Luigi's Mansion (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Az Elias 26.11.2018

Review for Luigi

Okay, Luigi's Mansion 2 may have released for Nintendo 3DS, but this one was still a bit of a surprise. Given that Nintendo dropped a teaser for Luigi's Mansion 3 coming to Switch next year, surely it was expected that any port of his first ghost-hunting adventure would arrive on the same system, gearing players up for what was to come. Nope. The GameCube launch title has been "downported," so to speak, shrunk down to handheld form, and gives a slight lease of life for the still-hobbling-along Nintendo 3DS.

That first spooky escapade of Luigi's holds a fond place in the hearts of many that played it back in the GameCube era. Typical of Shigeru Miyamoto and his staff, Nintendo designed something rather unique to launch the console with, with a proper 3D Mario adventure not being ready until later down the line, and instead gave the limelight to the lankier, green plumber brother.

Combining all the sticks and analogue shoulder buttons of the controller to clever effect, Luigi's Mansion saw the frightened soul on a short but sweet quest to save his big bro, as he explored a multi-floor haunted house, sucking up ghosts with a modified vacuum cleaner, and collecting plenty of cash along the way. It was a tad tricky to get used to at first, but it was evident Nintendo had produced something full of quality and charm - and revisiting it today through the Nintendo 3DS once again reaffirms that.

Screenshot for Luigi's Mansion on Nintendo 3DS

Very little has changed in what is more or less a straight-up port. This is the exact same game, with the unlockable mirrored "hidden mansion" mode available after completing the quest, plus a tacked-on co-op mode ready to go for those that can play with someone else locally. This mode wasn't able to be tested out here, but it isn't difficult to imagine how the game differs, as the mansion can be explored in this dual team format, or previously-defeated bosses taken on together.

It's Luigi's mission to traverse the mansion he has supposedly won in a contest he didn't enter, clearing out rooms of ghosts and capturing the prime Portrait Ghosts - spooks with added personality about them and which take a little more figuring out how to capture. Completing rooms usually rewards with keys that open up other new rooms to explore, so although the mansion seems big and open to begin with, there is never really a chance of getting lost, as things proceed in a generally linear format.

The latter stage of the game has a bit of backtracking up and down various floors, and the added side task of catching 50 boos from almost every room of the house also incentivises retreading steps, but the overall adventure is a mighty short one. A familiar player may find themselves blasting through in under a couple of hours, whereas anyone that didn't play the original might double that.

Screenshot for Luigi's Mansion on Nintendo 3DS

There is a bit of a score attack element to Luigi's Mansion, though, thanks to how much hidden cash there is for Luigi to get his sweaty white mitts on. The moustachioed hero is encouraged to vacuum basically everything in sight, because coins and notes can fly out from just about anywhere, whilst there are numerous well-hidden blue ghosts and gold mice to scour for, packing tons of money and gems.

It is the mirrored hidden mansion mode unlocked after finishing the game that is where the real dosh can be made, however. This mode is slightly tougher, but rewards in way more cash, and will be the mode to play if aiming for the highest end-game ranking. It might be a short quest, but this does make it appealing to dive straight in for a replay in an attempt to score better next time around.

Screenshot for Luigi's Mansion on Nintendo 3DS

Few games keep up their fun factor consistently throughout, but Luigi's Mansion is certainly one of those titles. Unfortunately, it falters in the place most people would assume it does: the controls. With a Circle Pad Pro, it actually plays really well. That extra analogue pad effectively emulates the C-Stick of the GameCube controller nicely, allowing Luigi to move with the left pad, whilst simultaneously spinning around and aiming the vacuum up and down. It doesn't always seem to come off as smoothly as remembered or expected, but it is absolutely the best way to play this game on 3DS.

Otherwise, non-Circle Pad Pro users are going to have to make do with the inability to turn Luigi on the spot, and force themselves to get used to motion controls to point the vacuum where they want. Adjusting the sensitivity settings and tilting the 3DS is the only way to make Luigi look to the ground and ceiling. It works, but it is just not that enjoyable, and you can pretty much say goodbye to using the stereoscopic 3D effect with this control method, too.

Mind you, the 3D here is actually pretty disappointing and better turned off. Unlike Luigi's Mansion 2, which was built for the 3DS and has some cracking 3D effects, this port just doesn't really make the best use of the feature, despite the GameCube original actually supporting the concept in the development stage. Still, the port looks great, even if it is noticeably inferior to the 2001 title.

Screenshot for Luigi's Mansion on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Short but sweet perfectly sums up Luigi's haunted quest. Very little has changed in the transition from GameCube to 3DS, except for slightly inferior visuals and way worse controls...unless using the Circle Pad Pro. With the added benefit of the attachment, Luigi's Mansion plays exceptionally well, and is an enjoyable, if easy, romp through the spooky mansion that really kicked off Luigi's gaming career.






Action Adventure



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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