Luigi’s Mansion Review (3DS)

 Luigi’s Mansion Review (3DS)

As might have come across in my Preview of this title, I have a soft spot for Luigi. The nervous, clumsy brother of the universally loved Mario is even much maligned in the Mushroom Kingdom with most denizens finding him laughable. This is why I absolutely loved his time to shine on the Gamecube, Luigi’s Mansion, and saw this game coming to Nintendo 3DS is a perfect time to jump in and fall in love with him all over again.


Luigi’s Mansion sees the titular plumbing brother exploring the also titular mansion, vacuuming up ghosts, raiding the coffers for cash, scanning rooms with the wonderfully named Gameboy Horror, and ultimately aiming to rescue Mario from the strange set of circumstances he has found himself in. The controls for this are initially a little jarring, placing the vertical aiming axis in the hands of the 3DS gyro controls while mapping horizontal to the little C-Stick nubbin, but this negative feeling passes very quickly..


The mansion will slowly reveal itself to the player as they take down ghosts (more on that in a moment) and find new keys, using the map on the touch screen throughout to remain on top of things. Every room starts off bathed in darkness, but once every ghost in said room is caught, the lights will come on and usually a chest will appear containing goodies such as money, gems or keys to continue through the mansion.


Also, exploring the mansion will uncover small puzzles to be solved to progress. Although these are never too taxing to work out, they break up the monotony incredibly well, acting as small bumps to pass over instead of roadblocks. Be careful wandering through the mansion though because tricks and traps are everywhere; from ghostly bats that swoop down, to bombs flying from furniture, to trick doors that swing open and hurt the Other Brother.



Capturing the ghosts is a simple matter of stunning them with your flashlight then holding down that Poltergust button (R) whilst holding the opposite direction of whatever way the ghost is currently flying until their HP reduces to zero. There are more complicated ghosts last that require tackling a different way other than the flashlight, or special ghosts that require solving little puzzles to expose their hearts, but once that heart is out just vacuum away!


The special ghosts in Luigi’s Mansion often require the use of the Gameboy Horror to expose a clue as to their weakness. This could be something as simple as waiting until the right moment to flash your torch, or manipulating a bit of the room they’re in (like opening a curtain), and sometimes is downright confusing at first – looking at you, Slim. However, with minimal effort you’ll be catching these ghosts too.


A little more complicated still are the Boos hidden in the mansion. There are 50 in total and there’s pretty much one in every main room, but they remain hidden until the lights are turned on. Once the room is lit again, the little radar on the bottom left of the top screen will go red in close proximity to a Boo, so unearth the little pest and vacuum it up! Boos are slightly different than normal ghosts in that they can leave the room you find them in, so if it runs, get after it!



In fact, the only considerable gripe I have with the game is that often the ‘combat’ is often made far more difficult than it needs to be by a combination of the camera and the controls. Not being able to manipulate the camera in any way is great and everything, but on the smaller screens of the 3DS, it makes it difficult to see where Luigi is pointing the Poltergust, leading to some boss fights in particular feeling incredibly protracted for no good reason. You would think that this would be improved by activating the stereoscopic 3D, but it most definitely does not help in any way with gauging depth (ironically).


Outside of the mansion, there are a few things that you can do while in Professor E. Gadd’s lab. Firstly, should you want to, you can repeat the Training Room exercises whenever you want. Secondly, you can go to the Gallery to view all of the special ghost portraits you have found, and even engage these ghosts again if you would like to. Finally, you can activate co-op play for the game, which sadly I didn’t have another person to test out at time of review.


Visually, Luigi’s Mansion is an absolute treat, keeping all of the atmosphere and joyous cartoonish nature from the Gamecube original, and merely compacting it onto a smaller screen. It looks decidedly more rough, but absolutely everything is here, and it feels a little like a work of genius that Nintendo have managed it.



All of the mansion still looks beautiful, which is likely to do with the fact that the mansion was relatively simplistic. This sounds like a bad thing, but it just means that the place is uncluttered, which makes sense as the the mansion just appeared according to the story, so a trip to Ikea would have just been inconvenient. There’s enough diversity between the rooms to make them distinct enough to remember, so exploration is easy even without the map.


The characters in the game look fantastic too with Luigi looking especially fleshed out. In fact, everything about Luigi is great in this game from his nervous walking, his incredibly shaky hands as he goes to open doors, and even his clumsy nature causing him to fall over a lot. There’s just so much character to the Green Machine in this game, and that’s not even including the wonderful touches to the audio.


Luigi is so terrified throughout this adventure that, at times, he will even nervously hum the music that’s currently playing (sometimes in harmony with ghosts also malevolently singing along), or call out ‘Mario’ in an incredibly shaky voice at the touch of a button. Matched with the cartoonishly creepy score, some of the most wonderfully chirpy sound effects in gaming, and E. Gadd’s absolutely goofy vocal track, the whole game just sounds so great on all levels.



I cannot recommend this game more. The controls throughout are mostly solid, and feel pretty good on the game’s new home. The visuals are wonderfully colourful and bright, in spite of the mansion being in almost constant darkness. There’s a decent amount of content here, including a new boss rush mode, even though the main campaign is quite short and can be finished in something close to six hours. In short, Luigi’s Mansion is a fantastic outing for the Green Machine, and worth brushing the dust off your 3DS to play.


Luigi’s Mansion is out now for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. Do you think you will pick this title up? Did you love the original game as much as we did? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter, and check back for more Nintendo coverage as well as articles on other Japanese games.

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