’ll admit I got lost in it for a couple of hours. All of this comes together to give you quite a bit to do.
Imagine your playing a game and your having a great time. You just found that key you’ve been looking for and you feel like you’ve accomplished something. Now get ready to go and unlock that door you’ve been eyeing up.
In a perfect world, you could just go and unlock that door, but not in Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. In this game you are constantly teleported back to Professor E Gadd’s lab so he can count your ghosts and talk to you a little bit. This got very annoying, very fast. I just want to explore this haunted mansion. Just let me explore the whole thing at once and do everything. Don’t force me to go to some lab and watch a cut scene every half hour or so. I understand that they used these points to separate the missions, but I really would have preferred for these to just be simple checkpoints or something that doesn’t slow down gameplay in this way.
Get Outta Here Mario
Spoilers ahead if you don’t want anything ruined. Near the end of the game (although it is hinted at throughout) you find out that King Boo has kidnapped Mario. Luigi can’t just have his own adventure and putting the Dark Moon back together isn’t enough. It was decided that Mario must be present in the game. It just seems Luigi’s one solo adventure in this “year of Luigi” Nintendo didn’t have enough faith in Luigi to not put Mario in the game.
Overall, I had a great time with this game and my only complaints weren’t big . If you liked the previous Luigi’s Mansion, or are a fan of the types of games Nintendo makes in general you will definitely have fun with this one. Near the beginning of the game Professor E. Gadd mentions that it’s been too long since him and Luigi had one of these adventures, and I must say that I agree.