Luigi's Mansion 2 Proves Some 3DS Games Are A Tough Fit On Switch

That 3D slider is sorely missed.

Luigi looks at his trusty Poltergust 5000.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD feels like an obvious idea for a port. The second installment in the Mario brother’s spin-off series was originally released in 2013, fairly early in the Nintendo 3DS’ lifespan. For fans of 2019’s Luigi’s Mansion 3, the ability to play an older game in the series makes for another great addition to the Switch’s comprehensive library.

In actuality, however, Nintendo’s newest re-release of the cute and kid-friendly horror game proves that moving an old 3DS game to modern consoles can create a much rougher experience than one might expect, thanks to the absence of key hardware features and changing game design philosophies.

Originally called Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, this new version of Next Level Games’ portable sequel cleans up the low-resolution graphics of the 3DS game with textures and character models that look better blown up on high-definition displays. The release also includes some minor improvements to controls, taking advantage of the Switch’s second analog stick, something that the 3DS never had.

This Switch reissue of the original 3DS game boasts improved HD visuals and controls.


Improvements to visuals and controls aside, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD leaves the rest of the game unchanged. The hilarious Professor E. Gadd returns to drag Luigi, kicking and screaming, across five haunted locations catching ghosts and solving environmental puzzles. The new tools at Luigi’s disposal, including the Ghostbusters-inspired Poltergust 5000, and the Strobulb used for stunning goofy apparitions, and the Dark-Light used for spotting hidden invisible objects and pathways add some fun variety to the fearful Mario brother’s adventure.

But the charming, near-cozy nature of the original game is bogged down with what feels like constant, nagging reminders that this is a game very much designed for different hardware.

For one, the improved graphics are an improvement over the original game release. But those graphics still feel a bit dated even for the seven-year-old hardware. The game looks okay, but when you compare it to something like The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom, or even Luigi’s Mansion 3, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD looks overly simplistic. The Luigi’s Mansion franchise has always been a technical marvel on consoles, dating back to the first game’s release as a Gamecube launch title in 2001. Nintendo missed the opportunity to bring Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, the only game in the series to launch exclusively on a handheld-only system, to the series’ high-fidelity standard.

Professor E. Gadd will interrupt you a lot in this game.


Another oddity in Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is its pacing. Unlike Luigi’s Mansion 3, which had a single, multi-story mansion players explored at their leisure in a more open-ended way, its predecessor breaks up objectives into a handful of missions set in different mansions. The bite-sized mission design doesn’t make any of the goals and gameplay any less fun. But Professor E. Gadd’s constant interruptions break the flow of an otherwise enjoyable game, particularly in the opening hours.

Every time Luigi beams back down to a mansion, the player first has to discover the issue he’s there to solve. That’s usually followed by a call from E. Gadd on Luigi’s DS-shaped phone amusingly dubbed the “Dual Scream.” The little guy’s calls can be constant throughout these already short missions and deliver obvious context about how to solve the puzzle before you. Halfway through the game, I was less entertained by the colorful and funny dialogue, and more annoyed by the game repeatedly taking control away from me.

With this being a faithful re-release of the original game, not much could have been done about the structure of the game. The start-and-stop mission design may have been a good fit on a handheld meant to be pulled out of a pocket and played for a few minutes at a time. But on the Switch, where games can be played on the big screen, or must be pulled out of a carrying case, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD’s sluggish pacing is consistently felt throughout the 10 to 12-hour run time.

It can be tough to gauge where Luigi is aiming his equipment in the environment without the 3DS’s stereoscopic features.


Perhaps the most unfortunate shortcoming in Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is how the camera and levels are laid out. While aiming with a second analog stick helps the game feel a bit more natural compared to using face buttons, the improved agency can’t compensate for environments players were meant to explore in stereoscopic 3D.

Figuring out the sweet spot for where to aim the Poltergust 5000 is a constant struggle when trying to suck up precious coins in a level. Even coins that spill out directly in front of Luigi prove to be tough to grab, a frustration made worse when the currency disappears before you can grab them.

Puzzles that require objects to be placed or positioned in specific areas become trial and error as the camera’s straight-on, diorama-like perspective can make it hard to gauge where things are in the environment. Combat also suffers, as blinding ghosts with the Strobulb, a mandatory part of capturing ghosts, can be easily missed because players can’t tell if they’re aiming too far to the left or right of the enemy’s positioning.

Unfortunately, the Switch version of Luigi’s Mansion 2 is probably the worst way to play the game.


While the 3D capabilities of the 3DS could be turned off at any time, many games in its library, particularly early on, relied on the feature in clever ways. Super Mario 3D Land, for example, would hide Question Blocks from the player unless they turned up the 3D settings. Star Fox 64 3D provided some much-needed depth that made reading the battlefield easier and more immersive. It’s clear that Luigi’s Mansion 2’s mechanics were built with an extra dimension in mind, and that 3DS slider is sorely missed on the Switch.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is a fine game at its core. For completion’s sake, it is nice that Nintendo is giving those who missed playing it on 3DS a new way of purchasing it, especially after the 3DS eShop was shut down earlier this year. But it’s hard to pretend this port doesn't feel out of place on Nintendo’s Switch. Despite carrying over most of everything that made the original release worth checking out, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is the worst way to play this 11-year-old game, and proof that the 3DS’ awesome library is best experienced on the hardware it was built for in the first place.

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