Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD Review – It’s Boos all the way down

Reviewed June 25, 2024 on Nintendo Switch


Nintendo Switch


June 27, 2024




Next Level Games

Boo! Mario’s favourite brother returns to his spooky hijinks in Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD. This visually enhanced remake of the 2013 game for Nintendo 3DS comes almost five years after Luigi’s Mansion 3, which was praised as a satisfying treasure-hunting romp through a spooky hotel.

The second title (named Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon in the US) instead boasts five different locations to explore, as well as a focus on shorter ghost-busting expeditions. Traditionally billed as a bit of an awkward middle child of the franchise, how does the green plumber’s portable haunt fare in an HD glow-up eleven years on?

Professor E. Gadd, notable scientist and purveyor of the occult, has been driven from his lab in the spooky Evershade Valley after his collection of docile ghost pals suddenly turned hostile. From his van, he discovers that the mysterious Dark Moon (which usually pacifies the spirits) has been split into pieces and scattered across the valley’s various creepy mansions. Ever the optimist, E. Gadd entrusts Luigi with the spirit-sucking Poltergust 5000 and tasks him with scouring each locale for treasure, facing the resident ghouls, and retrieving every corrupted shard of the Dark Moon.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 splits its gameplay out into short missions that take place across five different mansions with varied themes and locales, from an old clock factory to a frigid mine. Professor E. Gadd will task you with specific objectives to complete in each mission, and once finished you receive a rank based on your performance before being warped back to the van. When the title launched on 3DS, this approach made sense due to the console’s portability, despite proving controversial amongst fans of the series who were keen to see a return to the semi-open world approach of the GameCube original.

With the Switch’s hybrid nature, the idea of bite-sized chunks of gameplay makes sense. However, the inability to save your progress within a mission is a bizarrely anti-concept design decision, especially for a family-focused console. Halfway through a stage but your kid wants to play a round of Mario Kart? That’s thirty minutes of your life that you’re not getting back.

The level-select approach is also detrimental to the game’s worldbuilding, framing mansion exploration as a checkbox task to complete rather than an intrinsically rewarding exercise in itself. It feels disheartening to comb every inch of a mansion uncovering secrets, only to be booted out at the end of the level and have all of the changes you made reset. While mansions change between stages, the differences are usually minute enough that there’s no real justification for making you leave the level and return. It ends up feeling like busywork needing to traverse the same rooms and solve the same puzzles on each revisit.

“…each mission feels like a list of mundane tasks rather than any sort of cohesive quest.

This is compounded by Professor E. Gadd’s obsession with constantly interrupting gameplay with inane observations that rival even those of Fi from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Unlike that game’s HD remake on Switch, however, these interruptions have not been streamlined when compared with the 3DS original. Almost every time Luigi so much as flicks a switch, you can expect a call from E. Gadd on the Dual Scream (a cute DS that acts as your map) commenting on your actions and telling you where to go next. It’s a condescending exercise that wastes your time, kills any sense of tension or immersion, and means that each mission feels like a list of mundane tasks rather than any sort of cohesive quest.

The mansions themselves in Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD are filled with all manner of spooky creepie-crawlies, from squeaky little mice to buzzy sandflies. Most basic beasts can be vanquished with a single flash of Luigi’s torch, though many rooms play host to the more “terrifying” ghosts which must be subdued and captured before you’re allowed to move on. There are a bunch of different types of ghosts with assorted attack patterns and weaknesses: basic Greenies can be sucked into the Poltergust 5000 after a quick stunning, while more advanced ghouls like Sneakers and Creepers require specific strategies to defeat.

Special Boos can also be found after obtaining the Darklight, which allows you to see through illusions and reveal hidden objects. It’s a decent bestiary of cheeky foes, and you can often peer through windows to see a room’s spiritual residents causing mischief before entering. This is a cute touch that lends the ghosts a lot of charm and personality beyond their generic combat traits. I would have preferred more variety in the enemy distribution, with most encounters featuring some flavour of Greenie rather than the more unique specters.

Each mansion ends with a boss stage, where Luigi will need to defeat some kind of monstrosity inhabited by a “Possessor” ghost. These stages usually contain a puzzle that expands on the mechanics encountered while completing the mansion. The best of these are pretty engaging, encouraging you to notice details in the boss arena and think through a strategy to take your foe down. At their worst, they’re frustratingly dull. One boss stage sees you navigating a pathway up a giant staircase. Choosing the wrong path sends you back to the bottom with a generic ghost to fight before making you slowly climb up again. Clues to the correct pathway are only revealed through trial and error, resulting in a tedious slog just to get to the boss.

Despite a higher resolution and some texture updates, there’s rarely a moment in Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD where you’re not reminded that this is a port of a 3DS game. Environments are cramped and simple, feeling more like you’re making your way through a video game level than exploring a spooky mansion. Character models are also lacking in detail and seem like they’re still proportioned for the 3DS’ smaller screen.

Luigi himself looks plasticky when compared to his appearance in other Switch titles, though he remains expressive in that classic, pathetically camp Luigi fashion. It is neat to see little atmospheric touches have been included – the green plumber hums along nervously with the theme music, and will shiver in fright whenever you enter a room with ghosts hiding in it. It’s just a shame that despite its HD moniker the game looks noticeably worse than the five-year-old Luigi’s Mansion 3.

Frustrations with repetitive content and disappointing visuals could be forgiven if Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD shone in its moment-to-moment gameplay. Sadly, Luigi feels awful to control. It’s jarring to play a title in the Mario universe with such an unintuitive control scheme. Theoretically, aiming with the combination of the right stick and gyro should be ideal – in practice, there is zero sense of depth, meaning you’ll be constantly swivelling in circles during combat trying to figure out where the hell on the Z-axis your flashlight is pointing.

There’s a bizarre cross-mapping with the face buttons and the right stick that can’t be customised, and Luigi’s movement itself is twitchy and awkward. On multiple occasions, I found myself lightly tapping the left stick back and forth just to get him to face a specific direction, particularly when trying to aim and launch a Toad during the game’s escort missions. This is coupled with some janky physics and level geometry that can see precious gems and treasures become totally unreachable with a little bad luck.

As a newcomer to the series, I was excited to step into Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD with a fresh perspective. There are some neat concepts to play with in some of the game’s puzzle-boss encounters, and its featured ghosts are full of delightfully silly mischief – however, poor controls and repetitive gameplay make for a frustrating dozen or so hours. It’s a particularly lackluster glow-up when compared with more recent Nintendo remakes, all the more disappointing given its price point.




  • Delightfully silly and charming ghostly hijinks
  • Some neat moments in puzzles and exploration


  • Repetitive and uninteresting core gameplay loop
  • Cumbersome control scheme that fights with you at every turn
  • Not a very “HD” glow-up for the price point

For game preservation reasons, it’s important that Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is available to play on current-gen hardware. However, this remake does little to address the original title’s core gameplay issues, which have only grown more egregious with time. Its janky controls, lackluster visual updates, and frustratingly repetitive busywork detract from an otherwise charming Halloween adventure. There’s a quirky, silly little game somewhere in here that has unfortunately not been given the attention it needs to be very much fun. Ever the forgotten brother, Luigi isn’t likely to win any fans with this spooky escapade.