Luigi's Mansion 2 is a spooky, kooky, adorable adventure and probably the best Mario title not to star Nintendo's portly plumber
For the past week we've been resisting the urge to say “Yellaaaaaaaw!” every time we answer the phone. The reason for this is because we've been playing Luigi's Mansion 2 and the titular hero's infectious vocal ticks and mannerisms have started to take up residence in our craniums.
Luigi's Mansion 2: Characters
Luigi turns in one of the most impressive physical comedy performances I've seen in ages in Luigi's Mansion 2. This is just bonkers when you consider Luigi isn't really a person – he's a collection of pixels.
But it's a testament to the job the developers have done with Luigi that we found ourselves connecting with him on a very human level – in spite of the character uttering only a couple of lines of dialogue.
As Luigi potters around the creepy mansion in the game hoovering up ghosts, collecting coins and solving puzzles, he sings to himself to calm his fears, nervously fumbles with doors that open into new areas and leaps three feet into the air whenever a loud noise sounds off behind him.
Oh, and he says “Yellaaaaaaaw!” every time he answers his DS that has been repurposed as a phone – and he answers his DS a lot.
Luigi's Mansion 2: Plot
The person continually calling Luigi on his DS is Professor E. Gadd, who had to flee from his house after a malevolent spirit broke the Dark Moon, turning all of his friendly ghosts hostile. Yes, the plot is really that stupid, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that E. Gadd summons Luigi – after it's hinted Mario passed on the assignment – and sends him into the mansion to find the Dark Moon pieces.
To aid him in his endeavours, Gadd hooks Luigi up with a vacuum cleaner that sucks up ghosts and a flashlight. Hilarity ensues.
Luigi's Mansion 2: Gameplay
As Luigi tiptoes through the mansion, he'll come across a ton of spooks he'll need to contain. This is done by shining the torch in their face, momentarily blinding them, and then sucking them up with the vacuum. The torch can issue a quick burst, blinding one ghost, or charged for a wide-angle burst, blinding several at the same time.
Once this happens, players hit R1 to suck the ghosts in, while pushing the thumbstick in the opposite direction from the one they try to flee in. In way, it's kind of like lassoing Luigi's quarry. Tapping A when prompted yanks their health points off and pulls them into the vacuum if it's low enough.
The vacuum is also used to solve puzzles and uncover hidden items; players can use it to clear cobwebs, spin ceiling fans, pull curtains and wallpaper loose and blow rugs back to reveal hidden pressure pads and coins. Luigi's torch also doubles as a way to sniff out spectral doors and its wide angle burst can cause safes and locked doors to open.
The titular mansion is simply brimming with collectibles, coins and hidden areas for players to uncover. Players also receive a score at the end of every mission, prompting them to try and better their accomplishments on a second or third play through.
Luigi's Mansion 2: Verdict
Luigi's Mansion 2 is simply one of the best video games released for the Nintendo 3DS. If you own Nintendo's handheald, you should rush off and buy it immediately (or download it from the eShop). It's a smart, sublimely designed and absolutely seductive piece of software.
Yes, its online mode is slightly less than perfect and yes, if you want to split hairs, it's mission structure won't win too many awards for originality. But these gripes pale into insignificance in the face of its strengths. Luigi's Mansion 2 is so good it may even cause you to reassess which of Nintendo's plumber mascots is your favourite. (Okay, maybe not! But it's still really good!).
Luigi's Mansion 2 release date: Out now
Luigi's Mansion 2 price: £32.99