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Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD delivers more ghost-busting goodness

We were fortunate enough to preview Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD ahead of its release later this month, and it’s shaping up to be another riveting Nintendo remake.

Screenshot for Luigi's Mansion 2 HD preview with Luigi lifting the Poltergust 5000 into the air

Out of all the Nintendo series with a special place in my heart, few give me warm nostalgic fuzzies like Luigi’s Mansion. The original is one of the first GameCube games I owned, with countless hours of my youth spent busting Boos and gathering up ghosts. Now, all these years later, I was lucky enough to preview Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD ahead of its release date, having somehow missed the game the first time around.

For those who don’t know, Luigi’s Mansion 2, otherwise known as Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon in the US, first arrived on the Nintendo 3DS back in 2013 as part of the Year of Luigi. Unlike the original, Next Level Games handled development on the sequel, having previously and successfully worked with Nintendo on Super Mario Strikers and Punch Out!! for Wii. It’s the same developer taking the reigns with this remake, and we have to say, it’s done an absolutely stellar job.

The concept behind Luigi’s Mansion 2 follows the classic Nintendo formula of simplistic storytelling that just works. It takes place in Evershade Valley, outside of the Mushroom Kingdom, where Professor E. Gadd has taken to studying pacified ghosts following the events of Luigi’s Mansion. Then, as it often tends to, it all goes wrong.

Right at the beginning of the game, King Boo turns up and shatters the Dark Moon, making the ghosts of Evershade Valley less peaceful in the process. This turn of events forces E. Gadd to once again enlist Luigi to face off with some newly rebellious specters, collect all the pieces of the Dark Moon, and rid the valley of nefarious spirits. It’s a little cookie-cutter, but thanks to some delicious dialogue almost exclusively from the peculiar professor, it gets the job done.

Screenshot for Luigi's Mansion 2 HD preview with Luigi's slumped in E. Gadd's lab

Evershade Valley features not just one haunted house, but a few spooky locations, with the first, Gloomy Manor, acting almost like an extended tutorial to the game. Here is where you find the Poltergust 5000, Luigi’s equivalent to the Ghostbusters’ Proton Pack, as well as the Dark-Light Device, a tool for illuminating hidden objects and doors on your adventure, and learn to use them both. Gloomy Manor is much smaller than the massive mansion of the first game, but it serves as a wonderful introduction to the mechanics you’ll be using throughout.

The gameplay is exactly as it was in the original, but I’ll recap for anyone like me who missed it. E. Gadd teleports you just outside of the mansion with a specific mission, you go inside, hoover up some ghoulies, complete your objective, and you’re back out again. There are five missions for each location, with a boss battle finale before you move on to the next.

After you find the Dark-Light Device in the fourth mission of Gloomy Manor, you can use it to hunt down a Boo in every level, with a special hidden level for finding all five from every location. It sounds like it might be a repetitive loop, but fortunately, there’s enough variation of mission goals each time you head back to Gloomy Manor and beyond to keep things interesting.

Screenshot for Luigi's Mansion 2 HD preview with Luigi facing his first Boo

Before long, you get to the first boss battle. I won’t lie, I’m not a massive fan of this first boss. Not just because it’s a spider, and spiders are terrifying abominations from God right up there with the gift of self-awareness and Monday mornings, but because it feels slightly out of left field for a Luigi’s Mansion game.

I’m here for the ghouls, the specters, and the phantasms. Sure, there’s a ghost inside that spider, but I’d rather face off against one of the more elaborately designed ghosts from the original game, like Chauncey or Mr. Grimmly. It’s also not the most engaging boss battle from a gameplay point of view, but it’s only the first of many, so I’m hopeful things get a little better as Luigi gets back to grips with ghost-busting.

While there’s little to no change to the core gameplay from what I’ve seen of the original 3DS version, I have to massively credit Next Level Games for just how great Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD looks and how well it optimizes the dual-screen experience of the original for the Switch’s single display. I don’t doubt that a bunch of Nintendo fans too young to have played the original will have a tough time believing that this game once relied on two screens. It just feels so natural on one.

Screenshot for Luigi's Mansion 2 HD preview with Luigi capturing a greenie ghost

The locations themselves are properly eerie too, and while it never gets truly scary – this is a Nintendo game, after all, family-friendly and all that – it’s daunting and haunting enough to keep you on your toes. From the flickering lights to the dusty curtains swaying in the breeze, the environmental design is fantastic, even if it’s on the polar opposite side of the Nintendo design spectrum to the seaside delights of Super Mario Sunshine or the vivid world of Super Mario Odyssey. It’s contained, claustrophobic at times, and I can’t get enough of it.

All-in-all, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is gearing up to be a carefully crafted remake of Luigi’s slightly lesser-known spookfest, with fantastic visuals, engaging gameplay, and a glut of great one-liners from fan-favorite character Professor E. Gadd. Like many of Nintendo’s recent remakes and remasters, it’s not trying to reinvent the wheel, but why would you when that original wheel rolls so wonderfully down through the spooky domain that is Evershade Valley? If you’ve got high hopes for this one, keep them high, because it’s shaping up to be a real treat.

There you have it, our Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD preview. We’ll have a full review for you to check out closer to the game’s release date on June 27. While you’re here, check out what we made of Nintendo’s other big hitters in 2024 with our Princess Peach: Showtime! review and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door review.