Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD preview – Moon’s haunted

Neat remastering buoys a strong core in the return of Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon.
luigi's mansion 2 hd game preview switch

Poor Luigi. Constantly living in the shadow of his brother, outshined in his adventures, and treated like a sidekick in mainline Mario games. When he does get the spotlight, he’s usually trapped in dire circumstances – as in Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD. Where Mario typically gets a lighter time, travelling through bright kingdoms of food, dinosaurs, and fun, the Luigi’s Mansion spin-offs always involve our titular hero being scared to death as he faces off with ghostly hordes and eldritch monsters.

Personally, I’d like to see a spin-off where Luigi gets to live a happy, fulfilled life of peace and prosperity. But sometimes the universe is a not-so-nice place. And for Luigi, the road forward will always be paved with lots and lots of ghosts.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 gets the HD treatment

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD – otherwise known as Dark Moon – begins with Luigi as he’s sent on a quest to restore the pieces of the Dark Moon, a magical ghost-controlling object. Under the directive of Professor E. Gadd, he tramples through a range of haunted locations (mansions and otherwise) to uncover these pieces, while also contended with hordes of ghosts.

Thanks to Nintendo, I’ve been hands-on with the first two realms of Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD – and while I played the entire game on Nintendo 3DS long ago – I’m only able to talk about these chapters of the remaster. Even with that caveat, I know Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is shaping up to be another fantastic modern re-release for Nintendo.

Screenshot: GamesHub

It’s largely visual improvements that make Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD such a worthy remaster. Everything that was in the Nintendo 3DS original remains in this edition, with some tweaks for clarity, and controls that feel slightly easier to control. You don’t get the handy map at the bottom of your screen this go around – you’ll have to open it and check for goals manually – but gameplay remains streamlined and rewarding.

Read: Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door – Review

It’s funny – playing Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD, I was under the distinct impression that the visuals hadn’t changed much. The game looks exactly how I remembered. But when I booted up Dark Moon on my 3DS, I discovered a pretty significant upgrade all the same, particularly in character models and textures. As the name implies, Luigi’s Mansion 2 is now fully HD, with every nook and cranny spit-shined for a modern generation of gamers – and it looks fantastic in action.

I’m glad that Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is back. It really is an underrated gem, and one that Mario fans should give the time of day. Whether you’ve played the other Luigi’s Mansion games or not, it’s a great, layered adventure, and one that deserves a visit or revisit in the modern era.

Why Luigi’s Mansion 2 stands the test of time

Screenshot: GamesHub

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon remains a gem of the Nintendo 3DS era for a cavalcade of reasons – but most prominently, for its devotion to clever puzzling. In the opening chapters of the game, you’re given the simple task of hunting down ghosts, but it isn’t long before that journey is complicated by ghosts with special abilities, and neat exploration quirks.

Sometimes, doors just disappear. Sometimes, a giant spider weaves a web that blocks your entry to corridors. Sometimes, ghosts use physical objects for shields. Sometimes, ghosts are so big and angry that you’ll need an upgrade to suck them up with your Poltergust 5000.

In every case, the only solution forward is puzzling and thinking. Scratching your head until you’ve worked through a viable solution, and understand exactly what Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD / Dark Moon wants from you. Sometimes, that solution requires you to search frantically through rooms, until you find a particular object. Sometimes, it means flashing your lightbulb again and again, searching for the ghosts that haunt you. Sometimes, it means being caught off-guard, as the ghosts conspire to frighten Luigi.

For a franchise largely targeted at older kids, there’s a significant amount of complexity in Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD. Puzzles are genuinely boggling at times, and you’ll need to stop and think before you advance. There’s usually a hidden door in an area you haven’t looked, or a specific combination of actions you need to take before you can solve a new puzzle. You need to take your time – and with that level of investment comes equal satisfaction.

It’s gratifying to get stuck in Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD, and then slowly work your way to a solution, knowing you got there under your steam, and thanks to your own clever thinking. The game is never too hard that the process is frustrating, but presents a worthy challenge for those looking to stimulate their mental muscles.

Everybody loves Luigi

Screenshot: GamesHub

When considering the appeal of Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD, and why it’s returned in the final months of the Nintendo Switch’s life cycle, it’s always worth remembering something important: everybody loves Luigi.

While Mario may be the star of his titular Mario franchise, Luigi has endeared himself to fans over the last few decades, and particularly in the Luigi’s Mansion series. He’s just loveable in every way. Timid and curious, and frightened, and sweet – but always strong for his friends, and there when it matters. Luigi’s Mansion 2 is a great showcase for Luigi, and I’m delighted to see this adventure in the spotlight once more.

Dark Moon really was a great little game on the Nintendo 3DS, and now, Nintendo Switch owners will have the chance to experience it. For those who’ve never journeyed its strange corridors, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD for Nintendo Switch so far has proven to be an excellent remaster, and a great reintroduction to the perils of being Luigi in a Mario-dominated world.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD launches for Nintendo Switch on 27 June 2024. Stay tuned for a full review.

A review copy of Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD was provided by Nintendo for the purposes of this preview.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.