Luigi’s Mansion 2: Dark Moon videogame review

Luigi’s Mansion 2: Dark Moon is out now for 3DS from Nintendo

Luigi’s Mansion 2 falls somewhere between a Ghostbusters simulator and an old PC point-and-click game, such as mansion-‘em-up The 7th Guest, which is quite an interesting mixture from a tradition-steeped publisher like Nintendo.

Luigi, brother of digi-Ron Jeremy-alike Mario, trawls around various spooky environments in a bid to reconstruct a spirit-controlling moon in the sky. Obviously, it’s not meant to be scary given the young target audience – but much in the same way last year’s ParaNorman turned classic horror imagery into something good-spirited, Luigi’s Mansion 2 is a very well-crafted and expensive-feeling adventure that engineers haunted houses and spirits in a similarly amusing way.

The tone of it is amiably daft.

As with the first game, you’re charged with tasks by one Professor E Gadd, a character who you suspect may have been designed around pun-first, like something conceived by Karl Pilkington. Luigi strolls into Cluedo-style environments and zaps up ghosts into an elaborate hoover, who first have to be subdued by tactical use of a ghoul-stopping torchlight. The hoover – oh, we should point out it’s called the Poltergust 5000 – is controlled using the 3DS stick, which satisfyingly drags ghosts into Luigi’s no doubt filthy vacuum bag.

Really, this does a better job of conveying an interactive Ghostbusters experience than the 2009 official tie-in did.

It’s also the delicate construction of the different spooky locales that really impresses in Luigi’s Mansion 2, highly detailed mini-worlds that can be manipulated in different ways. The hoover sucks up carpets, makes fans spin around to reveal hidden passageways, while your mystical torch can reveal hidden parts of the surrounding world, always leading you to think twice about each room’s possibilities.

You’re never 100% sure of where to go in these pocket labyrinths, but you’re rarely lost, either – it’s a gently complex adventure that borrows smartly from its influences. Luigi’s Mansion 2 is a funny and intelligently created horror title, where toilet trap door sight gags convincingly sit alongside smatterings of great game design.