Ten years ago, ever-lovable Luigi stole many gamers’ hearts with his large vacuum cleaner as he searched through a haunted mansion looking for his missing brother and counter-part. Luigi’s Mansion sold millions of copies and ever since, fans have been dreaming of the day when they can grab their flashlight and Hoover from their closet and set off on yet another ghost-hunting mission. Fast forward to this year and finally, their prayers have been answered with the sequel, cleverly entitled Luigi’s Mansion 2 for Nintendo 3DS. Luckily, we got our grimey hands all over the demo before many others and will happily share our insight to you, as you sit on the edge of your seat, furiously poking Nintendo in the back with a stick to hurry up that release date.
This addition to the series has Luigi hopping from mansion to mansion via Professor E. Gadd’s teleportation device in order to clear them all of the ghoulish beings. Although the story offers different takes on the same formula, the game will continue to feel very familiar to you if you’ve played its predecessor, which is very welcome as the atmosphere of the whole game is still very powerful.
Both the prequel and this new release were created as a parody to famous horror franchises such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill and although it’s very much a fun, comedic creation, you’ll still jump a few feet as your happy exploration is suddenly ruined by the presence of a ghost.
Miyamoto has confirmed that Luigi’s Mansion 2 will focus more on a variety of puzzles than the first game, yet the ones shown in the demo were still very simplistic to figure out and often requires banging your head against the table as you realise how dumb you were to miss them, such as a key hiding in a box that you only find by waving your Poltergust 5000 around the room a few times. This is what the majority of the game seems to be based around, finding a new key to enter a new room in order to find the next key. Although it’s simple, it means that the game can be picked up by anyone without having to compose an internet search on the background of Mario and Luigi’s great-great-grandfather just to understand what’s going on and what needs to be done.
Combat with the many different types of spirits has been tweaked as well, to create what seems to be more of a challenge to the player. No longer can you start fighting that phantom by flailing the flashlight around, but rather, you have to charge up your light in order to stun the ghost before whacking out your vacuum and fighting to put it back where it belongs – hidden in the magical bag that never seems to need emptying. No, seriously, what is Luigi doing with all that dust and ghost remains? Does he just lock them in his bathroom and hope they don’t escape? Hopefully you’ll see some amusing answers to questions such as this as you progress through the game. Or then again, maybe they’ll remain a mystery forever.
The problem with this game rests on some of the controls required to complete these actions. To control aspects of the game, the accelerometers of the Nintendo 3DS are utilised and although it’s a brave step in a Marmite type direction (it’s either loved or hated), it certainly causes some aggravation, if not with things going the opposite direction to what you want them to, then with the 3D constantly going in and out of focus when you get a bit too involved with the game. It almost forces the player to make an effort but to make sure it’s as little effort as possible, which as a developer, isn’t an idea that you want your game to portray. Of course, if you want the complete minimal effort, you can always give up on wafting your console around and use the second analogue stick for some actions, although for many gamers, this will come at an extra price. That and we liked to think we were really as awesome as Luigi when we played.
Other than that, the 3D does actually work rather well with the game, making a subtle difference to the gameplay, yet a nice addition all the same. Don’t worry if 3D isn’t your thing either, when you turn it off, you won’t be missing out on anything and the game will still have that same immersive feeling that grabbed the love and attention from fans many years ago, much like that cute puppy video you keep watching on repeat on the internet. Don’t pretend like that doesn’t apply to you either.
The music fits with the game perfectly, which is to be expected from such a big Nintendo game and sets the scene of each area that you enter. Well done Nintendo, you earn a big collective sigh of relief from us.
So far, the release date hasn’t been confirmed yet, but is set for early this year. So hold on to your hats and grab your ghost-busting outfit as you prepare to enter the world of the humorously haunted.