Luigi's Mansion 2 (Hands-On) (Nintendo 3DS) Preview

By Adam Riley 20.07.2011 5

Review for Luigi

There was stunned silence when the GameCube launched without a true Mario game. People were shocked to see Luigi's Mansion appear instead of a successor to Super Mario 64. However, the ghostly action adventure proved to be an impressive - if somewhat too brief - new game, and it seemed logical that a Wii sequel would eventually appear thanks to the motion controls of the system. Though that never came, years later Nintendo has had its arm twisted by Next Level Games, the team behind Punch-Out!! and the Mario Strikers series, to develop Luigi's Mansion 2 for Nintendo 3DS.

Seeing the various Nintendo 3DS trailers at this year's E3 definitely made the system look far more appealing to consumers than it had done at launch a few months prior. On top of Super Mario Bros and Mario Kart, there was the surprise addition of Luigi's Mansion 2, and just as Q-Games have been looking after Star Fox 64 3D, Grezzo handled The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, and Retro Studios are co-tackling Mario Kart, this sequel for 3DS is being worked on by Next Level Games.

At what was basically a miniature version of Nintendo UK's usual post-E3 event, where two DS games were available to play, along with a handful of Wii titles, yet nothing for Wii U, there was a dark library-esque corner where a couple of consoles were set at a tables, as well as others left on the side that required players to stand, hunched over the 3DS for the entirety of the 15 minute demonstration version of Luigi's Mansion 2 on offer. The agony was well worth it, though.

Screenshot for Luigi's Mansion 2 (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

Anyone who played the original will be truly enamoured by this sequel, with the same mechanic of moving Luigi around an impressively detailed haunted mansion in a top-down viewpoint being the order of the day. Unfortunately there were no headphones available, so any creepy music, eerie sound effects or cries of terror from the cowardly lead man were completely unheard. However, considering how faithful the rest of Luigi's Mansion 2 is, no doubt Next Level Games will not disappoint.

The aim in the demo was to wander around the deserted mansion in search of special keys and triggers to unlock new areas of exploration, all the while getting reacquainted with Luigi's vacuum-like device that can draw spirits into its large sack, removing the nuisance critters from the building once and for all. Luigi's special weapon can consume not only ghosts, but anything else that is not fixed down, such as curtains, table cloths and even piles of money lying about the place. Should a ghostly apparition make its presence known, Luigi must quickly face it and shine his torch to stun them before engaging his suction power to commence battle.

Screenshot for Luigi's Mansion 2 (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

Spirits do not go down easily and there will be a hefty pull from each one as they attempt to scarper and hide, dragging Luigi around as he attempts to capture them, with Mario's brother losing coins if knocked into tables, cupboards, or any other immovable piece of furniture, as well as losing energy (expressed in the form of a shrinking heart) if coming into contact with the ghouls themselves. It is not simply a case of chasing them around constantly, though, as players must hit the A button at specific prompted times to send shocks out to keep wearing ghosts out completely.

The main concern that rose its head in the first five or so minutes was that the pacing seemed slow and ghosts were far too simple to grab. However, upon finding the first key, wandering back to the main hallway and unlocking the next room, larger ghosts with more energy were pitted against the green plumber, and following that there were ones that wore pans for helmets and used shields to protect themselves from Luigi's incessant flashing (of his torch, of course...). To get past their defences, it was a case of letting them go crazy, spinning about until getting dizzy, at which point it was time to go in for the kill.

Screenshot for Luigi's Mansion 2 (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

The matter of paramount importance in Luigi's Mansion 2 is that the gameplay does not begin to grow stale too quickly, yet there is sufficient substance to lift it above the likes of Pilotwings Resort and Steel Diver that delivered great experiences, yet lacked enough content to justify their full price status. Luigi's Mansion on GameCube was short and sweet, but left the impression that had it been longer in its original state, the standard adventure could have started to become monotonous. Thankfully Luigi's Mansion 2 started showing variety even in its early stages, so hopes are indeed high.

Screenshot for Luigi's Mansion 2 (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

Final Thoughts

Luigi's Mansion is one game that truly deserved a sequel that delivers both more meat and plenty of extra variety. From the early play-test, so far it looks like the latter is at least being taken care of by Nintendo and Next Level Games. Luigi's Mansion 2 definitely looks to become one of the stronger 3DS releases.

Also known as

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon


Next Level




Action Adventure



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (3 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop


Thoroughly fun game and it even uses a little bit of motion, with the 3DS tilting resulting in the vacuum sucking direction changing a bit.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses
RichM (guest) 21.07.2011#2

Loved the GC version. Not sure how this will be. Would have preferred it on Wii.

I always thought a Wii version would be logical, controlling the torch and vacuum with the Wii pointer, whilst moving Luigi with the analogue stick. Sadly it seems Nintendo wasn't too interested in a sequel until Next Level twisted its arm.

Wasn't sure what to think of LM2 at first, but I'm glad it was a 15min demo as it gave a really good sample of what to expect. Quite excited about the final product now! Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

When the Wii was first unveiled I think we all collectively thought "Luigi's Mansion!". Its a real shame Nintendo never got around to it. It's one of those games that could truly benefit from the Wii remote.

That said this is still exciting for me. I loved the GC game back in the day, even though it was short. Great fun and oozed charm. Glad to see this franchise isn't going away.

AdamC3 (guest) 28.07.2011#5

I'm pleased to see how developer interest spurred on the game's eventual creation, a bit like what happened with Okamiden at Capcom, where a few team members made a demo and drove the point home that'd be good to make the second game.

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