Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Light scares, clever puzzles make for a fun adventure.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game is about being courageous in scary situations. Also, puzzle-centric action encourages players to use brains over brawn.

Positive role models

Luigi is a smart hero who uses his intellect to solve problems. He doesn't engage in any sort of traditional combat. He's cautious and fearful, but not a coward. In fact, in facing his fears he proves himself courageous and brave. He doesn't perform many actions that players could realistically emulate in the real world, but his character traits are admirable.

Ease of play

The action sequences are pretty basic and not very difficult to pick up. Just flash ghosts with Luigi's flashlight, then suck them up with a vacuum. However, the contextual puzzles can be a lot more challenging. Working out how to get past barriers and meticulously tracking down specific items requires sharp eyes and some patience. Plus, failing a level means starting over again from scratch, potentially erasing a half hour or more of player progress.

Violence

Luigi sucks up spiders, frogs, bats, and ghosts with his vacuum, resulting in a rubbery popping sound. He can also shoot spiky plant balls at some enemies. When Luigi gets hurt -- the result of being touched by an enemy -- he flashes briefly and loses points on his heart life meter. If he runs out of hearts he spins around and collapses on the floor, apparently unconscious. The game's colorful, mischievous ghosts could prove a bit scary to younger players. 

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game stars Luigi, an iconic Nintendo character whose likeness can be found on a wide variety of branded toys and merchandise.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

No serious privacy or safety concerns. Players can play with strangers online, but their interactions are limited to four safe, simple text phrases, such as "help!" and "hey!" This game does not use the 3DS's StreetPass functionality 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is a lightly scary action game filled with lots of challenging contextual puzzles. Colorful ghosts that pop out of objects in the environment and chase Luigi around could give younger players a mild fright. There's very little violence, though. Players spend most of their time exploring and trying to noodle out solutions to tricky conundrums. When Luigi is attacked by bugs, ghosts, and bats he generally just sucks them up with his vacuum. There is an online mode that allows kids to play with strangers online, but the only way they can communicate is through four safe, pre-configured text phrases.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Hobbies

  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • solving puzzles
  • strategy

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

This beautiful little handheld game will keep kids glued to their consoles with its immersive world and entertaining action, though they may grow a bit frustrated by some controls. 

Learning Approach

The game's puzzles are contextual, meaning they make sense within the framework of the story and environment. Solutions are generally logical and intuitive, and make decent use of what kids know about the real world.

Support

In-game tutorials make it pretty easy to learn the basics, and players can easily track their performance. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Hobbies

  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • solving puzzles
  • strategy

Kids can learn about puzzle solving and strategy in this engaging action game loaded with story-driven conundrums. Kids will need to employ logic and reasoning skills as they attempt to figure out solutions to puzzles that require them to make innovative use of objects onscreen, such as filling a bucket with slime and putting it on a pressure plate. They'll also work out strategies to deal with ghosts smart enough to, say, block their eyes from Luigi's paralysis-causing flashlight. In playing through this fun, ghost-filled adventure, kids will experience a mild mental workout as they solve the many story-driven puzzles. 

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

What's it about?

After standing in Mario's shadow for 12 years, Nintendo's green-capped super bro has finally emerged to star in LUIGI'S MANSION: DARK MOON, a sequel to his only previous solo adventure. Professor E. Gadd has lost control of his ghostly research subjects and needs help from the young plumber to pacify his poltergeists. He sends the trembling Luigi into several different haunted mansions on a series of quests that involve recovering gadgets, ridding rooms of various infestations, and tracking down particularly impish spirits. These tasks are all part of Luigi's grander goal to reconstruct the titular Dark Moon, an object with the power to make phantoms behave nicely. Players employ various gizmos to scour the mansions' rooms for clues, mission items, and treasure, stopping now and then to use the Ghostbusters-ish PolterGust 5000 to hoover up any specters foolish enough to show their ghostly faces. Expect fun exploration, some challenging puzzles, plenty of action, and a few mild scares.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There's loads to love about Luigi's second solo outing. The game's world is bursting with personality and is just begging to be explored. And the fun puzzles contained within -- such as figuring out how to burn away cobwebs or engage two pressure plates at once to start a motor -- are always fair and make sense within the context of the situation. Plus, sucking up ghosts -- a bit like reeling in a fish, ending with a rubbery popping sound -- can be quite satisfying. However, the most endearing part of it all is Luigi himself. Timid but lovable, you can't help but root for Mario's little brother as he tiptoes around dark rooms. He even occasionally hums along to the game's score to work up a little courage. He's adorable.

The only thing that puts a damper on the experience is an interface that proves occasionally irksome. Without a second analog joystick to control the camera or help with aiming, players may end up a little frustrated. Still, it's no deal breaker. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is a blast, and quite unlike anything else on Nintendo's handheld.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about fear and courage. What sorts of things make you afraid? How do you deal with that fear? Is it possible to be brave if you don't first feel fear? 

  • Families can also discuss why Mario games are so popular.

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo 3DS
Price:$39.99
Available online?Available online
Developer:Nintendo
Release date:March 24, 2013
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
ESRB rating:E for Crude Humour, Mild Cartoon Violence (Nintendo 3DS)

This review of Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old April 7, 2013
 

AWESOME GAME

this is a very good game with some violence with ghosts that the hunter is trying to kill or suck up.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Safety and privacy concerns
Teen, 14 years old Written byNASCAR101 March 26, 2013
 

fun game

Buy Your Copy Today
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byJEDI micah June 14, 2013
 

My first 3DS game!

This game is surprisingly really fun! Even if there are some light scares, it's actually really cute! As Mario's little yet brave brother, you can explore many rooms in different mansions to suck up ghosts and other creepy creatures! What's really cute about this game is Luigi himself. Although a coward, he does his best to show some courage by walking around the creepy mansion. He's a positive role model on children, if you ask me! Kids can learn from him, of what it takes to face your fears! Positive messages, good role models, clever puzzles, impressive visuals for a handheld console, and quality entertainment - what's not to like about this game?!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Safety and privacy concerns

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass