Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon Review (3DS)

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is a sequel to the 2001 Gamecube game, Luigi's Mansion. The plot revolves around a certain thing called the "Dark Moon" which hangs over Evershade Valley and has some sort of calming effect on the ghosts that live in that area.

When the Dark Moon was shattered for an unknown reason (the intro pretty much gives a clue though), the ghosts went haywire. Luigi, the not so brave brother of Mario was asked by the Paranormal researcher, Professor E. Gadd (E stands for Elvin) to retrieve the missing pieces and put them back together. In order to do so, Luigi must search the mansions in which the dark moon pieces fell.

Professor E. Gadd and Luigi aren't strangers to each other. They've actually met on the first game where they've first met on a haunted mansion.

There are 5 mansions in total for this game: The Gloomy Manor, Haunted Towers, Old Clockworks, Secret Mine and Treacherous Mansion.

Obviously, you play as Luigi, but it's a completely different game than most Mario and Luigi games. It's described as an action adventure game, but if you ask us, it's a mix of Resident Evil, Super Mario 3D Land, and Megaman.

The game starts by making your collect the things you need for fighting the ghosts. You'll basically start up unarmed, relying solely in your ability to look for things. Once you've at least got a hold of the flash light and the Poltergust 5000, the upgraded version of ghost-sucking machine that professor E. Gadd himself made, you're ready for some serious action.

You'll be introduced to the game mechanics little by little with the help of professor E. Gadd himself. You'll also be receiving details about your current mission from him. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon's gameplay mainly consists of activating things, looking for a key, and opening doors. They're not just any doors though, most of them are secretly hidden behind things you would not normally expect, and the same goes for the keys needed to open them.

The usual method of combat is stunning the ghosts with your flashlight, and then sucking them into the Poltergust 5000. Some enemies require some smart use of what you have in the surroundings and using those against them.

The controls are a bit sophisticated. You can move around freely with the circle pad, and most actions are done by holding down the L or R trigger with another button, or holding the X or Y button with another button. Your fingers basically have to be long enough to reach over the other button.

The gyroscope and motion sensors are only used where appropriate such as viewing portraits, and crossing ropes. Unlike in other games that try to build gameplay based on hardware functions, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon doesn't force it at all. You'll need to somehow get good with it at some point though in order to progress.

The lower touchscreen is reserved for the map and you can use the touchscreen to navigate it. However, it's impressive how much interactivity actually goes on both the touchscreen and the upper LCD screen all the time.

Some areas and things require proper use of your equipment to uncover. So when you're stuck, make sure to keep those eyes open and roaming, leave no stone unturned, you might just find something surprising. It's really like playing detective and ghost-hunting.

The level of progression is quite linear. You complete a task, and you'd be called back to be given instructions on your next mission. Each mission takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to finish. Depending on the level you're playing in and how thorough you are, it could take up to more than half an hour to finish. It's natural to feel a bit tired and exhausted after a mission since you'll be thinking a lot, and you'll holding and hammering the buttons for a long time.

The ghosts are the main villains in the game. However ghosts aren't the only enemies you'll fight in the game. There are other hostile creatures like spiders, rats, bats and wild plants. Nothing that your handy flashlight and Poltergust 5000 can't handle though.

The ghosts not only differ in appearance, but also in personality. If there's anything similar at all to describe them is that all the ghosts are bullies. They each have their own behavior, so their attack patterns and the strategy on defeating them also differs a bit. You might also want to know that Boo from the Super Mario Bros. series also make an appearance in this game and plays a major role as a protagonist throughout the entire game.

You won't be ghost-hunting all the time. There are other things to distract you from your main objective such as collecting coins and gems. Collecting coins allow you to upgrade the Poltergust 5000 and the dark light, so it also makes sense to go back to previously completed levels to collect more coins. You can carry with you all the upgrades and stuff you've collected from more advanced levels.

For each mission, things change inside the mansion (whichever one you're playing). You could pass by the same area and discover that some things are gone, or there again. You shouldn't be afraid to try the same thing over and over again. This game will really try to stir your curiosity, and you will be rewarded accordingly.

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon's graphics look really good to look at even from afar, making it a perfect game to make someone watch over your shoulder. It's a big improvement from Luigi's Mansion on gamecube, not just on animation, but also on texture and character models.

The stereoscopic 3D effect blends in naturally with the game. Since you'll be exploring mansions in third-person view, it's always the perfect time and place to turn the 3D on. The game's earthly tone colors also seem to tell more about the environment's depth.

The environments are vast and looks reasonably spooky. You can also interact with almost anything you can see and pass by. The levels are surprisingly huge, and it's very impressive how they've seemingly not put any loading times during the actual play. The game runs at around 50 to 60FPS, even with the 3D on. Surprisingly, the game also runs very smooth even during multiplayer mode.

The bosses in Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon are tough and takes some time to beat. They expose an easy-to-recognize pattern, but even so, you will have to work hard to beat them. Each bosses are unique, and their abilities always have something to do with the nature of the mansion you're in.

Music is almost never taken for granted in any Nintendo games. Luigi's mansion's soundtrack is tuned to the mood of the game. Those who played the previous game might get a sense of nostalgia. There's a scobydoo and Beethoven feel in it, a mix of comedy and horror. Some might find it bad that the same music is recycled over and over again, with some variations, but it's so good that you'll probably never even care. You can even hear Luigi himself sing and rhyme with the current level's music from time to time.

The characters, including E. Gadd and Luigi don't have a lot of audible dialogue.The ghosts often laugh or make a surprised sound. To summarize, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon has everything in it when it comes to sound to make it feel more lively, but don't expect any good English to come out of their mouths.

Even after you finish the game, there's still a lot of things to do. Completionists can take on collecting and completing the gems for extra rewards, or capture all the boos on every mission and unlock an extra mission for each mansion.

The Dark Moon Quest will take about 20 hours to complete while you can spend countless hours on the ScareScraper in local, download play, or online mode. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is a totally fun and collaborative experience and the replay value is amazingly huge.

The Verdict

The game is rated for everyone because there's very little violence in the game. However, because of the controls and investigatory nature of the game, we suggest that you only buy the game for children 6 years and up if you want to leave them playing and figuring out things on their own. Otherwise, you'd just risk getting blamed for your kid being bored.

There's a lot of things to do in this game. So much that I'd probably pick it up again a few weeks/months after I've completed it. The game is full of surprises and humor, a perfect fit for the character that is Luigi.

This game has been in development for a long time, and fans have waited a long time as well. The good news is that they will not be disappointed, and newcomers will be very much entertained.

If you're ready for some ghost-hunting adventure combined with humor and surprises, look no further than Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon.

Rating for Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
Fun Factor:
Game Info:Platform: Nintendo 3DS / XL
Developer: Next Level Games
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: 03/24/2013
Price: $39.99 (Buy It)
Rating: E (Everyone)
No. of players: 1
Online: Yes
Retail: Yes
eSHop (digital): Yes
The Good
  • Good art direction
  • Good graphics, smooth animation, nice 3D effect
  • Challenging (but not impossible) boss fights
  • Lots of things to collect
  • Collaborative and responsive online play
  • About 20 hours of story mode, unlimited replay value
  • Highly interactive game
  • Huge environments with no noticeable loading times
The Bad
  • Long missions (depending on skill), can be very exhausting
  • Sophisticated controls, can be hard for children to adapt
This Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon 3DS Review was based on the North American retail version and played on Nintendo 3DS XL.

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