Prepare for a fright once more as Luigi returns in Luigi’s Mansion 2, also known as Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, this time out on the Nintendo 3DS. Will Luigi conquer his fear? Is he up for the challenge? Are you? Read on to find out.
Game: Luigi’s Mansion 2
Developer: Next Level Games
Whilst relaxing at home Luigi is interrupted by a strange transmission on his TV which turns out to be none other than Doctor E. Gadd, a scientist and expert on ghosts. Luigi is Pixelshifted to a bunker in Evershade Valley where the game takes place. Doctor E. Gadd was studying the friendly ghosts residing in the area when the Dark Moon above the valley is mysteriously shattered and its pieces spread across to various mansions, causing the ghosts to turn hostile. Luigi is tasked to collect the scattered pieces to restore the Dark Moon in order to return peace and order once more.
Despite being on a handheld console Luigi’s Mansion 2 has great ambience. Whilst produced for the 3DS you can choose to play in 2D if you are more comfortable as some views can be a bit tricky to see with 3D on if looked at from an awkward angle. Luigi’s Mansion 2 is quite captivating and looks have definitely been improved since its GameCube predecessor. The 3D really shows off the depth of the surrounding environment. As you go to the back of a room Luigi feels as if he is far away and all objects in front pop out, like chains and vines dangling in your way and obscuring your view. The colours range from vivid greens to striking reds and rich browns and the ghosts pull off a great translucent glow, revealing a hazy view through them.
Lighting plays such a vital role in creating the right atmosphere. Fires flick light around and shadows are cast from all the right angles and change in size with distance. Lamps flicker and the storms cause blackouts revealing ghostly presences and bright flashes make you jump. The torch perhaps adds the best and simplest touch, when pointed towards you it creates a quaint lens flare which is aesthetically pleasing. If there was one downside to the graphics it is that the 3D effect can be lost when tilting the DS around if you do not move your head along with it, but this is not much of an issue. Overall the graphics certainly emphasize the spooky setting and make you anxious as you explore. The game looks stunning in 3D and attention to detail really draws you in.
Once you have started playing the theme tune will never leave you. Even at work you will find it creep into your mind or you will unknowingly start to hum, it will haunt you. It will even make an excellent ringtone! Great detail has definitely been put into the sound. It has the base of a classic spooky setting with lots of extras that make it quite quirky. Sound echoes across the rooms and surrounds you. The ghosts sound like a more sinister Mr Blobby and the tone will change from a slow creep to a fast paced race in certain circumstances. Each mansion has a unique backing, from an accustomed haunted house, to a spooky Arabian desert to a more serene and tranquil winter chime. Luigi even has special sound effects. Pressing the D-pad will make Luigi say hello in 3 different ways and yoo-hoo, which is very amusing (and maybe annoying to those you may unleash this randomness on) He will hum along to the theme randomly as you walk around or stay still which adds to the uneasy mood as you nervously explore the mansions.
I take my cap off to Nintendo here. It has been a good while since I have played a game that is as formidable as this one. Full to the brim with hidden secrets, rooms and treasure to find, discovering everything is a real challenge.
Luigi has only 3 things to help him in his ghost hunting task, the trusty Poltergust 5000, a flashlight and your wits. Whilst you may think that these alone are not enough it is amazing how you can apply them to solve puzzles and use as a weapon. Starting with the Poltergust 5000 there is no end to what you can do with it. Most importantly it is there to suck up those pesky ghosts into its vortex as they wriggle around frantically to get away. However it is also great for solving tricky puzzles. You can suck up spider webs and for those particularly large webs blocking your way you can suck up cocoons and set them on fire on a nearby candle. With this flaming item now in your hands you can burn away those sticky webs or run around setting spiders on fire, fun right?
Carpets can be rolled up and pictures ripped of the walls, you can even pull out a tablecloth and leave everything else standing! However not only can you suck things up but you can also blow things out. Balloons can be sucked up then inflated to reach new heights and fly across rooms or up shafts to reach new places. Objects can be picked up then blown out to destroy enemies or throw friends to reach new places by pointing and clicking. Time can even be controlled with the Poltergust 5000. Clocks can be sped up or reversed to display a certain time to reveal and open doors or to set off an alarm clock. It really is worth exploring and vacuuming everything to discover more.
The flashlight is used to stun the ghosts before reeling them in. However this really comes in handy when equipped with the Dark-Light Device. Boos are the master of illusion and they love nothing more than concealing things and themselves. This upgrade allows you to bring them back into view much to their surprise before flashing them and reeling them in. This not only applies to Boos but other ghosts and objects as well, such as hidden doors or cabinets which can be revealed to discover new rooms or collectibles.
Doctor E. Gadd will also help you out by contacting you via a DS device which he rings constantly, which at times can be rather annoying like an anxious parent. This also doubles up as a map of the mansions. I often find myself having a little jig every time this plays, much like Luigi when he celebrates his victory.
Controls in the game are greatly engaging. Nintendo have made full use of the Gyro motion sensor on the device which make you feel totally immersed in the action. Holes in the wall can be peered through to reveal goings on in the next room, like ghosts playing catch or using the loo! The gyro controls allow you to tilt and move your 3DS around to explore the surroundings or images and even to point your hoover and flashlight. This can however be a very challenging concept when facing a beam and a long fall down. Utilising this you are faced with crossing a beam to reach another side whilst tipping the 3DS from side to side as you control your balance to cross, which is a feat indeed. I lost count of the amount of times I fell which at times was very frustrating. Only the circular pad is used for controlling Luigi which at times can be painful when you are struggling to pull in a ghost whilst slipping away with sweat or pressing so hard with determination.
There are 5 different mansions to explore, each with their individual characteristics and challenges. You will discover different ghosts with unique abilities and some can be quite tricky to capture and will require different strategies. Some will make use of objects to make it harder to stun them or to attack you. There is a rather loveable dog who loves to play which at first is cute but you will soon find yourself saying “that damn dog!”
As well as the story mode there is also 3 Multiplayer modes to explore. You can play locally with friends or worldwide. The 3 modes include Hunter where you must use teamwork to capture all ghosts and clear the floors as quick as you can. Rush involves finding a hatch to reach the next floor before time runs out. Lastly there is Polterpup where you must track down the polterpups using your Dark-Light Device. This allows you to have more fun with the basics of the game and enjoy catching those pesky ghosts. You also have the option to face these challenges solo if you have the courage and are up for the challenge, but with 25 floors to complete it would be no easy feat.
The gameplay is very imaginative and mind boggling and you will really have to use your head to get through the mansions and solve challenges. There are challenging boss battles for each mansion and there are so many hidden collectibles that you really have to explore every option to find them all.
Whilst the story may not be the longest or most complicated adventure the extensive amount of challenges and hidden collectibles that there are to be found will without a doubt require more than one play through to find them all, I struggled to find even half of them! There is just so much to explore and discover in each mansion that it could take an eternity to search every nook and cranny to discover it all. It is worth taking your time to explore and try out anything you can think of as there are so many fun things to experience. Star rankings give you an opportunity to beat your personal best and with multiplayer modes you can still enjoy the hunt even after completion of the main story. The challenges will certainly require a witty mind and many attempts to conquer.
I loved this game! I had so much fun exploring and discovering its many delights and solving the challenges was highly satisfying, if not frustrating at times. The use of the Gyro motion system provided a new way to overcome challenges and explore the game and was a real neat addition to the gameplay. You really have to use your head at times to solve puzzles and though the story is short the challenges make for a very exciting and puzzling journey and I found I was very satisfied by the time I reached the end, but left me wanting to go back and find everything I could. In short, Luigi’s Mansion 2 is one of the best games out there for the 3DS and a must add to your collection.