Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD review – the scariest surprise is the price

My favourite thing about Luigi’s Mansion is the detail. The way Mario’s cowardly brother nervously hums along to the music as he bumbles through spooky stately homes. The slapstick animations when he falls through a fireplace or gets catapulted into a secret room by a fold-down bed. The cackles and goofy expressions of the ghosts as they get up to their hijinks. As you use Luigi’s trusty ghost-capturing vacuum cleaner to pull back rugs and expose secret trapdoors (or secret spiders), and suck up the banknotes and golden coins that are hidden everywhere, you can’t help but notice how each little sound, scene and secret has been carefully arranged to give you a small dose of delight.

This ghost-busting puzzle game was such a delightful surprise sequel in 2013 when it was released for the Nintendo 3DS. Its diorama-like mini-mansions and peepholes gave Nintendo’s artists ample opportunity to show off that console’s stereoscopic 3D effects, activated with a little slider at the side of the screen. But now it’s out on the Switch, 11 years later, and two things have changed. Firstly, the 3D effect that it was designed around is no longer a thing. And secondly, Luigi’s Mansion 3 now exists, and it’s significantly better.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD. Photograph: Nintendo

Given that Luigi currently produces less than one creepy caper a decade, we can’t begrudge him a graphically improved remake. But Nintendo has priced Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD at almost a full £50, which seems especially galling as it didn’t even cost that much the first time round. It looks better: the interiors of the five mansions have been refreshed, and the detail on everything from couches and cobwebs to suits of armour is up to scratch. But it plays exactly the same, which means it’s chopped up into mini-missions that interrupt the flow of the game, sucking Luigi out of whichever creepy abode he’s exploring and back to paranormal investigator E Gadd’s lab at 10-minute intervals.

Gadd is also constantly calling Luigi on a little DS-shaped flipphone, which is very cute, but further interrupts play. Many Nintendo games fall foul of over-tutorialising in the opening hour or two, but here these interjections continue throughout, and you never feel at leisure to explore. This isn’t a scary game, but it would nonetheless be more atmospheric without the incessant chatter. Perhaps it was necessary to chop up the levels like this to fit the game on to a tiny 3DS cartridge, but it feels outdated now – and another irritation is the multiplayer, which doesn’t let two people play together on the same console. Unlike Luigi’s Mansion 3, you can’t play it with a child or a partner.

Structural annoyances aside, you can’t argue that Luigi’s Mansion 2’s design remains sound: the puzzles are great, the ghost battles are funny and clever, and again that attention to detail leads to a wealth of lovable moments. But Luigi’s Mansion 3 does all of that and more, for the same price – and you can explore its haunted hotel without interruptions from anything other than the poltergeists.


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.