I can't believe that it's already been 17 years since Nintendo's most underrated brother started busting ghosts. Now, a whole new generation of gamers can discover the joy of Luigi's Mansion but this time, it's pocket-sized.
Same spooktacular game
I remember getting a GameCube back in the day. I was slightly late to the game but masterpieces like Baten Kaitos, Super Mario Sunshine, and Viewtiful Joe eventually compelled me to buy one. I soon discovered the awesomeness of Luigi's Mansion and it remains one of my favourite games for the console. This 3DS port captures the magic perfectly and I thoroughly enjoyed reliving some GameCube memories albeit in handheld form and in 3D. Thankfully, the gameplay is just as exciting now as it was back in the day.
For the unfamiliar, Luigi's Mansion has you control the titular hero to try and save Mario from a mansion that Luigi won in a contest which he didn't even enter. The core gameplay involves nervously jogging around the mansion while searching for keys so you can open up more rooms in search of your dear brother. Along the way, you'll meet plenty of ghosts that you can battle by shining a flashlight on them then trying to suck them up with a vacuum (known as the Poltergust 3000). He's also equipped with a Game Boy Horror that the odd but friendly Professor E. Gadd gave him. This device helps detect ghosts and allows Luigi to communicate with the professor. The variety of ghosts is fantastic and you'll meet plenty of boss ghosts as well that require various tricks to capture. Overall, slowly exploring the mansion while busting ghosts and collecting hidden Boos makes for one addictive and super-charming adventure.
3DS exclusive features
For starters, Luigi's Mansion boasts full 3D support and it looks great. Being able to peer into the rooms as if they're little dioramas is such a treat. It may be because I haven't played 3DS in a while but the 3D effect impressed me and made the gameplay incredibly immersive. Another cool feature is amiibo support. You can scan Luigi, Mario, Toad, and Boo statues to unlock boosts that make the challenge much easier to deal with. As a side-note, it's neat to see their little icons on the pause screen to ensure that they're activated. Next, you can always see the Game Boy Horror on the bottom screen which shows the map as well as collected Boos, boss ghosts, and items.
Believe it or not, there are even more features exclusive to 3DS. In addition to a couple of movement options, you can choose to use the Strobulb flashlight which makes the gameplay feel a lot more like the phenomenal Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. On top of that, there is a local multiplayer mode where you can play cooperatively with a friend via either Download or Local Play. Obviously, the Download Play mode is limited and it only allows you and a friend to play within a couple of areas so you'll need to have 2 copies of the game to make the most out of this co-op mode. That being said, its inclusion is great for anyone who wants to have a friend tag along as Gooigi.
Ghostbusting is hard sometimes
Although Luigi's Mansion is one of the most unique and enjoyable games that Nintendo produced post-millennium, it has some frustrating issues. For starters, figuring out what to do next can frequently be problematic. Once, I wandered around a large portion of the mansion with absolutely no idea how to progress only to find a key that I missed which was hiding up on a shelf for some reason. A few of the bosses can be complicated, too, and might make you resort to using a guide in order to learn the trick to beating them. Speaking of tricky, I generally found the controls to work well but they definitely require a lot of getting used to. I used the Circle Pad Pro which made the controls much easier but they're still not that intuitive; something that the GameCube version suffers from, too.
Finally, Luigi's Mansion is a rather short game. A casual playthrough will last just over a handful of hours and even if you want to find all of the Boos and complete it 100%, you're only looking at just under 10 hours of play time. This isn't incredibly short but its lack of replay value after you complete it makes it a much more limited experience than the average first-party Nintendo game.
Luigi's Mansion is one of Nintendo's most unique games and now that gamers who never played it before have the opportunity to enjoy it on-the-go and with so many cool new features, it's hard not to full-heartedly recommend this now-portable classic.
- + Same ghostbusting gameplay holds up beautifully and it looks awesome in 3D
- + Loads of 3DS exclusive features
- + Super-charming and addictive throughout
- - Figuring out what to do at certain points can be very frustrating
- - Controls take a while to get used to
- - Fairly short (even for perfectionists)