I always liked the Luigi’s Mansion series, but it wasn’t until Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon that I ended up loving not only Luigi but the idea of Mario-less games. I couldn’t believe that a new game in the series was coming to Nintendo Switch. Luigi isn’t a leading man normally and I see why, but Nintendo believes in him and so should we.
Seven years after one of my favourite Nintendo 3DS titles, we get a sequel and one of the best looking games available for the Nintendo Switch. It isn’t your typical Mario platformer, but instead, it’s an action-adventure game set within a haunted hotel. Developed by Vancouver’s Next Level Games, Luigi’s Mansion is a hauntingly good time with improvements all around. A big concern for me was that when this game appeared during a Nintendo Direct, it was whether or not Next Level Games would return to develop the third entry. I’m glad Nintendo went with them as they’ve elevated the series to a pillar experience within the ecosystem and continue that idea on Switch.
For most fans of the series, preference is split between the original Luigi’s Mansion and the sequel, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, both with their merits. For me, I fell in love with the series with Dark Moon, which was full of things to do and collect. This is more of that, I find so if you weren’t too keen ont he sequel, this may not be for you.
Luigi along with Mario, Peach, and Toad are invited to the Last Resort hotel, which by the name of it already sounds suspicious. Arriving at the hotel happens without a hitch and even looks ritzy by all means, but as soon as Luigi heads to his room, the charade falls apart. As it turns out, the ghosts, namely King Boo, escaped from imprisonment and wants revenge on Luigi. So, King Boo invites Luigi and company to the hotel, to imprison them in portraits as part of his collection. He almost succeeds, too and captures everyone but Luigi; the younger Mario brother escapes and makes his way to the basement where his Poltergust G-00 awaits.
Beginning as a procedural, the first few hours serve tutorial as you learn the basics and new mechanics. You’ll start on the bottom floor of the hotel, and for roughly the first five floors lack any specific décor. Once things ramp up though, exploring the hotel becomes more enjoyable with every floor featuring its theme. One floor is a medieval theme, with jousting knights, torture devices, and dungeons. Another floor features a massive studio backlot, each with its own set. Or an overrun garden with killer plants, birds and things that go bump in the night.
Each floor begins with moving from room to room, solving puzzles, battling ghosts and causing as much damage as possible to each room with your vacuum. In some cases, light puzzles and minor ghost battles sprinkled throughout each floor, add variety. You’ll also encounter on some floors, bigger and meaner ghosts that offer some challenge before leading up to the floor’s big boss ghost. After defeating the boss of each floor, Luigi gains an elevator button, but come in no particular order and backtracking offers rewards you may have missed on an earlier floor.
New mechanics join everything that was originally in Dark Moon, so in addition to the flashlight, Strobulb, and Dark-Light Device; Luigi gains access to the Suction Shot and a Burst mechanic. The Suction Shot fires off a plunger with a rope attached to it and is mainly used for solving puzzles as well as picking up and smashing items around the hotel. Burst is a new way to defend against multiple ghosts, which creates a burst of air beneath Luigi and allowing him to jump. Most importantly though, is Gooigi and the things you can do with it.
We’ve Goo-t it Goin’ On
Gooigi is a clone of Luigi and is made of green goo and allows you to reach places otherwise not possible. By having no physical form, Gooigi slinks between spikes, through iron barriers, and down an assortment of pipes. The downside is that being goo means touching water dissolves Gooigi immediately and that he has a third of the hit points Luigi does. And, if you can get one other person, the entire campaign can be completed with one person playing as Luigi and the other as Gooigi.
For being on the Nintendo Switch, an almost three-year-old console, Luigi’s Mansion 3 is one of the best looking titles available. I can’t believe how good everything looks, the number of things I can destroy, and the attention to detail in every room. I’ve split my playthrough between my Nintendo Switch Lite and my launch Nintendo Switch in docked mode. I’m thoroughly impressed by the amount of polish, too and the game plays like a well-oiled machine in both handheld and docked mode.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 is also beautifully animated and expressive, so it’s hard not to find myself charmed by the characters and in particular, Luigi. In some rooms, for example, Luigi moves at a snail’s pace as he shivers and struggles to form words. In other rooms, he struts as though he owns it. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is one of the most expressive video games on the Nintendo Switch and offers some of the best interactions between these iconic characters. Even without Bowser, King Boo serves as the perfect foil to Luigi.
ScareScraper returns, which is an up to eight-player multiplayer. Working together in teams of different coloured Luigis, you’ll clear either 5, 10, or 25 floors and have only five minutes to clear the floor before ultimately ending on the roof. Each floor also has its objective, one might require you to clear the ghosts while another required Toads to be saved or to collect several coins.
ScreamPark is another multiplayer mode two teams called Team Luigi and Team Gooigi consisting of Luigis and Gooigis respectively, work against each other in Ghost Hunt, Coin Float, and Cannon Barrage. Ghost Hunt pits teams against each other to gather ghosts, Coin Float tasks teams with earning as many coins and avoiding mines in a pool. Cannon Barrage tasks teams with loading cannonballs into a cannon and firing at a target.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 is an excellent game. The third entry is easily the best in the series and offers an expansive campaign that while not particularly challenging, is engaging and exciting. Luigi isn’t his brother Mario, but he is the only character a game like this works with. His mannerisms, his attitude and everything about Luigi exhudes charm and hilarity. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is one of the best looking titles to date on the Nintendo Switch and I can’t get over how much detail Next Level Games crammed into this game.
[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]