hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

Review: Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

12:00 PM on 03.21.2013 // Chris Carter

Spooky out of ten

Despite all of the credit it deserves, the original Luigi's Mansion was a very basic experience, which alienated gamers who were left wanting more. Nintendo fans decried everything from the simplicity, to the lack of replay value, to the lack of variety in the game's mechanics.

Thankfully, Dark Moon expands upon the tried-and-true, fun formula of the original and in just about every way transcends it.

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)
Developer: Next Level Games
Release: March 24, 2013
MSRP: $39.99

The peaceful Evershade Valley is in turmoil after the Dark Moon, a magical artifact that keeps ghosts docile, is shattered. Whether he wants to or not, it's up to reluctant hero Luigi to suit up and help the eccentric Professor E. Gadd to set things right. This time around, there are five mansions to explore to the original's one, as you gather up pieces of the moon and bust as many ghosts as you can find.

Like the first game, the general feel of Dark Moon reminds me of a lighthearted classic Resident Evil. Dark Moon tasks you with roaming around various spooky locales in a mission-based format and kind of lets you have at them, with tons of optional nooks, crannies, and items at your disposal. While it isn't exactly an open-world in any sense like the GameCube classic, the game's extremely varied mansions manage to keep things interesting and make you feel like they're bigger than they really are.

Luigi will have to capture specters the old-fashioned way -- by sucking them up in his trusty Poltergust 5000 vacuum thingamajig. But this time, it's simply not enough to shine a light in a ghost's face to stun them. Ghosts have to be prepped for vacuuming with the new stroboscope -- which is basically a flashlight/strobe-light combo attachment -- before you can "wrangle" them in. If you've played the Luigi's Mansion minigame in Nintendo Land, you're familiar with the basic process minus the vacuuming.

Instead of the "Game Boy Horror" assistance device from the original, Luigi sports a Nintendo DS communicator, with serves as both a walkie-talkie and a map for the bottom of your 3DS. Thankfully, Dark Moon makes great use of the 3DS' second screen and it feels like a natural fit.

Once you've finally set foot in your first mansion, things may feel a bit overly simplistic. You'll search drawers, chests, and other objects for ghosts, then bust them. But once you get the dark light (an alternate flashlight that can highlight hidden dark matter objects -- think Ocarina of Time's Lens of Truth), puzzles start to open up a bit, as you switch between interacting with objects, looking at every square inch of a room, vacuuming, lighting, and dark lighting. Later levels will have more action-oriented sequences seamlessly incorporated into the stage.

The game's missions are fairly varied, in that sometimes you'll be hunting different enemy types (like spiders), solving puzzles, and fighting boss characters. There's a solid variety of ghosts to catch, all of which force you to utilize one of the many tricks you have up your sleeve. Some ghosts have protective sunglasses that have to be sucked up, some swing swords and can only be hit after they're vulnerable, and others have to be exposed by the dark light before capture.

The tone of the game is mostly lighthearted and adorable. If you have any shred of humanity, you won't be able to hold in your chuckles as you play Dark Moon. Simply put, the game is charming, and showcases Luigi's likeability to an amazing degree. Next Level Games and Nintendo channel their inner slapstick as Luigi is constantly tossed and thrown around like a rag doll, but all the while, you're rooting for him.

Visually, Dark Moon looks crisp and colorful on the 3DS, with the ghosts being a particular high point. The 3D is subtle and not overpowering, and augments the game quite a bit, especially when you're close to walls and can see the translucent effects. If I had one complaint, it would be that the menus feel decidedly cheap and "non-Nintendo" in presentation, which can be jarring when juxtaposed to the brilliant graphics.

If you're into extras, there's an item vault, a bestiary compendium, and a heap of collectibles to find across the five mansions. Although you can complete the game in around five to ten hours, you'll spend considerably more time going for a full 100% completion rate. Of course, that might still not be enough for some people. Thankfully, there's a lot more on offer here.

Once you progress through the story a bit, you'll unlock the game's fairly robust multiplayer component, dubbed "The ScareScaper." There's options for local, download (which allows you to beam a condensed version of the game to a friend who doesn't have it), and online play. For the purposes of this review, I was able to test out both the download and online modes, and I'm happy to report that they're fully featured, and worth playing again and again.

All four gametypes are pretty standard -- Hunter (catch all the ghosts), Rush (find the exit before time runs out), Polterpup (hide and seek with enemy ghost dogs), and Surprise (randomizes one gametype per floor). But despite how simple they sound on paper, they offer a ton of replay value.

The really cool thing about ScareScraper is that you don't even need other players to try it -- you can go solo if you want. For every type of player from casual to hardcore, there are three difficulty levels, which range from "doable solo" to "um, you really should bring four people."

What this means is Dark Moon's multiplayer is entirely tailored to your liking. Whether or not you want to do a quick Normal five-floor Hunter playthrough for a bus trip, or a buckle down for a 25-floor (or endless) Expert run with three other experienced ghost hunters is entirely up to you. The more people you bring, the more varied the level will be.

Curses, randomly generated elements, and other hazards keep things interesting and fun, helping to ensure that you have a different experience every time. You can also earn cash in multiplayer to apply towards your main game, and earn competitive MVP awards for bragging rights during each round. The action is fluid, and never drops its framerate in any noticeable manner even with multiple players in the same room.

One of my favorite subtle elements in multiplayer is the ability to ping anywhere on the map with a quick tap. Even with a lack of voice chat, I was able to tell my partners exactly where to go with a fast real-time finger tap while fighting off some ghosts. It takes advantage of the 3DS hardware in a great way without resorting to forced, hamfisted design.

In many ways, Dark Moon's ScareScraper is one of the best multiplayer modes I've ever played. There's so much variety to it, and the formula of combining the cooperative nature with competitive, playful elements is genius. My wife and I couldn't stop playing, and every time I had friends over who owned a 3DS, I beamed a download play version to their portables for a quick few rounds.

If Dark Moon was just a single-player experience, it would have been a fleeting, yet enjoyable adventure. But with the addition of an infectious multiplayer element that can't be replicated anywhere else, it makes Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon even better than its predecessor, and one of the clear-cut best games on the 3DS.



Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon - Reviewed by Chris Carter
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Chris Carter, Reviews Director
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidChris Tips
Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
My heart will always be yours, Papyrus #2spoopy4me
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I recently beat Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow again, but this time I played on Hard mode from scratch. Outside of dying a few times due to me being an idiot, and enemies hitting harder, it was actually easy. Like really easy.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Today I replated bacteria that I made take up a plamid hopefully stitched onto the genes generatlight. Taken from other dead bacteria and put into a non glowing species, to make it glow. Fucking microbiology is the best.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
It seems fairy farts are a fragrance, a soap, incense, a vaping liquid and a kind of nail polish. I'm clearly in the wrong line of work and need to eat more chili.
Cannibal Steven avatarCannibal Steven
"You gave the Lost Soul a big smile, like you remember she likes to do... For some reason she sort of wants to smile back..." I'm not crying. Not one bit.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just tried 'The Last Of Us' on PSNow Trial, only to be told... 'Something went wrong. Try again.' Game-appropriate error message or quickie plot-summary?
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I hate when people say crap like "I admit that [thing] in games is problematic, but I still enjoy it" because it's an underhanded way of contradicting your own views while convincing yourself that you aren't a hypocrite.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Well shit. I knew I was more than likely going to enjoy Star Wars Battlefront (cause you know, giant Star Wars nerd and all) but holy cow, the beta is fucking great! I need the full game like, now.
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Anyone here going to NYC Comic Con? Always wanted to go and lived so close, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.
Mark Plechaty avatarMark Plechaty
Well I haven't seen any levels like this on mario maker so maybe it's unique the I'd is 55BD000000961CBA GIVE IT A GO and let me know what you think
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Hey Stranger ... wadda you buying ? Want some crack ? Here ya go... [youtube][/youtube]
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
My brother caught me this Pokémon in our room yesterday. How should I name it? [img][/img]
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Yay, I got off of work early and may have Friday off! I have a sinking feeling I'm going to work 10 hours on Saturday as a result, though :/ We ran out of stuff to make stuff with so they must ship us stuff so we can ship stuff.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Yo yo I'm Marie and I got dat gangsta flow. High scores ain't no trip, cuz I whip that shit like Sonic quick. I-I mean no! I didn't say anything! Stupidrecordbreakingcombodolt. [img][/img]
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I'm watching you.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
Work noooooooooooooooooo D:
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
I had such a awkward time playing Catherine because it shared the same name as my mother....
JayDGee avatarJayDGee
Broforce is coming out of early access on the 15th. I had no Idea it was an early access game.
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
I have now played all 3 Witcher games. My verdict: Witcher 1 - alright, aged badly, lots of sex. Witcher 2 - good, very short, not much sex at all. Witcher 3 - Excellent in every way.
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

  Jan 09

Next Level Games to work exclusively with Nintendo

This is the Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon developer

  Jan 01

The Year of Luigi 2013: A Retrospective

This one's for little brothers everywhere

  Jun 17

Nintendo 3DS was the best-selling console in May

Software selling hardware, imagine that!

  Jun 03

Next Level Games enjoys fruitful Nintendo relationship

Studio producer states that it feels like they're part of Nintendo

  Apr 04

Miyamoto nixed all the original Luigi's Mansion 2 bosses

'He wanted bosses that could only be in Luigi's Mansion'

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -