Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD Review

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD review header

While they might not have initially won everyone over, Luigi’s ghost-busting antics have aged like a fine wine, especially with the excellence of Luigi’s Mansion 3 a few years ago. Yet, much like the ghosts that end up trapped inside Luigi’s Poltergust, all but the most recent game has found itself stuck on older consoles. Until now, that is, as Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD has slurped up one of the highlights from the 3DS library and deposited it right onto the Nintendo Switch.

Madcap inventor Professor E. Gadd is enjoying a lovely evening with his friendly ghosts – at least one of which would surely be called Casper, but for some kind of trademark infringement – when the Dark Moon that hovers over his perpetually moody valley is shattered into pieces and all the ghosts go absolutely nuts. Putting the potential ethical quandary of using a mysterious magic crystal thing to affect the behaviour of free spirits (destructive though they might be) to one side, Prof. Gadd needs help getting things back under control and calls upon his ghost-hunting pal Luigi back into action. Ghostbusting might not make him feel good, but he’s darned good at it!

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD will be immediately familiar to anyone that’s played it or the other entries in the series. Luigi has to traipse around the haunted world, battling spectral miscreants with just a flashlight to stun them and a vacuum cleaner to scoop them up. Ghosts come in all shapes and sizes, they can attack from afar, hide in the scenery and pop out to spook Luigi, or come wielding items that shield them from being stunned. It’s up to you to time your Strobulb blasts to weaken them, then activate the Poltergust to pull them in, and pull in an opposite direction to the one they’re trying to escape in order to build up a more damaging burst of suction.

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD ghost hunting

Compared to Luigi’s Mansion 3, ghost battling feels more forgiving. You can be a good bit looser in how you pull against a ghost’s panicked flight, and you don’t have to deal with the plunger for pulling away items and armour. That said, with the tight confines of many rooms and passages, multiple ghosts coming at you together, and still having to deal with the timing of a Strobulb flash, it can still be pretty tricky. Another part of that is getting used to having movement in 3D space switch from have Luigi face the direction of motion to strafing – a persistent quirk for the series that you need to overcome, though it’s now helped by having the right analogue stick to aim and the shoulder buttons to trigger the flashlight.

Where Luigi’s Mansion 2 stands apart is in having a mission-based structure, taking you back to Prof E. Gadd’s lab after completing each objective, and then zapping you back to a location each time, as opposed to the more connected mansion and multi-floor hotel of the other games. A level generally takes 10-20 minutes to complete, pushing you to different parts of a location and often mixing up the puzzles and enemies that you’ll find there. Gloomy Manor could be completely covered in cobwebs that you need to clear, the front gate to Haunted Towers can suddenly be guarded by an oversized Venus Flytrap, and even a simple objective can be interrupted by ghosts that whip away the item you were after and force you to keep exploring.

Figuring out each room is a delight, though, and there’s a pleasing interactivity to many objects and secrets to find. You’ll have to remember that you’ve got a darklight that can reveal hidden doors and items, and that you can both push and pull using the Poltergust, but aside from those core items and door keys, everything you need to progress will almost always be contained within a room. There’s often switches to pull, buckets that you can pick up to gather liquids, plants that become balloons and more. It’s always fun finding the connections between the environmental puzzles, with some great design that obfuscates things just the right amount.

All of this is rendered with some big improvements for Nintendo Switch. Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD naturally runs in HD now, instead of a resolution that would be look pixellated on a postage stamp, and that does an awful lot of the heavy lifting to make the game look clearer and much nicer. However, all of the character models are now much higher quality and more detailed, improved textures and more. I do wish that they had gone a little further to get the light and shadow up to the standards of Luigi’s Mansion 3, and the character animation is somewhat limited, but it’s still a fairly handsome game thanks to the overall art style. It’s also stuck at 30fps, when you might have expected a remaster like this to shoot for 60fps.

Another place where this remaster could have gone further is with the multiplayer. We’re back to the original suite of multiplayer modes and options in the ScareScraper, where up to four multi-coloured Luigis can team up to take on a multi-level tower with either straight up ghost hunting, racing to reach a floor’s exit, or trying to track down polterpups. There’s also a surprise mode that mixes up the three game types floor-by-floor.

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD multiplayer

It’s good fun, and you can increase the number of floors and difficulty to suit your team, where you’ll often have to deal with strange curses that need teammates to come help you out, but it is also fairly limited. By comparison, Luigi’s Mansion 3 has up to 8 players online and always mixes up the objectives, and then there’s the Luigi’s Mansion remake for 3DS, which introduced co-op to the story mode with the first appearance of Gooigi. This remaster could have done similar.

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD is a handsome remaster of a great 3DS game, but it now lives in the shadow of its sequel. It's still a fun time, though, and a great chance for newer Luigi's Mansion 3 fans to get some more ghostbusting action in.
  • Brings one of a core 3DS game out of obscurity
  • Lovely HD remaster with new character models
  • Mission structure gives bitesized action
  • Luigi's Mansion controls will always feel a little clunky
  • Multiplayer is fairly limited
Written by
I'm probably wearing toe shoes, and there's nothing you can do to stop me!

Leave a Reply