Another 3DS game, and just in time for Halloween. The original Luigi's Mansion for GameCube was among the first GameCube games I played. In many ways a game with Luigi in the starring role was a dream come true, and although I enjoyed the game overall, it took me a while to getting around to finishing it and it didn't really wow me.
Fast forward to ten years later, and history repeats itself. Luigi's starring roles are still few and far between, so I was looking forward to seeing how Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon for 3DS, the sequel to Luigi's Mansion, developed the gameplay from the original. The game does add some new elements and includes way more collectibles to track down, secrets to uncover, and medals to earn. Unfortunately, a lot of those secrets end up being the "rub up against every wall a la Doom" variety. In this case, it's scan every nook and cranny with the scan mode of the Poltergust, which I found gets pretty dull pretty quickly. There are several mansions to explore this time around, although they're not wildly different. There are a number of gems to collect, but the game doesn't make it clear which gems can be collected in which missions. Similarly, the game doesn't make it clear what the requirements for earning the gold medals for each stage are. I found the combat and puzzles to generally be pretty simple and mindless as well.
Those are a lot of negatives, and it took me a long time to get through it as I had to keep setting it aside and picking it up again. The game looks great, though, and is very charming and atmospheric. Luigi has a lot of comedic physicality, including a lot of frightened reactions and slapstick humor. The game also has a multiplayer mode, which can be played over Wi-Fi. I tried it out but it seemed pretty throwaway so I didn't end up spending that much time on it.
Apparently I'm in a minority in my reaction to the game, as the game was released to rave reviews. I'm still a big fan of the man in green and think Nintendo's Year of Luigi was one of the coolest things they've ever done, but I'm still hoping that Luigi will get more chances to shine beyond this side series.
Discover these Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon links:
- Official NA site. The official UK site includes a PDF of the instruction manual.
- E3 2011 trailer
- E3 2012 trailer
- In-depth Nintendo Direct look at the game with Miyamoto. The standalone version of the segment includes a funny bit with Iwata (R.I.P.) and Miyamoto.
- Page on Miiverse
- Iwata Asks feature
- Review at NintendoLife
- Developer interview at NintendoLife
- Developer interview at IGN