Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon review

April 9, 2013

Developer: Next Level Games
Number of Players: Single-player campaign, online co-op and multiplayer
Available on: Nintendo 3DS
Release date: March 24, 2013

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is full of charm at every turn; from the cute one-liners Luigi utters to the way he nervously runs, this game will continually make you smile and laugh.

Mario always gets all of the attention, but a lot of gamers will proudly say that their favorite Italian plumber is the one in the green: Luigi. We always like to root for the underdog, I suppose.

Nintendo has dubbed 2013 to be the "Year of Luigi" via a Nintendo Direct video, which shows off Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, New Super Luigi U (DLC for New Super Mario Bros. U) and more. It is clear that Luigi is finally getting the attention his fans have begged for for years.

While I absolutely adored the 2001 GameCube original, it did not suck me in (no pun intended) like its predecessor.

A big change from the original is that it uses a missions system instead of being one continuous game. There are no checkpoints during each mission, which drives you to complete the mission in one sitting. After you complete each mission, you get a rating of a bronze, silver, or gold medal with either one, two, or three stars. The score is based on how long it took you to complete the mission, how many ghosts you captured, the amount of health you lost, and how much money, or treasure, you collected. If you aren't happy with your rating, you can always replay the mission.

As far as gameplay goes, you are yet again equipped with the Poltergust, although this is the 5000 model, an upgrade from the Poltergust model 3000 used in the original.

Included as an attachment on your ghost-sucking vacuum is the Strobulb; a simple flashlight won't suffice for capturing ghosts this time around. The Flashlight is only used to navigate in the dark. The Flashlight also has a feature called the "Dark Light," which allows you to see ghostly illusions.

There are five locations that you explore in Dark Moon, and you can go back and revisit any location at any time to try to improve your rating or simply just explore.

The 3D effects in Dark Moon are actually really, really good. Most 3DS games have me turning that 3D slider all the way down, because I feel that the 3D is useless and headache-inducing. However, the 3D in Dark Moon sucks you even more into the experience. It is very well-done and makes good use of the 3DS's amazing capabilities.

Boss battles are always fun and innovative. None of them are too difficult; I mainly have to use the strategy guide for finding hidden items and sometimes when I can't remember where to go.

One of the most exciting aspects of the game is the brand new multiplayer mode. Nintendo is not known for having exciting multiplayer experiences, especially on a handheld, but this is an exception. The multiplayer mode is called ScareScraper, which is a building with multiple floors that up to four players can peruse. It is compatible with local, online, and Download Play multiplayer.

This game is simple enough for a novice gamer to pick up, because the bottom screen on the 3DS provides a map with an exclamation point highlighted to tell you where you need to go.

My only complaint about this game is that I don't like receiving a lower score because of my time. I like to take my time in games, not rush through them. This is a very minor complaint, and that shows just how amazing the game is.

This game is a huge improvement from the first, which is unusual. I haven't used my 3DS this much since I first bought it last year. I recommend it to anyone who loves Luigi and enjoys an adventure.

Overall score: