Luigi's Mansion 2 HD review: Mostly ghostly

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is spookier and prettier in this Switch remaster.

Nintendo
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More than a decade after the release of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, a Switch remaster is here. Now referred to as Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD, this remaster brings a plethora of visual and technical upgrades for the classic action-adventure games, as well as some modernized controls that show some growing pains in the move to the Switch.

A spooky return

Luigi creeping around a corner.

Source: Nintendo

If you’ve played Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, you’ll be completely familiar with everything going on here as the remaster fully preserves the story and content of the original game. Luigi is forced to make his sophomore outing as a paranormal investigator and exterminator after the Dark Moon shatters, causing the spectral residents of Evershade Valley to misbehave and cause trouble.

In his journey to help Professor E. Gadd and restore the Dark Moon, Luigi travels to various mansions, solving puzzles and facing off against ghostly adversaries. It’s an enjoyable gameplay loop that has made the Luigi’s Mansion series one of Nintendo’s most fruitful spin-offs.

When jumping into Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD, I immediately noticed the improvement to lighting. The Switch may be seven-year-old hardware, but it still has a solid leg up on the 3DS, and Nintendo uses that to implement better shading. It makes the entire game spookier, as those dark corridors are actually dark, and the light given off by ghosts gives them a more haunting presence.

A green ghost wearing sunglasses.

Source: Nintendo

Nintendo has also updated the textures and models across the board in Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD. It’s not quite on par with Luigi’s Mansion 3, which was developed for the Switch, but it’s a major improvement to how the original game looked. The colors popped gorgeously on my Switch OLED when playing in handheld mode.

Not much is lost in the jump from the 3DS’ dual-screen setup to the Switch’s single display. Instead of having a screen dedicated to the map, a minimap is now overlaid in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD requires a lot of backtracking and exploring, so it was good to still have it on hand.

Scary updates

Luigi fleeing from a Venus flytrap ghost

Source: Nintendo

A Switch remaster means that Nintendo has also tweaked the controls to properly accommodate the new system. This is where you can feel that you’re playing a game designed for the 3DS. Movement feels a bit clunky, specifically in the way Luigi rotates in response to moving the right stick. It led to some painful moments during combat, where I’d miss the opportunity to flash a ghost due to the control scheme.

While I didn’t love the way Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD’s controls felt, I enjoyed the small details that Nintendo added. For example, the use of HD Rumble when activating the Poltergust 5000. When using it to suck, the right Joy-Con (or the right side of the Pro Controller) will vibrate. When using the machine to blow, the same happens on the left side. It’s a small feature that increased the immersion as I crept through the haunted halls of various estates.

Another classic Luigi’s Mansion 2 feature making its return in the remaster is the ScareScraper. This tower unlocks relatively early in the game and offers a handful of multiplayer modes to enjoy with friends or strangers online. I had the chance to check out the ScareScraper before launch and enjoyed its change of pace. The cooperative angle opened the door for new strategies as I worked with my teammates to divide and conquer when we needed to quickly locate an objective or escape. During boss fights, it felt very Ghostbusters-esque to use our Poltergusts in unison to defeat great enemies.

A solid suck-cessor

Luigi sleeping in a chair.

Source: Nintendo

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is a treat for fans of the original game as well as those who were introduced to the franchise with Luigi’s Mansion 3. It’s been properly modernized with beautiful lighting and improved features, though there are some growing pains in the jump between platforms. Still, it provides the excellent blend of spooky and silly that makes the series so endearing.


This review is based on a digital code provided by Nintendo. Luigi's Mansion 2 HD releases on July 27, 2024, for the Nintendo Switch.

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Scream nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

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Pros
  • Improved lighting and graphics
  • ScareScraper is a fun change of pace
  • Solid use of HD Rumble
Cons
  • Directional controls feel unintuitive
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