First Impressions: Luigi's Mansion 2 (3DS)

Busting makes Luigi feel good

It's hard to believe that it's been almost a decade since the release of the original Luigi's Mansion, but fans of the game can certainly attest to the lengthy wait. Now, with the announcement of Luigi's Mansion 2, Nintendo is bringing back Mario's spooked brother and this time with a wealth of new gameplay touches and an absolutely gorgeous 3D presentation to go along with it.

The first thing you'll notice about Luigi's Mansion 2 is the absolutely stunning 3D display. Not only does it bring a huge amount of depth to the backgrounds, but the pop-out might be even more impressive, especially when it comes to the various spooks and specters moving in and out of the foreground. There's also a good amount of detail in the visuals themselves and show a lot of similarities to their Gamecube counterparts, sometimes even going beyond them in some cases.

A particularly compelling new feature is the ability to interact so heavily with the environments around you. While the original release features some of these types of interactions, Luigi's Mansion 2's entire gameplay system is built around the various puzzles that come along with pushing, pulling, and moving around objects and items strung throughout the various rooms of the mansions. You'll soon find that you'll be using your Poltergust 5000 every bit as much for solving puzzles as you will sucking up ghosts and it's this new gameplay balance that provides the majority of the engaging challenge this time around.

From a gameplay perspective, you'd be hard-pressed to beat the simplicity of the original Luigi's Mansion, but there's just something impressive about the way Next Level has been able to take that simple gameplay approach and somehow inject a heaping helping of new play control touches to give the game a greater degree of depth and playability. You'll still spend the majority of your time sucking up ghosts that are running rampant throughout the mansions, but this time there's a bit more to the process, not to mention more than one mansion to tackle.

To begin with, you no longer merely shine your flashlight on a ghost in order to stun it, instead you'll now have to press the "A" button in order to cast a blinding strobe at the ghost thus stunning it just long enough for you to snag it in the Poltergust 5000's vacuum. You have to be fairly quick on the trigger, as if you don't immediately fire up the vacuum after stunning the ghost, it will give you a haunting laugh and fly away. The Poltergust features both a vacuum and a blow feature, both of which will be used quite a bit in order to solve many of the game's puzzling challenges.

As you work your way through the mansions, you'll come across the traditional bosses that you'll be forced to beat in order to progress further into the adventure. Some of these are merely tough ghosts that require some tricky reeling-in, whereas others are a bit more complicated and will force you to put your thinking cap on in order to defeat them.

One particular boss will spend the majority of his time disappearing around the room and you'll have to keep your eyes on the various candles that are being blown out in order to locate the spook. Of course, he doesn't go quietly and will toss a barrage of books at you if you stand still for too long at a time. It's this unique balance of action and puzzle-solving that gives the game such a great feel to it and keeps you coming back for more.

It's been an incredibly long wait for a new Luigi's Mansion release, but after putting a few turns into the upcoming 3DS release, it's clear that the wait was well worth it. Not only does the game feature all of the unique charm and puzzling challenge of the original, but the plethora of new gameplay ideas are easily enough to make the game feel fresh and new all over again. If you haven't put Luigi's Mansion 2 on your 3DS wish list, now might be a good time to do so.