Review: Luigi’s Mansion 3 (Switch)

8

Great

Mario has always been the star in Nintendo’s show. He’s always the one out on exciting adventures and the one who stars in his own racing and sport games, but he’s never taken on the daunting task of fighting off ghostly threats quite like Luigi has. This ‘Player 2’ is stepping out of the shadow of his popular brother once again to prove to the world that he is just as adept at dealing with anything the video gaming world can throw his way, no matter the double-jump scares at hand.

Ready Player Two?

Luigi and his ghostly pupper, aptly named Polterpup, along with Mario, Peach and three toads head off on a much-deserved vacation to the Last Resort hotel after receiving an invitation. I guess the crew should have known by the name of the hotel alone that things weren’t going to turn out too well. As luck would have it, it’s a trap that has been set by the notorious King Boo. Upon arrival the dodgy-looking hotel owner, Hellen Gravely, shows them to their rooms where everyone, other than Luigi, is trapped inside paintings by King Boo. Luigi escapes down a laundry chute and this is where his next terrifying adventure kicks off. Once again in his aim to save everyone.

If you’re a newcomer to these ghostly adventures then the best way to describe Luigi’s Mansion 3 is to say that it’s the ‘best unofficial Ghostbusters game’.

The plot isn’t going to win any awards, but then that is rarely what Nintendo is known for. It comes down to how Nintendo injects new ideas into old worlds. So, where does this slot in? Everything from Luigi’s representation of constant fear through to pushing the Switch in a new technical direction is at play here. The truth of the matter is that series regulars won’t find an enormous amount of innovation, but there is enough to keep the formula interesting. If you’re a newcomer to these ghostly adventures then the best way to describe Luigi’s Mansion 3 is to say that it’s the ‘best unofficial Ghostbusters game’.

Do it for science!

It’s all about catching ghosts and solving head-scratching puzzles. To help Luigi achieve this goal he’ll meet up with his old pal, Professor E. Gadd. Once freed from his painting he’ll be your main contact in the game in more ways than one. Throughout your experience you’re going to face moments where you’re not quite sure what direction you should be taking next and the wacky professor will be there to provide you with hints on-the-fly to defeat a boss or crack a puzzle. However, thanks to his incredible intelligence he’ll be the one supplying you with parts to upgrade your primary ghost-catching tool, the Poltergust G-00. This ghost vacuum comes equipped with a Strobulb and Dark-Light, among other features.

The premise is quite simple. Spot a sneaky ghost and flash it with your strobe light to freeze it in place. Follow this with the suction of your vacuum to drop its health meter. Fill the meter and slam the ghost into the surroundings to drop its health in record time. As simple as that might sound, things get a little trickier the further you progress. Goobs are your general entry-level ghosts, which you’ll encounter more often than not and pose little threat, but move on to Slinkers and Oozers and things get a little more tricky. They’ll sneak up behind Luigi when he least expects it and at times you’ll have to deal with groups of ghost of various forms. They’re tough to hold onto as they’ll try their best to escape from your grasp. You’re constantly battling these ghosts by pulling in the opposite direction to fill that meter quick enough for the finishing slams.

Thanks to Gooigi being a copy of Luigi, Nintendo have allowed for some addictive couch co-op.

Everything isn’t quite as it seems in Luigi’s Mansion 3 as you are going to find a bunch of hidden rooms and items. This is where your Dark-Light comes into play. Shine the dark light on an area that you think might have something hidden and, should there be something out of plain sight, it’ll reveal it. Your biggest clue to solving this is by looking at your map via the Virtual Boo. Oh yes, Nintendo is at the top of their game once again by looking back at their hardware legacy by basically introducing the Virtual Boy as your new tool to find your way around this hotel that has 15 floors and two basement levels. More so, it’s all represented in that ‘Virtual Boy red’ graphical style too. Often door entrances will show up on your map that don’t visually appear in the game. The Dark-Light is also used to fend off items, like bins, that have been possessed and need to be dealt with promptly.

Goobusters

Up to this point fans of the first two games might be wondering just what exactly is different in this new game? Well, it comes in the form of Gooigi. By pressing down on the right analogue stick Luigi can spawn a clone of himself, named Gooigi. As you might imagine it’s with this format that you’ll be solving some tough puzzles, but you’ll also be dealing with several boss fights with him by your side. Switching between the two is a simple right analogue stick click away and makes for some interesting scenarios, especially considering that as soon as Gooigi touches water he dissolves and must be respawned again. The bonus is that Gooigi can walk through fenced-off objects. He can’t quite walk through walls, but if there is a fence-like barrier in your way then Gooigi is the piece of goo for the job. 

Each and every room has something to tamper with and Nintendo is begging for you to be inquisitive.

His job doesn’t end there. Thanks to Gooigi being a copy of Luigi, Nintendo have allowed for some addictive couch co-op. The player playing as Gooigi will have access to all the same actions, including the ability to help solve puzzles by moving through fenced off areas, but the player won’t be able to open doors to new areas. Only Luigi can open doors. The game is perfectly playable from beginning to end without another person to take control of him, but co-op is definitely a lot more fun and it helps to have a second player dispose of some ghosts.

Hidden throughout the hotel are gems and regular Boos that can be tracked down by purchasing Gem or Boo finders using the in-game currency. You see, Luigi uses his Poltergust G-00 to suck up anything and everything in sight. That curtain? Suck it up. That bed cover? Suck it up too. Each item in each room might be hiding money or hearts to add to your money pouch or fill up your health meter. The Poltergust G-00 can also blow air outwards to reveal hidden rooms by, for example, blowing on that ceiling fan in the room. Each and every room has something to tamper with and Nintendo is begging for you to be inquisitive.

Once you’re done with the single-player campaign you’ll be able to dive into ScreamPark and ScareScraper multiplayer modes. ScreamPark includes three competitive mini-games for up to eight players locally that involves catching ghosts, collecting the most coins and a bizarre target shooting game. ScareScraper is by far the more interesting of the two and allows you to join other players online. Your task here is to catch a select number of ghosts in a specified amount of rooms. The catch is that you’re up against time. It really does feel like an online Ghostbusters game and you’ll find yourself having a ball searching for the pesky ghosts alongside other players. 

If you’re here for more of the same then Nintendo has delivered another Luigi’s Mansion classic. The puzzles will keep you guessing, the multiplayer modes don’t feel like mindless add-ons and overall it’s just a whole lot of fun. 

Good

  • Gooigi adds a whole new puzzle element
  • Boss battles are great fun
  • Multiplayer modes are very enjoyable
  • Fantastic level design

Bad

  • Nothing much new for series regulars
  • A few bugs required a game reboot

Summary

Series regulars won't find a lot of innovation, but that doesn't deter from the fact that this sequel is still very enjoyable. Gooigi injects some taxing puzzles and multiplayer isn't half bad either. For now though, it seems, Luigi will still live in the shadow of his brother.
8

Great

Married to a gamer and she kicks my ass at most shooters. If the game is enjoyable I'll play it, no matter the format.

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