‘Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD’ review: a familiar haunt – but still bewitching

Mario's cowardly twin steals the spotlight in this spook-tacular adventure

Spare a thought for Luigi, Nintendo’s most reluctant hero. While Mario saves the day and cavorts with royalty, his twin is destined for dingier work. In Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD, a remaster of 2013 3DS gem Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, he’s dragged to the spooky Evershade Valley and put to work as a ghostbuster – and if you couldn’t tell from the sound of his knees knocking together, he’s very keen to leave.

When the Dark Moon hanging above Evershade Valley is shattered, its once-friendly ghosts turn to mischief. Luigi is roped into restoring order by resident scientist Professor E. Gadd, inventor of the Poltergust 5000: a ghost-sucking, light-shining marvel that looks suspiciously like a repurposed hoover. With this in tow, you’re set loose on a mission to restore the Dark Moon by solving puzzles and hunting spectres

Catching ghosts is straightforward, but incredibly fun. The process involves stunning spirits with your camera’s flash, then hoovering them up with the Poltergust 5000 – but cling on for dear life, as they’ll drag poor Luigi around the room until their health reaches zero and they’re sucked in. However, certain ghouls have found creative ways to avoid being caught. Some wear snazzy shades to prevent being stunned, while others are swaddled in mummy bandages. A couple – such as gloop-spitting Gobbers and beefy Slammers – settle for simply having a lot of health.

None of them are particularly challenging on their own, but it can get frustrating when multiple enemies attack at once. Contact damages Luigi (who is fairly fragile), and this is hard to avoid when he’s being pulled around by a stubborn soul.


Luigi's Mansion 2 HD. Credit: Nintendo.
Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD. Credit: Nintendo.

Outside of combat, your time will be spent exploring Evershade Valley’s most haunted residencies. You’ll sneak through creepy mansions, overgrown greenhouses and dusty ruins in search of Dark Moon fragments, solving plenty of puzzles along the way. Our favourites involved escorting a terrified Toad away from several haunted levels, finding creative routes around danger to avoid him running away in fear. These tasks were our favourite, but it’s also very satisfying to shine the illusion-banishing Dark-Light Device and reveal levers, doors and essential items that have been turned invisible. The minimap usually points to where you’re needed, which is handy for staying on-track, but there were still a couple of obscure solutions that left us haplessly wandering for a while.

Even that’s not so bad, though, because the atmosphere of Luigi’s Mansion 2 is to die for. Every haunted mansion gimmick and cheesy horror trope you can imagine has been crammed in with glee – did that painting’s eyes just move? – and watching Luigi struggle through them all is a delight in itself. Besides a superbly spooky ambience, a million charming details add up. You can peek through keyholes and rotted walls to see what ghosts get up to in their free time, and if Professor E. Gadd calls with some advice, you’re treated to a devilishly catchy chiptune remix of the game’s iconic main theme.

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD. Credit: Nintendo.
Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD. Credit: Nintendo.

While Mario is a quick and spritely hero, Luigi is anything but. There’s a considerable amount of weight to everything he does – whether it’s tip-toeing up creaky stairs, trawling flashlight beams across cobwebbed walls, or gracelessly running from haunted suits of armour – which makes playing him a joy.

Beneath all of this, though, we have a couple of gripes. A mission-based formula means you’re locked to the same area for several stages before unlocking the next, which means going back and forth through the same rooms. This often feels tedious, and little is done to keep things feeling fresh. Elsewhere, stiff combat controls make fighting numerous enemies feel more luck-based than anything else, as there’s little you can do to avoid bumping into them. Even worse, dying sends you back to the start of a mission – which is beyond daft, as you’re then forced to repeat the last 10-20 minutes of exploration, or even more if you’ve been thorough.

When remakes and remasters like this are released, there are always conversations around whether studios should take the opportunity to polish faults, or stay as close to the original experience for better or worse. Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD would have been better if some mechanics (particularly the death system) were given a touch-up, but these issues are far from dealbreakers. Luigi may be itching to leave Evershade Valley behind, but nobody else should be discouraged so easily – bucketfuls of charm (and ectoplasm) make this creepy caper well worth playing.


Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD launches on June 27 for Nintendo Switch.


Despite launching in sunny June, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is the perfect companion for cosy autumn nights spent on the sofa. Rich in character and atmosphere, it’s very easy to look past a few unwelcome haunts.


  • Charming (and very funny) characters
  • Brilliant ghost-catching mechanics
  • The visual overhaul makes everything look fantastic


  • Some repetitive stages
  • Dying is far too harsh

More Stories

You May Also Like