Luigiís Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS) Review
Posted by Adam Larck on 03.24.2013
See how Luigiís Mansion handles the jump to handhelds inside.
Title: Luigiís Mansion: Dark Moon
Developer: Next Level Games
Just as Mario has his princesses and castles, it seems like Luigi now has his mansions.
Luigiís Mansion: Dark Moon is the second entry where Luigi suits up with a vacuum, shows heís not afraid of no ghosts and starts sucking down anything in sight. Ghosts, money, rats, spiders and more are not safe from the power of the Poltergust 5000.
The game starts off with the Dark Moon, a purple moon keeping the ghosts in-check and friend, being shattered by a Boo. Once chaos starts happening, Professor E. Gadd again ropes Luigi into cleaning up the ghosts while trying to find fragments of the moon to put back together.
Unlike the first game, Dark Moon takes place through five mansions, each with a different feel. However, the personality from the mansion in the last game never seems to fully come out. Thereís not a lot of character backstory in mansions, and ghosts are fairly repetitive once you see the main types the game has to offer.
Helping to take care of the ghosts is the Poltergust 5000 and Luigiís new stroboscope. The stroboscope is a modified flashlight that is needed to stun ghosts by charging it up. Only after stunning a ghost can you start trying to trap them in the vacuum, which helps you out by sending out a charged bursts to weaken ghosts quicker if you hold the stick away from ghosts long enough. As you progress, youíll notice some ghosts will have armor or sunglasses which needs to be taken care of first before moving on to the ghost itself.
The other problem when sucking up ghosts are other ghosts as well. You seldom take on ghosts 1v1. Often, two or three ghosts will spawn at once, forcing you to try and such up multiple ghosts at once or isolate one while dodging its friendís attacks. Luigi can withstand a decent amount of punishment before falling, though, which is nice.
Early on, youíll also get the other big addition to this game, the dark light. The new light, separate from the stroboscope, shows objects hidden by spirits. This starts quickly opening up new puzzles in levels as you try to find hidden objects in rooms, as well as letting some later mansions have more action areas.
Besides capturing ghosts, the vacuum is also used to suck up curtains, move fans and more to uncover various treasures in levels. The treasures are needed to help upgrade the vacuum, which is handy in later levels.
Making full use of the 3DS screens is the Dual Scare, a DS communicator that changes the bottom screen into a map and walkie-talkie between you and E. Gadd. Considering thereís not much else of a use for the bottom screen in a game like this, it makes sense to just leave a permanent map up showing locations where to go and a general layout of each mansion.
Unfortunately, the open-world feel of the first game is gone, replaced by smaller missions more suited for the 3DS before calling you back to the professorís lab for the next mission. I understand why itís done, but some sprawling mansions to just wander around and do quests at your leisure would have been nice. I also question why thereís no quick save in a mission. Considering this is made for a handheld, a temporary quick save feature would have been great.
All the normal types of quests are here: capture a certain ghost, fetch an item, escort something and even a timed mission thrown in for safe measure. Thereís no mold broken here, but itís still a fun single-player experience.
In addition, there is an item vault and various collectibles to find in the mansions, such as gems and hidden Boos, to keep you coming back. Still, the story can be beat in five-10 hours, longer if you want to complete everything the game has.
The meat of the game doesnít unlock until a few missions in: The ScareScaper, the multiplayer mode which can be played local, download or online. The ScareScaper features four modes to go through as well: Hunter (capturing all ghosts), Rush (finding exit within time limit), Surprise (different gametype per floor) and (Polterpup) trying to find ghost dogs). Out of the four, Iíd say the Hunter is probably the easiest to pick up and one of the most enjoyable modes there.
Now, before you think that ScareScraper is only multiplayer, keep in mind that the modes can be played with 1-4 players, meaning it can be soloed. It just becomes a lot harder as you turn the difficulty up its three levels. You can also choose the amount of floors to go through, from five to infinite.
Each game has random elements, such as curses and hazards, to keep things fresh. In addition, money earned in multiplayer does transfer back to the story mode.
Thankfully, lag was few and far between, with most matches running extremely smooth. My biggest complaint, though, is communication. There are some set sayings you can use, but thatís not enough. The pinging on the map is also a good touch, but I also ran into people that wanted to just constantly keep pings going to annoy players. Some sort of utilization of the mic in missions would have been great.
The game gives off a scary vibe that is still cartoony enough to laugh at as you go through. The main character models are done well, and mansions are pleasant to see, even after staying multiple missions in them.
The music is also enjoyable, although sound clips of ghosts can become repetitive after capturing your 50th green ghosts.
Action is simple to pick up and play a mission or two.
Multiplayer is quite enjoyable.
Good variety of mansions in game.
Mansions donít capture charm of last gameís larger mansion.
No quick save.
Lot of stop and go between missions and getting transported to professor.
Luigiís Mansion: Dark Moon takes everything the GameCube version did and either slightly improves it or at least keeps it consistent. Sure, some things from the last game were lost due to being a mobile platform now, but the game is still a solid entry and one Nintendo fans should check out. Nintendoís had great luck this year with 3DS exclusives, and Luigiís Mansion: Dark Moon continues that trend.
The mansions and character models look good, especially for a handheld title.
The gameplay is solid for single player, and enjoyable for multiplayer.
The haunting music really plays up the nervousness that Luigi feels as he wanders around the mansions.
If you like the multiplayer mode, you may keep coming back to it. Otherwise, the main game will take 5-10 hours to beat, although it may be a bit longer if you hunt for collectibles.
Except for a few frustrating missions, the game was a blast to play for the most part, with multiplayer being an enjoyable experience as well.