I thought Gabriel the Younger’s bit of worldbuilding was pretty cool, here. When we were running through the setting with him, I asked if there was any chance a squirrel might scrabble in while the Good Guys and Bad Guys were locked in their traditional array and take a seat. He laughed, but I put a stop to that quick. This is some profoundly serious B.
Brenna suggested that the Throne was probably glamoured in such a way as to preclude Tyrants below a certain weight, or above some ill-defined “squirrel threshold.” It’s fairly clear by now that she’s carrying water for the rodent hegemony. I want you to imagine living under his tiny thumb. Imagine your children straining under the yoke of an increasingly onerous suite of acorn-related decrees.
When I’ve had time to play a game, a state of affairs which is ruthlessly conspired against, the venue is never in question: it’s Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. I did not follow this game, I did not “anticipate” it with the hyperawareness available to us now, and I thought the old Luigi’s Mansion was cool but probably wouldn’t have adopted it as a lifestyle.
That is precisely what I have done.
I talked already about the surprising multiplayer, which even as a chilly fjord of the game’s entirety is beautiful, and sad, because it’s all we will probably ever get of it. But Charles Martinet is off the chain here in the main event, selling it hard enough to make you believe in the Other brother, whose perpetual terror and surprise are palpable. They’re backed up by some of the most singable themes in gaming, themes even Luigi can’t help but get caught up in occasionally, and a cast of incredibly well-defined spectres with tangible personalities. Physical comedy is in ready supply. Every amazing thing I’ve just related occurs in wholly credible haunted destinations, real places, sliced up into readily digestible courses.
It gets incredibly hard at the end, I don’t know why, because the rest of the game has a Master’s patience with its pupil. Nooks abound, and crannies beside, dense with optional puzzles that make the proceedings seem impossibly rich. They even managed to scare me several times, off raw atmosphere and and growls of desperate spirits. It’s easily my favorite game of the year thus far.