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Review: Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon


Developer: Next Level Games

Publisher: Nintendo

Platform: 3DS

Release Date: March 24, 2013

ESRB: E for Everyone



To most of the world, it’s the year 2013. But to Nintendo, it’s the Year of Luigi. Our green-clad friend has always been in his brother’s shadow, but now it’s Luigi’s turn in the limelight. One of the bigger games that has released as part of the Year of Luigi celebration is a long-awaited sequel.


Yup, it’s Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, the follow-up to the GameCube launch title that came out almost 12 years ago. Does it meet the high, built-up expectations from so many years of waiting? Or is it unsuccessful at sucking you in completely?




No, Luigi hasn’t won another mansion in Dark Moon. Rather, his good friend Dr. E. Gadd calls him for some much-needed assistance. It turns out that the mysterious Dark Moon that hangs above Evershade Valley has shattered, and the once-calm ghostly denizens have suddenly turned aggressive as a result. It’s up to Luigi to venture through Evershade Valley’s five “mansions,†gather the pieces of the Dark Moon, and defeat whoever’s behind the destruction of it.


Dark Moon plays pretty similarly to its predecessor. You’re armed with the trusty Poltergust 5000, which you must use to capture ghosts and Boos, solve puzzles, and gather tucked away treasure. A flashlight is still used to stun ghosts, but it’s now chargeable and therefore can release even more powerful bursts of light. The 3DS’s gyroscope controls have been implemented for aiming with both the vacuum and flashlight, though you are also able to use buttons if you please. Surprisingly, I found myself using the gyroscope controls the majority of the time. In the case of the gimmicky tightrope sections where you’re forced to use the gyroscope controls, well… that’s another story. Let’s just say that you might want to throw your 3DS at the wall during a specific part of the game.




You won’t be able to suck up ghosts willy-nilly, though. Each type of ghost has a unique way of attacking and defending. They’ll gang up on you, too, if you’re not careful and strategic. So, learn how to rid a Greenie of his deflective pail helmet and figure out how to quickly nab a speedy Hider. You’ll soon be a ghost-catching master!


Bosses in Dark Moon are something I’m a bit disappointed in. If you played the original Luigi’s Mansion, you’ll remember the terrifying Portrait Ghosts (of which there are quite a lot). When you finally defeated them, you would get a certain portrait of the ghost to view at your leisure later. There’s none of that in Dark Moon. Instead, minibosses are usually ghosts that you’ll regularly find throughout the game. The five bosses are all ghosts that look exactly the same, just with different numbers of horns. Okay, I’m being a bit unfair about that, considering the actual boss battles themselves are much improved upon the ones from the original game in terms of strategy and style. I still think I’d rather have the Portrait Ghosts back, though.




Dark Moon is not at all short like its predecessor (which was a major complaint for some). On top of the main story being much longer, there are plenty of extras to keep completionists busy. The main campaign can start feeling a bit repetitive and predictable, though. Even if Polterpup is downright adorable, he gets annoying pretty quickly. Extras include getting three stars on each mission (the highest possible rank), gathering all the gemstones in each mansion, and capturing every single Boo. Dark Moon also features a multiplayer mode called ScareScraper, in which you can play alone, locally, or online.


One of my favorite things about Dark Moon is its graphics, which are some of the best that you’ll currently find on the 3DS. There’s so much variety in environment in the game due to the wildly different mansions, and all of it is rendered gorgeously. And even if Dark Moon is supposed to be dark and spooky, there’s so much color and it pops. The humor and character, too, is splendid. If you didn’t love Luigi before then you certainly will now. He is absolutely adorable and charming in Dark Moon.




Whether you played the original Luigi’s Mansion or not (which you should, anyway!), Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is a must-have for your 3DS. Bust those ghosts and save Evershade Valley!




+ Long main campaign, extras, and multiplayer offer lots of playtime

+ Best graphics on the 3DS so far

+ Fantastic humor and character




- No portrait ghosts; minibosses and bosses feel too similar

- A bit too repetitive/predictable in regards to the missions



Overall Score: 8 (out of 10)



Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is a worthy sequel to a well-loved GameCube launch title. The Year of Luigi is off to a great start!

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