Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD Review – Ghostly Gig Work

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD Review

Here’s the trouble with Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD: there’s a lot more downtime than I can handle. I love the aesthetic, the core mechanics, and the premise. On the other hand, you spend way, way too much time poking around dingy rooms on a pixel hunt. Sucking up every scrap of cloth, every loose bit of wallpaper, on the off-chance it becomes something? Absolutely not. Fighting ghosts is awesome, but looking for those ghosts is a major drag.

Your premise is simple enough. Luigi has been dragged into service once again by Professor E. Gadd. Some malicious spirits have shattered the Dark Moon, and you’ve got to re-assemble it. We’re pretty light on story, and that’s totally fine. A short pitch means more room to explore mechanics and design. And to be fair, the nuts and bolts are properly slick. You’re given new skills, new tech, and new ways to hunt down ghosts. The movement and combat systems feel smooth and seamless. Except for the right stick, and it seems like your spectral buddies are pretty forgiving in response. I only wish things weren’t chopped up so aggressively.

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD review

I dug into the mission system in more detail in the preview, which you can check out here. To be brief, I can’t stand it. Less brief, slicing things into missions dramatically increases how many cutscenes and loading bars you have to smash through and/or hide. For every 10-20 minutes of gameplay, we get a pixelation sequence. There’s also a mission briefing, a victory dance, a ghost deposit scene, and the mission select segment. All of this doesn’t add up to that much time, but! The missions themselves also feel somewhat padded.

Too Much Between Missions

It turns out I have no patience for pixel hunts. Luigi’s Mansion 2 involves poring carefully over every inch of a map, hitting every surface with every ability, and doing tons of backtracking. All of that saps my life force immediately. At first I didn’t mind, mostly because you don’t do too much of it per mission. But it gets worse as you go on. Soon missions were 40-minute affairs. I was doing laps all over the map, combing each spot to see what I’d missed. The regular ghost fights became rote, though the boss battles still felt creative.

Although, honestly? There’s a lot of waiting in the boss fights. You wait for the ghost to pop its head up, stand around while it reacts to your attacks, and wait for the cycle to repeat. The rest of the time you’re dodging, or maybe just patiently memorizing the pattern. In that sense, the boss fights are a great microcosm for the frustrating pacing of the whole game. It is satisfying to figure out their gimmicks, though.

Sweet Spooky Vibes

I wish Luigi’s Mansion 2 lived up to the promise of its aesthetic. The spooky mansions are crammed with detail. Cobwebs camp out in every corner, flickering candles line the halls. The walls are dotted with rotten neglect and secret passages. The rich carpets, elegant furniture, and vintage design speak of a vibrant history untold. Each stage has an ominous yet approachable vibe. This game looks amazing and feels exhausting. And then there are the stairs.

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD review


Said stairs are in world two. It’s important to me that you know how awful they are. The final boss of world two is guarded by a gigantic staircase. There is no reliable strategy for quickly surmounting this specific obstacle. It’s just a long, exhausting slog. It’s technically a puzzle, but one that feels more cruel than clever. Honestly, it’s a wonder that I got to world three at all. I tried every strategy that I could, every trick in my toolkit. What I need you to understand is that they did not help in any substantial way. I hate those stairs so much.

Those Stairs Are The Worst

Hunting ghosts with a vacuum cleaner is a rad premise. The aesthetic is perfectly suited for this idea. Every mansion looks and feels distinct. But all of this falls apart for me in the execution. Not at first, and not all at once, either. But I slowly realized that Luigi’s Mansion is built around wasting your time. The mission structure puts roadblocks between you and the action. Each world is chopped into half a dozen trips to the same map. And you spend so much time backtracking, pixel-hunting, and getting lost that it’s baffling. I recognize that game criticism is a subjective art, that my opinion might be unusual. But I simply can’t summon the obsessive patience and persistence that this game consistently requires. Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is a frenetic, atmospheric ghost hunt that’s been sliced and stacked into something safe, digestible, and slow.

***A Nintendo Switch code was provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Cleaner, crisp visuals
  • Engaging core mechanics
  • Some cool puzzles

The Bad

  • Mission structure is a drag
  • Too much pixel-hunting
  • Lot of awful puzzles