Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon Game Poster Image
Popular with kids
Light scares, clever puzzles make for a fun adventure.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 15 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

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. 

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 & Representations

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.


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. 


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

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byCoop816 November 18, 2015


This is a game that my son has spent quite a bit of time playing and he has really enjoyed it. He would occasionally get scared at certain parts of the game but... Continue reading
Adult Written byathlon32 July 5, 2013

A Christian Review

I am Christian, and I let my son play this game. He is ten. I bought it with lots of worries, but I watched him play, and found nothing wrong with it. The ghost... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old January 18, 2014

I call this Luigi's Mansion 2

I like this game, the thing that I love is that if the green ghost tried to punch
Luigi and the ghost misses, just before he comes out of the punch position
he... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 22, 2021

Don't be intimidated by the ghost theme.

I'll try not to go too deep into spoiler territory with this review.

Despite the game being themed around ghosts and such, this game isn't all too s... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love Mario and 3DS games

Themes & Topics

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