A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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.
- Parents say
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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 ...
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Subjects: Hobbies: collecting
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, solving puzzles, strategy
- 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
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.