It still seems weird that Luigi’s Mansion has turned from a one-off adventure for the GameCube to a full blown franchise. While the original game was fun and had its fans it took over 10 years for a sequel to get made. Now we’re up to the third and arguably best entry of the series. Luigi’s Mansion 3 trades the mansion setting for a hotel, but its world still holds excitement, humour, charm and engagement. It’s a worthy addition to anyone’s Nintendo Switch game library.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 begins with Luigi, Mario, Peach and various Toads receiving an invite to stay at a boutique hotel. That same evening at the hotel, Luigi is awoken by the screams of Princess Peach. The hotel begins to morph around him, revealing its previously golden halls are actually dark, gloomy and infested with spiders and mice. As Luigi investigates the disturbance King Boo appears, revealing he has trapped Mario and friends in paintings. Luigi manages to escape the fiend but must now muster up the courage to save the day once more.
The premise of the game remains largely the same as its predecessors; go through each floor of the hotel sucking up ghosts and money with Luigi’s high tech vacuum cleaner, the Poltergust G-00. Ghosts need to be stunned using a flashlight and as they’re sucked up their health meter diminishes before finally being captured. Your vacuum can also blow air outwards which is useful for unraveling certain types of flooring and activating switches. The dark light returns as well, which can reveal hidden doors and objects in the environment – keep a watch for reflections in mirrors and suspicious empty spaces as these are hints that there are hidden goodies to find!
Luigi’s Mansion 3 also introduces a number of new abilities and gadgets. The Slam ability allows you to throw ghosts around a room while they’re being sucked up, not only depleting their health quicker but also damaging other ghosts who are caught by the impact. The Suction Shot launches a plunger that sticks to a target, which can then be pulled. It’s particularly useful for removing furniture, breaking doors and taking away shields from ghosts. Last but not least is the Burst ability which propels Luigi into the air to avoid hazards and doubles as a crowd controller when ghosts gang up on you. Earlier levels are designed to introduce players to the abilities and get you familiar with how they can be used to interact with the environment. Some players may find the first few hours to be a tad slow due to the tutorials, but your patience will be rewarded as the game’s difficulty ramps up with stronger ghost variants and more challenging puzzles in the mid to late game levels.
Returning from the 3DS remake of the original Luigi’s Mansion is Gooigi, a goo form of Luigi who resides in the Poltergust G-00. In the game you can summon Gooigi completely on the fly or team up with another player for local multiplayer shenanigans. Gooigi has some unique abilities including being able to walk through fences and being invulnerable to spikes and swords that would normally harm Luigi. You’ll regularly have to tackle puzzles using the duo. An example is Luigi being unable to progress through an area due to statues blowing darts at him. Due to his invulnerability, Gooigi is able to walk through the hazard to get a crate which shields Luigi while he crosses the area. In other situations Gooigi can access drain pipes to activate switches and provide cover support during boss battles. Initially I was worried that Gooigi would be a cheap gimmick and hamper the single-player experience. Thankfully developer Next Level Games have hit the right balance; the game is just as fun to play alone or with friends. On one hand Gooigi offers an engaging and unique way to solve some of the hotel’s trickier puzzles, but also brings plenty of fun times when teaming up with friends to tackle those nasty ghosts.
To access the hotel Luigi must use an elevator, but the catch is its buttons are missing and held by a boss on each floor. The boss encounters are some of the best in the series, requiring players to work out attack patterns and expose weaknesses before they can be defeated. Some of the more memorable fights include a caveman who possesses a T-Rex skeleton, a pirate shark, weird sister triplets who specialise in magic and a kaiju-style fight that takes place on a miniature film set.
Bosses aside, there are other ghosts who appear frequently throughout the hotel. Goob is a standard ghost who fights with punches but can otherwise be captured pretty easily. Hammer is a tank who charges at Luigi and can only be stunned after crashing into a wall. Oozer hides in objects and throws stuff at Luigi from afar. Slinker disappears and tries to get behind Luigi to jump scare him. Trapper hides at the entrance of doorways and stealthily grabs Luigi’s foot then dangles him in the air. These ghost variants will also sometimes wear masks, hold shields and use other items to protect them from being stunned. Players will constantly need to switch tactics to capture the ghosts, so there’s plenty of variety to prevent the game from getting stale.
Unsurprisingly, the ghosts also steal the spotlight away from Luigi himself. While exploring the hotel the game will often pause to show a quick scene where the ghosts are doing a humorous activity. Early in the game when Luigi walks out of a room two ghosts are putting up wanted posters in a hallway, only to see Luigi, look back at the poster and then flip out when realising he’s right in front of them. Other scenes depict ghosts performing dance routines, magic acts and acting horrified when Luigi walks in on them in a change room. This game is full of laughs and it’s great to see the ghosts have lots of personality.
Including two basement levels there are 17 floors in the game which have their own distinctive theme. There’s a pirate-themed restaurant, a gym, some general guest accommodation areas, a garden, a movie-themed level, a disco and an Egyption suite complete with booby traps and mummies. The world feels more interconnected than Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, while also retaining that game’s sense of variety over the original. It will take most players approximately 15 hours to complete the main story, but each level also has Boos and hidden gems to track down which extends this by a few more hours.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 has two multiplayer modes; ScareScraper and ScreamPark. ScareScraper is a co-op mode which can be played both locally or online with up to eight players. Here you ascend a tower completing different objectives such as rescuing Toads, capturing all the ghosts on a floor or collecting money. ScreamPark is a competitive local multiplayer mode for up to eight players where you join Team Luigi or Team Gooigi and try to get the most points in a set of three mini-games. Ghost Hunt sees players capturing ghosts, Cannon Barrage sees players fire a cannon at moving targets and Coin Floating has players ride a floating rubber ring in a pool while collecting coins and avoiding obstacles. As I was playing a review copy of the game before its official launch I was unable to find other players online to properly test the online network. ScareScraper is fun to play and feels like a proper extension of the main single-player campaign. ScreamPark on the other hand is limited due to its small selection of mini-games and can quickly get repetitive. Nintendo does appear to be planning on releasing paid DLC for both modes in the near future, so this may extend their appeal.
The game makes great use of lighting and particle effects. You can clearly see shadows stretch across walls and dust and fog being moved with your Poltergust G-00’s blowing action. But what is particularly charming are the cute animations Luigi makes; the poor plumber makes a whole host of faces while being taunted and scared half to death by the mischievous ghosts. This is all accompanied by an appropriately haunting soundtrack which jazzes up whenever a fight ensues.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 is arguably the best entry for the series. The world feels more interconnected than Dark Moon but still has a variety of different areas to explore along with incredible boss battles. The inclusion of Gooigi brings unique ways to solve puzzles that not only enhance the single-player experience but also adds a fun co-op multiplayer option to the franchise. This is a welcome addition to the Nintendo Switch library.
- Gooigi enhances single-player experience while also offering a great co-op option - Spectacular boss battles - Lots of variety in gameplay and level design
- Beginning can be a bit slow - ScarePark mode feels limited and gets repetitive