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NWR Staff's Favorite 10 Games of 2013

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

by Michael Cole - December 24, 2013, 3:26 pm EST

Luigi conquers cowardice and sucks up hesitation in our favorite ghostly game this year.

In Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Mario’s younger brother reprises his role as a tepid ghost-hunting hero, compelled by Professor E. Gadd with saving Evershade Valley from once-peaceful ghosts run amok after King Boo shatters and corrupts the Dark Moon. Armed with his trusty Poltergust 5000 vacuum backpack and its attachments, Luigi must overcome traps, solve puzzles, and capture ethereal enemies within five haunted mansions. Dark Moon introduces a goal-based mission structure, but otherwise remains fairly faithful to the GameCube original. 

Combat primarily consists of Luigi sucking in his paranormal enemies, not unlike reeling in a big fish, after surprising or otherwise catching his ghostly enemies while they are vulnerable. When not fighting ghosts, Luigi is usually hunting for ghosts in hiding, items, money, or secret passageways by tugging on furniture, light fixtures, curtains, and other environmental trappings. Player performance is ranked for each mission, introducing a personal hi-score element, and wealth accrual is rewarded with non-critical upgrades.

NWR had some grief with the game’s pacing: latter, combat-heavy missions become particularly tedious, and having to completely restart a mission after death can be particularly cruel. However, the game’s distinct and endearing presentation more than made up for its blemishes, solidifying its place as one of our favorite games this year for Nintendo platforms. The haunted houses are cartoonishly playful yet spooky, riddled with cobwebs and dust-covered niceties, with little recycling amongst environments (save for the “remix” final mansion). 

Background music is hauntingly soulful: players will find themselves humming along with Luigi to the main themes. But the game’s real highlights are its animations and cut scenes, which establish Luigi as a fragile, somewhat bumbling hero who manages to face his fears (just barely). Luigi cowers exquisitely in fear of the professor’s poorly-tested transporter, beams with pride at an accomplishment—before getting caught off guard by prankster ghosts, and struggles in vain to maintain some semblance of situational control has a chastises a hyperactive Polterpup (“Bad doggie!”). Next Level Games and voice actor Charles Martinet clearly put great care into the timing of audiovisual gags, and their hard work most definitely paid off.

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is neither the flashiest nor deepest game released this year. Few will replay missions for the collectables and to unlock the bonus content, and while the Scarescaper is enjoyable both online and with local friends, it is unlikely to remain a multiplayer staple. But with its goofy characters, laugh-out-loud visual gags, and mostly enjoyable gameplay, it’s hard not to love Luigi’s zany handheld adventure.


Leo13December 26, 2013

Want to play Pikmin 3, but lack a Wii U? $219 on newegg.com http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=0PW-003J-00002
This sale has been going on since last week I just got mine the other day.

sisibakbakDecember 29, 2013

I bought it a few days ago and just finished the main set of levels. Absolutely adoring it, fantastic use of the GamePad and there's a crap ton to do. Has to be my GOTY (though, I haven't played a great deal of new games this year including 3D World so it's a bit of an easy choice really).

Vrgin XJanuary 01, 2014

Team Plasma is so 2011, Team Flare is where it's at, son.  8)

Pixelated PixiesJanuary 02, 2014

I'm going to post my top games of the year here, lest I forget. It's been a slow year in terms of gaming for me, so I can only muster excitement for the following 5 games.

1-The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
2-Fire Emblem: Awakening
3- Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
4-Steamworld: Dig

I also had some fun with the following notable mentions, but couldn't quite bring myself to put them on my 'top' list.

-Animal Crossing: New Leaf
-Pokémon Y
-Mario and Donkey Kong - Minis on the Move

I have also played a few hours of Pikmin 3, Rayman Legends and Super Mario 3D World, which all seem awesome, but not being a Wii U owner has meant I haven't spent as much time with those games as they probably deserve.

KhushrenadaJanuary 02, 2014

Oh ho! Nice. I thought the last spot might end up going to the Wonderful 101. Not sure what kind of support the game might have with staff. However, I can't argue with the choice of the 3DS's 6th jewel this year. Often not as appreciated as the main 5 of the year LM, FA, AC, PY/PX and ALBW, I'm glad it was not forgotten and regarded so highly.

Leo13January 02, 2014

I agree AND disagree with Khushrenada. I agree that I expected Wonderful 101 on here somewhere, but I disagree on justification. I'm honestly shocked that it's not on here. I'd say there's no argument that it should be above Shin Megami Tensi and Ace Attorney.

Pixelated PixiesJanuary 02, 2014

"Much like Grand Theft Auto V..." is not a statement I ever thought I'd see used in reference to an Ace Attorney game.

KhushrenadaJanuary 02, 2014

Quote from: Leo13

I agree AND disagree with Khushrenada.

How dare you! You had it right in the first bit. Never second guess your first instinct.

Leo13January 03, 2014

You really think BOTH of those deserve to be over Wonderful 101?
I was listening to the Official Nintendo Magazine Podcast this morning and they did their Nintendo 2013 top ten and W101 was #1

Pixelated PixiesJanuary 03, 2014

Quote from: Leo13

I was listening to the Official Nintendo Magazine Podcast this morning and they did their Nintendo 2013 top ten and W101 was #1

...Good for them?

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