When I played Luigi’s Mansion last year, I never figured I’d eventually play it’s sequel. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon surprised a lot of people when Nintendo announced that it was coming out for the 3DS during the Year of Luigi.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon reunites Professor E. Gadd and Luigi in another supernatural adventure. This time around, Professor E. Gadd has been working in Evershade Valley with ghosts who have become friendly and benevolent thanks to a strange artifact known as the Dark Moon. However, a mysterious villain shatters the Dark Moon into several pieces and hides them, causing the ghosts to revert back to evil and an impenetrable fog to surround the area. It’s now up to Luigi to find the Dark Moon shards and restore peace to the ghosts of Evershade Valley.
While keeping the same formula, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon improved on the original in several ways. First off, Luigi now has the Poltergust 5000 at his disposal, which is still able to blow out or vacuum in ghosts or other objects, even allowing Luigi to interact with the environment. The Poltergust 5000 charges a Power meter whenever Luigi uses it as a vacuum, allowing him to trigger a stronger burst of vacuum power.
The Poltergust 5000 also comes with the Strobulb attachment, a flashlight-like device that can charge and release a stronger burst of light to stun ghosts, and the Dark Light Device that reveals anything turned invisible by supernatural means – doors, objects, even other ghosts. Finally, the Poltergust 5000 can be further upgraded in the game, adding more levels to the Power meter for stronger suction capability, or upgrades to the Dark Light Device, allowing Luigi to use it longer.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is able to incorporate the features of the 3DS into its gameplay. To aim the Poltergust 5000 or the flashlight, you can use the circle pad or make use of the gyroscrope. The second screen is used to show a map of your current location, as well as a list of your current mission objectives.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon has both a single player and a multiplayer mode. The single player game is called the Dark Moon Quest and instead of having just one large mansion to explore like in the first game, you now have five different locations to explore. Each location consists of its own “chapter”, and is divided into separate missions. You get different objectives to accomplish in each mission, and at the end you get awarded a rank based on how fast you complete the mission, how much treasure you collect, how many ghosts you’ve captured, and how much damage you took. I like this change a lot – for me, it makes the game more accessible because I can play the game in short bursts as opposed to being one long single player campaign mode. It also adds to the replayability because I can opt to repeat specific missions and improve my current rankings.
There are also several optional achievements in the Dark Moon Quest – collecting a set of gems hidden in each location, and capturing the hidden Boos in each mission. Capturing all the hidden Boos in a location unlocks that location’s special mission, giving you more things to do in single player.
The single player mode of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is good enough to merit a purchase on its own, but what really made this a must-have game for me is the inclusion of a multiplayer mode called ScareScraper. In ScareScraper, from one to four players can join up and take on the task of going up a multi-storey building, completing different objectives per floor before the time runs out. Objectives differ depending on the game mode selected:
- Hunter – players need to capture all of the ghosts in each floor to advance.
- Polterpup – players need to search for and capture all of the Polterpups in each floor to advance.
- Rush – players need to find the exit to advance
- Surprise – objectives per floor are randomly determined
Aside from the different game modes, there are different difficulty levels and players can choose to take on a 5 floor, 10 floor, 25 floor tall building. You can even choose an Endless mode where you just keep on going up as far as you can. At the top of the building, the players will have to capture a tough Boss ghost, and if you choose to take on more than five floors, you’ll have to defeat and capture a mid-boss for every five floors as well. ScareScraper can be played online or locally, and supports Download Play, so you can still enjoy Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon with others who don’t have a copy.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is a great game. It’s been touted as one of the best 3DS games released last year, and that’s high praise due to the number of great games that came out. It has a solid single player campaign that offers a lot on the first playthrough and provides enough incentive for multiple playthroughs, but the multiplayer ScareScraper greatly increases it’s value especially since it’s Download Play compatible. If you have a 3DS, you should definitely consider adding this to your collection, especially if you have a 3DS play group.