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Hands-On Preview With Luigi’s Mansion 3

Luigi’s at it again! In Luigi’s Mansion 3, Mario decides to take a much-needed vacation from saving the Mushroom Kingdom with Princess Peach, Toad, and Luigi. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned for Mario, who, along with Peach and Toad is then captured by King Boo. It is up to Mario’s trepidatious brother to save the day in another spooky adventure.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Luigi’s Mansion. A series centred around facing one’s fears and overcoming adversity feels rather fitting for a character like Luigi. He’s always treated as the second banana and was never truly given his due until Luigi’s Mansion released on GameCube in 2001 and the 2011 3DS sequel, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 continues the core trend of placing Luigi in a precarious situation, putting the beatdown on a series of ghost enemies with his Poltergust vacuum. This time around, Nintendo, alongside British Columbia-based Next Level Games is offering a slight twist in the setting. Instead of your traditional mansion, the third iteration of the series is placed in a large hotel. Each floor of the hotel is themed, giving a more dynamic setting and offering a wider range of backdrops.

During Fan Expo Canada, Nintendo invited me to go hands-on with the upcoming title. The demo served its purpose of providing context towards the new mechanics and highlight the different enemies. The cherry on top of all of this was that it ended with a fight against one of the game’s bosses.

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The demo opened up with a tutorial of how to use Luigi’s upgraded vacuum, now known as the Poltergust G-00. Luigi’s Mansion 3 has implemented a few new moves for Luigi to use while busting ghosts. The first is the Slam mechanic. After sucking in a ghost with the Poltergust, Luigi can slam the enemy on the ground a few times in order to defeat them. The Poltergust G-00 also comes loaded with a Suction Shot which will shoot a plunger onto a surface, allowing Luigi to pull the object away. Lastly, the vacuum has a Burst function, which functions as a way for Luigi to evade enemies via a small launch into the air.

These new mechanics did take a bit of getting used to. Memorizing the new button layout is probably better suited when properly sitting down on the couch, rather than an enclosed demo scenario. The Slam attack, for instance, requires a few precise button presses in order to properly execute the full attack. However, I do believe the new features are a positive change to the gameplay.

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The Suction Shot was arguably my favourite addition. The demo included a few simple, yet well-thought-out puzzles to complete. One, in particular, has Luigi search for a key in what looks to be a wine cellar. After destroying the few small barrels and crates in the room, all that remained were three large wine barrels. Shooting the plunger on each, Luigi could open them up and uncover some surprises. One held a fair number of coins, the other possessed the key, and the third released a small army of rats. While it may not seem like a big deal, the Suction Shot offers a new dimension of interactivity to the levels within Luigi’s Mansion 3.

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I’m sure by now, you’ve seen the absolutely adorable Gooigi, Luigi’s new sidekick. Based on my experience with the demo, his inclusion is not just some gimmick to implement co-op play. Sure a second player can jump in and control Gooigi for some fun co-op action, but Gooigi actually plays a pretty big role in Luigi’s journey. The demo makes this point a few times by having Luigi come across some obstacles only a nearly sentient jelly-like partner can cross. Gooigi is able to maneuver through spikes and other traps. In another scenario, Luigi must use his Poltergust on a windmill device to call up an elevator. After entering, Luigi must call on Googi to blow the windmill to send the elevator down, before calling Gooigi back into the Polergust G-00. The only catch to Gooigi is that he’s unable to bypass water. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon toyed with the idea of having a co-op experience. However, it was never featured in the main campaign. The idea of having a full experience where two players can enjoy the action of hunting ghosts is an exciting prospect.

Finally, I arrived at the game’s first boss. Set in an exterior arena, Luigi must go head-to-head with an armoured ghost on horseback. The boss had a wide variety of moves and proved to be a bit of a challenge. Harkening back to my one of my initial statements, this boss battle would probably be better served when played in a different setting. Being thrown in, many of the moves you must make are time-sensitive and require precision. Once I got a hang of the gameplay loop, it did become a much more enjoyable encounter. Luigi must stun the boss with his shield, and use the Suction Shot to pull the enemy’s armour off. The tricky thing is, he moves very quickly and circles the arena. The opening for a stun attack is ever so brief that you must plan accordingly.

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Overall, my time with Luigi’s Mansion 3 was a very enjoyable experience. It has been far too long since we’ve been able to play Luigi’s Mansion on a TV. The environments are incredibly rich and detailed, so even if you are a handheld person, I strongly recommend docking your Switch at least once to take a gander on the big screen. There is a ton of charm packed into the game. Luigi by most accounts is no hero. Yet, seeing him excel and save the day is quite rewarding. Luigi’s Mansion 3 also offers a ton of humour, both in the subtle ways Luigi treads through the halls, and his reactions to the situations that unfold.

While the puzzles I experienced were pretty straightforward, I am keen to see how the different environments and themes invite more thought-provoking challenges to the player. The combination of new mechanics and full-fledged support of Gooigi makes the idea of intricate puzzle solving a possibility. I look forward to seeing the breadth of challenged Next Level Games is cooking up.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 is set to release October 31st on Switch. Spot on launch date, Nintendo!