When I was 16 years old, I went to visit my best mate’s mum interstate. It was the school holidays and my mate’s mum had to work so we entertained ourselves. Essentially this meant going to Penrith Plaza every single day to visit The Gamesmen and play the Gamecube demo station. These were everywhere ahead of the Gamecube’s launch and this unit had Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II – Rogue Leader, Wave Race: Blue Storm and Luigi’s Mansion.
While each of the demos got a thrashing, it was Luigi’s Mansion that really won us over. It was the first time Luigi had been able to shine on his own and it was the first time Nintendo really gave him a personality.
Up until then, he’d been a pallette swap most of the time. Luigi’s Mansion changed things and set Luigi on the path to becoming one of Nintendo’s most beloved characters. Years later, Nintendo released a DS sequel that was ok, but mostly underwhelming. When it was announced that another sequel was coming to Switch, I was understandably excited.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 Review
Set many years after the original game, the entire crew is heading towards a mystery destination after winning a holiday in a competition they don’t remember entering.
Nothing sus about that at all.
On arrival, Mario, Peach and a few Toads are kidnapped and placed into paintings with Luigi only escaping due to sheer dumb luck. With the help of Polterpup and E. Gadd, Luigi sets out to once again, vacuum up the ghosts and save his friends.
Sure, the narrative is basically a repeat of the first game but who cares. When it’s this fun, silly and funny, there’s no need to complain. With Luigi as the star, Nintendo is free to let loose a little, to indulge in whims they wouldn’t dare with Mario and to create a truly unique, engaging experience.
Right off the bat, Luigi’s Mansion 3 introduces some brand-new features. The Poltergust G-00 comes equipped with all manner of ghost-catching tools including a suction cup, slam attack and, of course, Gooigi.
Bells and Whistles
These new tools and abilities open up the gameplay and puzzle-solving available in Luigi’s Mansion 3. The series has always delivered some wonderful puzzles both simple and intricately difficult but the calibre of puzzles in Luigi’s Mansion 3 is head and shoulders above the others.
One sequence, in particular, involves multiple viewpoints, with shifting realities and a host of different puzzles that all come together to really show what Luigi’s Mansion 3 is all about. Gooigi also adds a whole other dimension to the game and introduces additional difficulty and co-op too.
At any point, Luigi can summon Gooigi and the player is able to control him. Swapping between Luigi and Gooigi happens with the press of a button and many puzzles require both characters to move in concert. The design allows for a single player to complete these by swapping between the two, while co-op allows for simultaneous play.
There are tonnes of great sequences involving Gooigi. Swapping between the two, avoiding water with Gooigi and opening up additional paths gives the player a real sense of wonder. It also helps that Gooigi is both the dumbest and cutest thing Nintendo has come up with, in a while.
I’m loathe to give too much away when it comes to the gameplay and story since they’re both equally great and important to the overall experience.
The basic premise though is another example of how Luigi’s Mansion 3 both stays true to its roots and pushes the franchise forward. The haunted hotel includes a number of floors, however, Luigi can’t gain access to them all right away. The buttons on the elevator have been removed, so in order to get to the top, Luigi needs to find each of the buttons and make his way through the gauntlet.
At first, the floors are typical of a hotel. Rooms with beds and bathrooms, ballrooms and function rooms, restaurants and the like. However, the further you climb, the wilder the floors get. There’s a movie studio, a medieval arena, a pyramid and desert, a museum and even a pirate ship!
Each of the floors has its own theme, it’s own colour palette and its own music. Exploring them is a lot of fun, especially as they’re so varied. It means you’re not just looking at hotel room after hotel room and the variety means you’ll never get bored.
The same goes for catching ghosts. There is a huge range of different ghosts and boss ghosts that require different strategies for catching. This is where your different gadgets come in handy.
Go Go Gadget
The Strobulb, returning from Dark Moon, is used to stun ghosts, while the Dark Light Bulb is used to clear away dark essence and reveal hidden objects. The Suction Cup can be shot at ghosts to help drag them into the Poltergust G-00 while the slam ability allows Luigi to throw the ghosts around the room, dealing massive damage.
While the gameplay and abilities are all rather intuitive, the default control scheme Nintendo has gone with is anything but. The game teaches you to use the face buttons for gadgets, but this makes it uncomfortable and difficult.
For example, should you press the X button to use the Dark Light Bulb, you’re not able to use the right control stick and the direction Luigi is facing. However, you can press both L + R to activate the Dark Light Bulb. Both the plunger and the Stun Bulb can also be activated by the Left and Right shoulder buttons respectively.
Playing this way makes for a much more enjoyable and comfortable experience. Trust me, don’t use the face buttons.
Luigi and Gooigi
Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a perfect example of a “Nintendo Game.” It’s simple, yet complex. Engaging, fun and perfectly paced. It’s an absolutely riotous good time and once again, shines the light on Luigi, Nintendo’s most interesting and well-developed Mario brother.
As a Switch game. Luigi’s Mansion 3 functions exceptionally well in TV mode, but I preferred playing in handheld. A game of this quality on a handheld is pretty mind-blowing and catching ghosts is a great way to pass the time.
Let’s face it, any time spent with Luigi is well worth it. This is a must-have Switch game and some of the best work Nintendo has done this generation.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 was reviewed on Switch using a digital copy provided by Nintendo.
Game Title: Luigi's Mansion 3
- As good, if not better than the original - 9/109/10
- Gooigi is a great addition - 9.2/109.2/10
- Incredible visuals and audio - 9.1/109.1/10
- Ghost catching has never been this much fun - 9.5/109.5/10
- Great controls though poorly explained - 7/107/10