Saturday, 17 November 2018

Luigi's Mansion (3DS) ★★★★☆

It feels like just yesterday I picked up my Gamecube - which was pre-owned, and came with two games - one of which was the infinitely memorable Luigi’s Mansion. While being cartoonish, fun and creative, the game was also spooky in a very lighthearted kind of way - that kept you a little bit on edge while also able to laugh at yourself about it. When I recently heard that this game was released in 2001, and realised that it was already 17 years old, I considered climbing under my bed to clutch my retro consoles and never come out again.

But I pushed through it, and took joy in my nostalgia by excitedly picking up the remake of Luigi’s Mansion for the 3DS. I think I made the right choice. Even after these 17 long years, this game is a little treasure. Like most Nintendo games, the lighthearted aesthetic is timeless and spending time walking Luigi and his quivering mustache around a haunted mansion is just an absolute treat. If you’re a total newcomer to the series - you play this game as Mario’s taller and meme-ier brother Luigi, who finds himself searching a haunted mansion for his brother, who has gone missing. But you aren’t unarmed - you wield a back-mounted vacuum cleaner ghost capturing device called the Poltergust 3000. After using the device’s flashlight to solve puzzles and expose the adorable and troublesome ghosties, a mini-boss fight ensues until you can weaken the ghost enough to capture it. 

The mansion has a tardis-like feel. The rooms seem to go on forever and are divided into four separate sections. They’re filled with your standard ghosts, but there are also 25 ‘special’ ghosts to capture and collect that create satisfying puzzles themselves. You have to use their individually characterised personalities to figure out how to defeat them, such as (spoiler alert) distracting a ghost doggy with a bone. Once you’ve captured a special ghost, it becomes a portrait that you can visit later in case you feel like gloating. Later on, in the game, you can also unlock special elemental properties for your Poltergust 3000 by sucking up specific spectres, which adds another gentle layer onto the complexity of the puzzles you have to solve in a very traditionally Nintendo fashion. 

But what’s new in this remaster compared to the Gamecube original? The game offers a co-op mode and has a download play option if you only have one copy of the game. The download play option is a significantly reduced experience, however, and a little research online tells me that this does have a tendency to lag. There’s also additional motion and touch screen controls included, as well as Amiibo support, that will help you muddle through an already pretty achievable game difficulty if you’re getting suck in a particular area. Having two screens also brings some pretty handy features along with it, such as always having the map open without having to navigate into the menu. The graphics are also an improvement on the Gamecube original, but as you’d expect with the 3DS, they’re still not exactly beautiful either. The game’s heaps of personality, clever level design and very underrated soundtrack more than make up for this.

My final words on this game are that if you never had a chance to play the original Luigi’s Mansion on Nintendo Gamecube, then this is definitely the perfect time to play it. Like most Nintendo games, it’s incredibly well built and carries so much personality that it’s an absolute pleasure to play through. The music is catchy and the mechanics are satisfying to pull off. If did play the original, then replaying this game is almost entirely worth it for the nostalgia alone. 

Jake Turnbull

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