Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD review – Dark Moon rising

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD is an excellent remaster of an underrated Nintendo 3DS gem.
luigi's mansion 2 hd review

Given the chance, I would wrap Luigi in blankets, and never let him leave his house. It seems any time he does, chaos follows – in cacophonies of ghosts, terrifying underworld beasts, deadly spiders, and all manner of terrors. Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is another trip around the bend for everybody’s first-favourite Italian plumber, with this resurrected Nintendo 3DS classic getting new life on Nintendo Switch.

As with other games in the Luigi’s Mansion series, this sequel tasks our scaredy-cat hero with defeating a menagerie of poltergeists and spirits, in the effort to cleanse a mansion, while also recovering pieces of the Dark Moon – an artefact that placates ghosts. Unlike other entries in the Luigi’s Mansion series, this trip is segmented, with mansion exploration broken up into levels.

Unleash the horrors

In these levels, you’ll be unlocking new portions of the game’s mansion to explore, with each door and mechanism interrelated. One door leads to another, to another, and so on. You’ll often tread the same pathways in levels, but with fresh outcomes at each turn.

On launch, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (aka Luigi’s Mansion 2) was variably criticised for this approach and its detrimental impact to pacing. Having segmented levels certainly does slow down the action, with each ghost-hunting mission being a tiny step forward in Luigi’s journey, but as a time-strapped adult, I really appreciated this segmenting.

It allows you to hop into the game, exorcise Luigi’s demons for an hour or two, and then duck back out again. There’s enough story in each chapter to make missions feel episodic and engaging in nature – the story plays out in slim bites, with light narrative weaved through.

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

luigi's mansion 2 hd review
Image: Nintendo

With lighter story flourishes, the real heart of Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD shines – Luigi himself, and his array of clever little gizmos and gadgets. It’s best to think of this sequel as one large environmental puzzle, with every move you make being part of an interconnected web. You work your way through intricate stages, and by unlocking one ability or gadget, you’ll progress to the next stage.

More suction for your Poltergust 5000 means tackling more aggressive ghosts. Finding a special dark light will allow you to spot hidden doorways, ghosts, and other secrets. Befriending the Polterpup will also unlock new areas, and allow you to repair an ancient clock. There’s a surprising amount of gear-turning needed to solve some of these puzzles, with many solutions equally challenging and rewarding.

I’ve played Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon a number of times on Nintendo 3DS, yet there were still moments playing through its HD remaster that I found myself having to stop and think, and to puzzle through the path ahead. The answer was usually turning on the dark light, or beaming my flashlight to find hidden ghosts, but there was enough room for pause to make each puzzle solution feel well-earned.

Structurally, this also aids the overarching plot of Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD. It’s an encouraging game by nature, with little bread crumbs dropped throughout your playthrough, to lead you by the nose into the next chapter. You finish one mission, and immediately get a teaser for the next. Armed with new insights, new abilities, and new gadgets, the possibilities of the mansion setting open up – and you always want to see what’s next, even when that means bigger, stronger ghosts, and more complicated boss fights.

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

Resurrecting a 3DS classic: bringing Luigi’s Mansion 2 into 2024

luigi's mansion 2 hd gameplay
Image: Nintendo

Many of the best games of the Nintendo 3DS era have found their way to the Nintendo Switch, in one form or another – through sequels and remasters, mostly. While there’s many left to dredge from Nintendo’s excellent back catalogue, the return of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon feels well-earned. That’s particularly when you consider that Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a Nintendo Switch-exclusive, and that there’s surely plenty of folks who played this game without playing others in the series.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is a wholly different game compared to its sequel – arguably, Luigi’s Mansion 3 has a stronger narrative, more charming bosses, and better flow – but we don’t get LM3 without a jaunt through Dark Moon. The strong, exploration-based mechanics and complex puzzling ideas of LM3 largely came from its predecessor, with both haunted buildings (mansion, hotel) sharing similar traits.

While some levels are better designed than others, and the game’s narrative depth is lacking, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD‘s excellent puzzles, light-horror vibes, and Luigi himself, make this game an excellent choice for re-release on Nintendo Switch. Whether you’ve played it before or not, it’s absolutely worth a visit to its spooky, haunted halls.

Four stars: ★★★★

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: 27 June 2024

A code for Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD was provided for the purposes of this review. GamesHub reviews are rated on a five-point scale.

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.