Luigi's Mansion 2
Everyone loves Mario. Luigi however...the tall, lanky guy with the green cap isn't given the same amount of love, even by the company who created him.
In the Mario & Luigi games, he's overly anxious. In New Super Mario Bros. U he'd be called up as a last resort.
Therefore it's hard to understand why he'd be given his own game. Yet anyone that's played Luigi's Mansion on the Gamecube will know the other Mario Bro. can be gifted when the spotlight's firmly on him.
This 3DS sequel feels very much like the ghost hunt we went on ten years ago. What makes it so special - still - is that this is very much its own type of game. Out goes platforming, in comes the puzzle adventure.
The visuals aren't as colourful as in the Mario games, but they're just as friendly. Yes, we meet ghosts, there are dark locations and thunderstorms. Some of the ghosts even look pretty aggressive.
But it's all wrapped in a cartoon-like sheen, and the only one getting frightened is Luigi. Nintendo exorcises any spookiness by injected a not inconsiderable amount of humour. Even the first trip to the haunted mansion had no age restrictions.
However, a few things are different in Luigi's Mansion 2. The Poltergust 5000, vacuum cleaner turned ghost-busting equipment, has been upgraded and the communication device to which we remain connected to Professor I. Gidd is a Nintendo DS.
When we finally get our hands on the new ghost sucker, we already experience the first wonderful moment in the game. Our involuntary hero grabs the device, puts it on his head and mumbles with his beautiful, squeaky voice: "I'll do it". At that moment, I really reconciled with the actually very annoying little brother, and his way to answer the professor calls with a mumbled "Yeahello" is quite sweet.
The Nintendo 3DS controls work extremely well in controlling the The vacuum cleaner also works equally well on items as it does on ghosts, such as when it's pointed at a tablecloth filled with food. There are plenty of these baubles within Luigi's Mansion 2, allowing you to interact with a lot of the scenery.
The favorite feature of the Nintendo 3DS thus far is not even the 3D effect, although that works great for this game. We prefer to look around by moving the handheld. There are moments in the game when we can look through vents or windows. By doing so, we get an impression of the room behind them, allowing us to adjust our strategy before entering, or ready for the dangers within.
If you make use of it, the view switches to first-person view, and you tilt the 3DS using the in-built gyro-sensor to look around. An inclusions that's usually so gimmicky in other titles here becomes so completely instinctive that I only noticed the oddity of the addition in retrospect.
The first Luigi's Mansion's gameplay was puzzle based, and the handheld version causes us to ponder a bit. The tasks in the first missions were not always obvious, but all quite logical, leading to that glorious "aha!" moment as realisation strikes.
In Luigi's Mansion 2 we're only investigating just one mansion, but several. Something to do with the different story, although Nintendo doesn't want to reveal more about that at the moment.
Nintendo has also announced a multiplayer mode for up to four players, though we've still yet to try it. Joining up with friends on a ghost hunt sounds like a good recipe for fun. Although it can be assumed this variant is not much more than a little extra, the added value it brings is evident.
This still may be the year of Luigi. Nintendo are obviously getting behind the green-capped one to give him a big push, as we witnessed in the company's most recent Direct broadcast. For those that missed one of his strongest outings a decade ago, Luigi's Mansion 2 will reaffirm that while he may be second in line come the platformers, Luigi's very much out on his own when it comes to the puzzle adventures - and his second spooky experience is just as inviting as the first. March is looking to be a very good month for 3DS.
- System:Nintendo 3DS
- Developer:Next Level Games
- Offline players:1
- Online players:1-4
- Age limit:From 7 years
- Release date:27 March 2013