Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (Hands-On) (Nintendo 3DS) Preview

By Az Elias 09.07.2012 10

Review for Luigi

Luigi is back! The green-garbed ghost ganker will be returning to his poltergeist-hunting ways on the 3DS later this year. Fans of the GameCube outing of Luigi’s Mansion will be pleased to hear that all the hallmarks of the original are making a comeback: vacuum-powered ghost gobbling, compulsive treasure hoarding, and spooky haunted mansion exploration. The screen might be smaller, but the adventure will be bigger than ever with at least three unique mansions to explore and pillage (in a strictly PG-13 sense) in Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon.

Catching a ghost is a two-step process: flash ‘em with a pulse of light (fired off with a button press, rather than a targeted light beam) to reveal their hit points before whipping out the Poltergust 5000 and getting down to some sucking. With only one analogue stick/slide pad at your disposal, wrangling a ghost into submission falls to either rapid button presses or gyroscope gesticulations. The latter feels particularly intuitive, although it’s easy to get carried away and lose sight of the screen if you’re not careful.

Unfortunately motion controls once again pose a problem when complimented by 3D graphics that only work when viewed from certain angles. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon looks fantastic, especially in 3D, but not if you’re waggling too aggressively. Nevertheless, the game’s visuals are smooth, and the contrast between dark ‘n’ dingy surroundings and bright, shiny collectables works wonderfully. Combine all that with eerie music (including that ever-fantastic theme tune) plus sound effects and you’ve got a game with great atmosphere.

Treasure hunting was a big part of the original Luigi’s Mansion and that’s just as true of its successor. Almost every object in the game can be convinced to spew forth copious amounts of shiny trinkets, notably coins, with the help of the Poltergust 5000. Luigi’s trusty vacuum can be used to suck or blow. Spotted some coins in the rafters? Hold R to look-up and then suck them down. That rug really ties the room together; give it a suck to roll it up! A vase that looks a little precarious? Why not blow it over and see what’s inside? Satisfying!

It’s fair to say that the original Luigi’s Mansion proved to be quite the surprise hit when it launched alongside the GameCube. A sequel is long overdue and there’s a great opportunity for Dark Moon to expand on its enjoyable but brief predecessor. Developer Next Level Games seem to be ticking all the right boxes, and if the final game can serve up enough new ideas to keep things interesting, it should prove to be a worthy sequel indeed.
- Karn Bianco, Special Guest Contributor.

Screenshot for Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

It was quite surprising not to see a sequel to Luigi’s solo ghost busting adventure appear on the Wii, given that the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combination seemed perfectly suited to the gameplay. But that time has passed now, and Nintendo has seen fit to bring the much sought after sequel to the 3DS -- certainly a good decision that only adds to the wealth of high quality titles gradually making their way over to the handheld.

The Dark Moon has shattered and it’s up to Mario’s younger, taller brother to find the pieces, with the help of the returning Professor E. Gadd and his new teleportation machine. Instead of one huge mansion to explore as in the first game, this sequel lets players traverse multiple mansions with varying themes, where the playable demo featured three to choose from -- a traditional haunted house, a clockworks mansion and a snow-themed manor. It was very apparent from the get-go that this entry requires much more exploring and thinking with puzzle elements aplenty, ranging from backtracking to activate levers and switches that open doors and raise platforms, or searching out keys that those cheeky mice have scurried off with. Even Toad follows behind Luigi at certain times, where the player is made to figure out ways to help the little mushroom man reach specific areas and lend a hand.

Controls were obviously designed slightly differently, too, since the second control stick that let Luigi point the torch freely in the original is non-existent on the 3DS, and there doesn’t look to be support for the Circle Pad Pro attachment, either. Pointing the vacuum up and down is done with button presses, and stunning the ghosts requires a charge of light with the torch, so it will naturally take those very familiar with the GameCube title a little longer to become accustomed to the new set-up, but once everything clicks things run very smoothly considering the second stick setback.

With the 3D switch turned right up, the effects were delicious -- the heavy snowflakes of the snowy mansion looking particularly impressive. Whilst not quite on par with the GameCube game visually, Dark Moon comes very close, and it is the 3D effects that aim to deliver a more involving atmosphere, which come together terrifically on the small screen.
- Aaron Elias, Previews Editor.

Screenshot for Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

Final Thoughts

Luigi’s Mansion was such an accessible and incredibly fun title that created a lot of fans, and there is no doubt that Dark Moon delivers the same result. It was a worry that this sequel could end up being far too similar to its predecessor, but from what we have seen and played there are enough differences and ideas to keep this game fresh and offer something that can be enjoyed by everyone, whether they’re newcomers to the series or fans of the original. Nintendo 3DS owners can safely look forward to Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon with promise when it releases later this year.

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


I'm glad there are different mansions - should definitely extend the experience! I liked the different types of ghosts as well, and methods of catching them.

Was there more of that sort of variety in this demo? Sadly it was one I didn't get chance to try. Last time I played this was in 2011, so I wondered if it'd progressed much further...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Nice preview(s) guys! Glad to hear that the game doesn't appear to suffer too badly from lacking the second stick. I always loved the original on GameCube - one of the most charming games of the system. Good to see the franchise get another entry.

Love the preview

Epic preview man really sick

Can't wait for this Smilie, kinda wish I'd played the original gamecube version

what a shame I did

wow i can't wait for this game to come out this will be my first Luigi game but I herd so many good things about it that went to my local gamestop and I  preordered it and I  preordered tombraider and I am thinking of getting Animal crossing new leaf.

( Edited 23.01.2013 16:28 by captxena )

Animal crossing seriously, I can not wait for the next Luigi game it looks so epic and so I am going to get it the day it comes out, I hope it has some improvements over the gamecube version. Really cool lots of mansions not only one.

So  your not an animal crossing fan  crossing I take it   So  did you ever play the gamecube verson of Luigi;s mansion  and if so how was it, This will be my first Luigi game but I herd so many good things about itI  that went to my local gamestop and preorder my copy  which will come out march 24,2013

No I'm not an animal crossing fan, I find the games to be a bit boring and non-actiony. The gamecube version of Luigi's mansion was really nice and I just started playing it again, unfortunately the graphics and the fact that there is only one mansion are a bit disaponting and so that is why I am getting this one. Yeah can't wait for it.

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