After a long eleven-year hiatus from ghost busting, Luigi finally returns to help Professor E. Gadd. Since then, Luigi has been stepping more outside of Mario's shadow and gotten his own personality that isn't just being able to jump differently. This time around, instead of there being one large estate for Luigi to explore, there are several mansions needing your help to restore the Dark Moon crystal and bring order to Evershade Valley.
Each Mansion is split up into several missions where you will open up more of the rooms/floors as you complete your goals. Most of the time will be spent thoroughly exploring each room you can access for more gold coins and hidden ghosts as you seek out the goals for each mission. Most of the time you will be catching ghosts, to progress your goals, or because they have locked you into the room you're currently in! To catch them you need to stun them with the torch and then wear them down by sucking them into the PolterGust 5000; a vacuum cleaner with a torch attached. Then you have to wear them down as they drag Luigi around the room until they're worn out. There are a variety of ghosts throughout the game that keep things interesting even if it's just a standard ghost with sunglasses on, you have to rethink your strategy especially when there's more than one type of ghost in the room. There are a variety of goals in each mansion, usually there is hunting down or repairing a key, busting ghosts and solving puzzles to gain access to new areas of the building. While you will find similar goals reappearing through the game they're never overused and each situation is different enough.
Almost everything in the mansions can be interacted with by sucking or blowing with the PolterGust or a nudge from Luigi. Most of the time, it will be for knocking loose coins but there are also collectable gems, and golden bones which will revive you should you get knocked out. The golden bones are very useful as there are no checkpoints in the mission. If you get knocked out right at the end because of a surprise mini boss, or just not enough health, you will have to start from the beginning of the mission and this is one of the main sources of frustration in the game.
The Mission structure helps to break up the game into manageable portions for a handheld game, which also makes it easy to pick up and play for half an hour here and there. The only problem with this is that you will find yourself re-exploring areas of the mansion every mission. Missions last longer with having things to explore in the house, whether it's a new area or not, but re-searching all the old rooms for more gold or hidden ghosts can wear you down over longer gaming sessions.
The visuals are great in general. Every Mansion has its own look, the ghosts are full of personality and the stand out is Luigi himself. Luigi is very animated throughout the game; his reactions to most things are endearing even though he is constantly scared by everything.
The 3D adds depth to the visuals and can easily look great putting the 3D slider up halfway.
The music is suitable spooky for a light-hearted romp through haunted mansions, it's so catchy that even Luigi hums along to it at times. For those who like to hear Luigi's scared 'hello?' press down on the D-pad and you can hear him anytime. I admit to pressing that button a few too many times. The ringtone version of the games main theme that will play over your 'Dual Scream' device is especially catchy every time Professor Gadd has something to share. It doesn't take long before you wish you had it as your own message tone.
Without a second analogue stick you have to control Luigi and point the torch with the same stick which works perfectly fine thankfully. Movement only becomes more difficult when trying to suck up ghosts, although this is intentional and means you have to be more careful when there are multiple ghosts around. Unfortunately the gyroscope is used in some instances, such as balancing upon a thin beam of wood, which are not suited to portable gaming should you be anywhere besides sitting down at home. Don't even bother trying to do those sequences while laying down in bed.
Luigi's Mansion 2 has a multiplayer mode called the ScareScraper in which you and up to three other people control different coloured Luigis around a multi-storied building on Local or Online play, or you can even use Download play so friends without the game but have a 3DS can join in. There are four modes: you can hunt all the ghosts, race to find the floors exit, chase PolterPups, or a random goal for each floor. ScareScraper is more fun the more people you have joining you, and it gives a fun distraction from the main game.
Luigi's Mansion 2 is a charming game that finds a way to sneak out chuckles and smiles at the smallest things throughout its 15 + hours game time. While there are some flaws with the game they are very minor to the fun that is Luigi's Mansion 2. Between the main game and the multiplayer it is a game that will last you quite a long time and most of it is a fun time. Hopefully Nintendo don't take so long to revisit this series again, but until that time this game is a great addition.