A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Luigi's Mansion is a cartoony action game for Nintendo 3DS. This game was originally released in 2001 on the Gamecube, and is the latest adventure for Mario's lesser known sibling. While it does have a supernatural element, it's cartoonish in nature and not scary at all. On occasion, a ghost will shoot a fireball at poor Luigi, but he doesn't cry out in pain if he gets hit. In response, he busts up spirits with a special spirit vacuum. He also doesn't drink from the bottle of wine someone left on a table, or the two full glasses beside it. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content.
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What's it about?
In LUIGI's MANSION, Mario's twin brother wins a large, old house that looks very spooky at first glance. But instead of Luigi's imagination getting the best of him, his fear is actually well-founded -- his new abode is full of G-G-Ghosts! Good thing he's armed with the Poltergust 3000, which is like a cross between the Proton Pack from Ghostbusters and an old vacuum cleaner. Using it, his flashlight, and his wits — along with some help from the ghost-studying Professor E. Gadd — Luigi has to explore his new home and get it cleared of all the unwanted guests while looking for his lost brother, Mario.
Is it any good?
Though it doesn't add anything new, this portable version of the classic Nintendo game is still frighteningly good. Originally released on the GameCube in 2001, Luigi's Mansion has Mario's twin brother cleaning up an old house. But he's not busting dust bunnies and cobwebs; he's eliminating the ghosts that are squatting there, and possibly hiding Mario. To do this, Luigi first has to stun these spirits with his flashlight, and then catch them with the Poltergust 3000, which is basically cross between a vacuum cleaner and a proton pack from Ghostbusters. He even gets to team up with a double who looks and acts just like Luigi (if he was made of Jell-O, that is). There's also, as with so many of his brother's adventures, tons of puzzle solving, exploration, gathering gold coins, and having to figure out how to defeat the larger enemies before trying over and over to actually do it.
As for this new edition, apart from being able to see things in three dimensions, and use the lower screen of the 3DS as a map, it also adds a mode called "Gallery Battle" where you can battle the game's bosses again and again in hopes of beating your best score. Otherwise, this is a faithful rendition of an older game, which holds up very well, for the most part. It's hard not to think that this wouldn't have worked a lot better on the Switch, with a controller that has two thumbsticks. It's also kind of a bummer than it doesn't add any new gameplay mechanics, maybe in an alternate mode, or take advantage of the 3DS' 3D visuals with a unique gameplay twist. But these concerns aside, Luigi's Mansion is still as fun, clever, and as challenging as it was when it was originally released in 2001.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about courage. In Luigi's Mansion, Luigi dares to explore a haunted location to save his brother -- is there someone you would risk exploring scary situations for? Would you dare to do the same thing for others?
This game is virtually identical to the one released in 2001, but if you played that game back then, do you need to pick this version up? Is this a case of nostalgia or exposing new gamers to an older title?
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