BADGP Reviews: Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (Nintendo, Next Level)
Released: March 25, 2013
September 30, 2013
Review: An Impressive and Modern Take on the Adventure/Puzzle Genre
In case you have not heard, it is the year of Luigi. While Nintendo strangely focuses on one of their no-so-popular characters in a year where the Wii U is branding is confusing consumers in its terribly weak first year, their 3DS is taking off faster than many would have predicted a mere year earlier. Hopefully, like the 3DS, the Wii U will find a strong second year in 2014 and all indicators would suggest so. A new Smash Bros, Mario Kart, Donkey Kong among others hold a monumental potential to make the Wii U a worthwhile purchase at last. The only two things potentially in Nintendo’s way now is their confusing marketing and branding and of course their competition releasing new system at the year’s end. Valve is also trying to get a piece of the home console pie, but their vision still remains unclear. With all that said, the 3DS finally hit a tipping point this year around the release of this game. Was it Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon that pushed those weary potential 3DS owners over the edge? If so, they made the right decision.
What’s New? What’s the Big Deal?
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is an exceptional game. It is a creative and innovative adventure/puzzle game disguised as Ghostbusters. Luigi’s shop-vac of justice returns along with Professor E. Gadd to clean up not only one mansion but five! That’s right, no more complaints about Luigi’s Mansion being too short allowed here. It has been a while since the last entry in the franchise… around 12 years. Much has changed in that greater part of a decade plus some. I really enjoyed the first Luigi’s Mansion. It was new. It was different. It was, most importantly, fun. The singular mansion in the first game was huge and exploring it was a joy. Dark Moon is mission-based, and as previously stated, crosses over five mansions. Having to journey through a larger number of mansions makes them individually smaller and the game has a little less charm than the original due to this. The mansions have enough personality, but the first game seemed more connected for only having one. Each mansion has a number of missions concluding in a special boss fight. These boss fights are where most of Next Level’s creativity shines. I would not want to spoil them, but they are certainly worth seeing. Each mansion has a number of gems that can be collected and there is an upgrade system connected to collecting money. There is also some multiplayer, but I have not tried it.
Look and Sound
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is a very good-looking game. It probably looks as good as the original, if not better. The 3D is fantastic, but becomes problematic at the dumb motion-based balance bars sections. Each mansion has a distinct look, from an ice mansion to a clock tower. The music is also great, but I would say that it is not quite as iconic as the lovely theme of the original. The sound design is expectedly a little creepy, but it is certainly no Amnesia, nor is that what it is going for.
Unsurprisingly, Dark Moon plays similarly to its predecessor. The mission-based nature of Dark Moon makes the objectives and what the player is doing much more focused and distinct from its older brother which thrives on exploration and experimentation. A typical mission will involve Luigi capturing a certain number of ghosts or of a specific kind, repairing a fan, cleaning up spider webs. The missions keep the gameplay much more diverse when compared to the original game, although I found it easier to stop playing when I finished a mission. Some of the more complex puzzles might frustrate, and the game starts a little slow, but overall the game was a fun and engaging experience. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon could still be considered a fishing game for the way ghosts are captured.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is a fantastic game and still one of my favorites of 2013. Nintendo’s polish, creativity, and solid gameplay all are present here in one of their weirdest franchises. There is not much our there like Luigi’s Mansion and it is still refreshing twelve years later.
8.9 out of 10