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Luigi's Mansion 2 HD screenshot

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD review

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If I was Luigi, I’d be turning my phone/DS hybrid off: one more call from that blasted Professor E. Gadd, and I’d be ready to launch the thing across the room. Seriously! You want me to take down these ghosts and find the Dark Moon for you, so stop calling me. Go here, do this, here’s how this works, how that works. For the love of God, man, leave Luigi alone! Egad indeed.

Incessant phone calls aside, however, it turns out there’s a good deal of fun to be had when the green brother is in the hot seat for a change. Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD, as the ‘HD’ tack-on suggests, isn’t a new outing: it started life as a DS game back in 2013. But Nintendo has done a valiant job in updating it for the single screen of the Switch, giving it a graphical overhaul along the way.

Luigi is sharp and colourful, and you’d be hard-pushed to not assume the environments of the ghost-filled mansion weren’t natively designed for the Switch. Everything is brilliantly designed, and there are lots of cool details to interact with around all of Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD’s environments, like rugs that can be pulled up to reveal secret switches underneath, and wall panels hiding coins and gems behind them. It’s fun to just poke around in every corner, because you never know what you might find.

But of course just, noseying around isn’t exactly why you’re here. Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is all about going head-to-head with ghosts, and figuring out the mystery of the Dark Moon. (‘Dark Moon’ was the title of this sequel originally, but it’s been inexplicably dropped for a simpler, less ominous-sounding ‘2’.) Luckily, Luigi is equipped with the almighty Poltergust device, an all-encompassing ghost-hunting tool that can suck up troublesome spirits. It can also be used to blow and suck objects, stun ghosts with a bright light, and more. A useful vacuum indeed: Dyson eat your heart out.

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD
Image: Nintendo

If you’ve never played a Luigi’s Mansion game before, you might be surprised to know it eschews the familiar platforming format that Mario and Luigi are better known for. Rather, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is an adventure game, giving players a 3D environment to poke around in, puzzles to solve and enemies to take down. More freedom would have been nice, but there’s still a decent sense of exploration here, which is very welcome.

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Your progress is frequently blocked by locked doors and cobwebs: sometimes you’ll need to find a key to progress, but other times you’ll need to wait until you’ve unlocked a new skill. It adds a great sense of progression, and gives Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD a mini-metroidvania feel: you’ll need to revisit previous areas to find out what’s behind those blocked doors once you’ve gained the ability to open them. Sometimes, it’s the way forward, but other times it’s simply a secret, or a collectible.

I think my main problem with Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD — except that blasted professor — is that it’s level based. It feels unnecessary; a relic of an old-fashioned game, almost. I feel like the story, and the game itself, would flow much more freely if it wasn’t for being broken up into short chunks, each giving you an unnecessary grade based on how quickly you’ve completed it, how much health you lost and how many ghosts you captured.

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD
Image: Nintendo

I get it: it gives players a chance to play through a section again, to see if they can do better the next time around. But it feels at odds with the adventure-nature of the game. Just let Luigi get on with hunting for ghosts and uncovering the mysteries of the mansion and the game’s other environments. Does it matter if you lost X amount of health on a specific section? Absolutely not.

But it’s a silly complaint, all things considered. Level-based or not, controlling Luigi as he makes his way around an eerie, ghost-filled world is a great deal of fun. Coming up against ghosts is sometimes frustrating, mind: you’ll need to have your fingers on multiple buttons, first to stun a ghost then be ready to instantly suck (and pull in a direction) to finish them off. And that’s just the bog-standard ones. Still, it’s satisfying when you’ve finally cleared a room.

I’ve got the most joy here, though, simply out of exploring. Every room is elegantly designed, and checking behind every curtain, in every chest of drawers, under every rug, is a delight. You might only find a handful of coins, but it doesn’t matter: the fact that these small details are here, ready to be explored, is what really makes Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD come to life. That’s the real beauty of this remaster, I think: you can appreciate those details in better clarity, on a better, bigger screen. It may be the same game underneath, but it really does shine on Switch.

This review of Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD has been facilitated with a code provided by the publisher. It’s available on Nintendo Switch.

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD review - GameSpew's score

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD
8 10 0 1
It's the green brother's time to shine in Luigi's Mansion 2 HD - and shine he does. This whimsical ghost-hunting adventure is a great deal of fun, and it looks better than ever thanks to this remaster. Even though taking ghosts down can sometimes be a pain, it's a small price to pay for the joy of exploring the game's wonderfully-designed environments.
It's the green brother's time to shine in Luigi's Mansion 2 HD - and shine he does. This whimsical ghost-hunting adventure is a great deal of fun, and it looks better than ever thanks to this remaster. Even though taking ghosts down can sometimes be a pain, it's a small price to pay for the joy of exploring the game's wonderfully-designed environments.
8/10
Total Score

We like...

  • The environmental design is superb
  • Luigi has some fun tools at his disposal
  • Plenty of satisfying puzzles

We don't like...

  • Professor E. Gadd can do one
  • It doesn't need to be level-based

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