Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD Review - IGN (2024)

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire may have been straight up busted at the box office, but thankfully there’s another spectre-stalking adventure to enjoy this year – albeit a very familiar one. Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD – a remaster of the 2013 Nintendo 3DS original that was also known as Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon in the US – has arrived on the Nintendo Switch looking better than ever, but almost entirely unchanged as far as its gleeful ghostbusting gameplay is concerned. It is therefore the best way to experience Luigi’s second foray into catching cheeky Caspers, but it’s no longer the best entry in the series since this Dark Moon-based adventure has subsequently been eclipsed by Luigi’s Mansion 3 in 2019.

Here’s what our reviewer said in her review of the 2013 original:

That sentiment still stands, and Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD remains an entertaining journey as spooky as it is silly, its dual-screen setup seamlessly smooshed into a single panel and sharpened to a visual standard that only just falls short of that of Luigi’s Mansion 3. The team at developer Tantalus, which was also responsible for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD in 2021, hasn’t merely boosted the resolution for this remaster, it’s also added noticeably more detailed textures, right down to the reflective sheen on suits of armour and the threads on Luigi’s dungarees. In addition, drastically enhanced lighting means this Switch version’s haunted dioramas have been given enough depth that I didn’t really mourn the absence of the original’s stereoscopic 3D. (Although to be fair, I’m not sure I even used stereoscopic 3D in the first place.)

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD Review Screens

It’s not likely to win any awards for best visual design in 2024, but compared to the 2013 original the difference is night and day. I remember Luigi’s Mansion 2 having a charismatic cast of characters and enjoyably spooky settings to explore, but it was a shock to revisit the 3DS original 11 years after it launched only to have my eyeballs assaulted by enough jagged edges to grate cheese with. Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD, however, has been polished up to a level that allows the playful nature of its phantom menaces and its many magnificently crafted corridors to really shine on screen.

Those enemies and environments are still effectively the same as they were a decade ago, however. Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD features no additional ghosts to bust, levels to search, or bosses to point your Poltergust 5000 at. None of Luigi’s moves from Luigi’s Mansion 3, like his plunger-powered suction shot or his ability to summon the Gummi Bear-like Gooigi, have been retrofitted into this adventure, which makes for a spook-hunting and puzzle-solving experience that preserves the clever level design of the 3DS original, yet one that noticeably lacks the expanded variety of interactions that the series’ third installment enjoyed.

It does, however, feature twin-stick controls similar to that of the third game. For whatever reason the original didn’t support the use of the Circle Pad Pro, the bulky Nintendo 3DS peripheral that added a second stick to the system while also making it much more likely to bust a seam in your trouser pocket. This meant that in Luigi’s Mansion 2 on 3DS, the taller Mario brother was stuck facing in one direction anytime you needed him to aim his flashlight or vacuum up a startled soul. That’s no longer the case in this remaster, which allows you to swivel Luigi’s aim around with the right stick. That definitely feels much more flexible and intuitive, and although the difficulty curve here remains pretty gentle – the goofy ghost enemies are more dork souls than dark – I was relieved to find that the control system never frustrated me like it did in the original.

I do wish more had been done to Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD’s multiplayer, however. Unlike Luigi’s Mansion 3, which allowed two people to play on the same system, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is strictly one player per console, whether you’re playing online or locally on a LAN. The multi-levelled multiplayer mode, Scarescraper (known as Thrill Tower in the original release), is still a lot of frantic, phantom-wrangling fun, but it’s the kind of fun I wish I could share with my kids without having to buy multiple additional Switches and copies of Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD in order to enjoy. Sadly, there’s no split-screen support to be found here.

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That said, I certainly still had a ghostbusting-ly good time for the dozen or so hours I spent with Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD. While I prefer the sprawling, single structure of the third game’s hotel setting, I appreciate that the more compartmentalized levels of Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD’s five distinct environments make it easier to narrow your search for any missed collectibles upon completing the main story. Plus, there are some fantastically phantasmic moments that I’d forgotten about in the decade since I first played it, from the wonderfully puzzle-heavy first boss fight with a supersized spider, to tumbling down a lengthy haunted staircase later on that feels akin to a more G-rated version of the climactic sequence from John Wick: Chapter 4.

Verdict

With its substantially enhanced graphics and more flexible twin-stick control setup, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is undoubtedly the definitive version of Luigi’s second apparition-filled adventure. If you’re a newcomer to the series – or perhaps you only came onboard with Luigi’s Mansion 3 and are working your way backwards – then there’s plenty of ghostbusting and puzzle-solving fun for you to find in Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD’s five haunted houses. However, if you’re a fan of the original Nintendo 3DS version and you were hoping for more dramatic gameplay changes or additions, then you may well be a touch disappointed. What’s more, playing this remaster in the wake of the third game may put its limitations in an unfavourable light. All told, though, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is a great installment in Nintendo’s spectre-snaring series, even if it’s not the best one you can play on the Switch.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD Review - IGN (2024)

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