Luigi’s Mansion 3 is frightful and delightful
An apparition has appeared! A brand new Luigi’s Mansion title that features unique boss designs and imaginative levels, has possessed my Nintendo Switch. I don’t need any Ghostbusters for this, I got this handled on my own.
I don’t mean to sound salty, but after Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon and a respectable 3DS remake by Grezzo (best known for the recent Zelda remakes), I wasn’t sure what would happen to the series. The original came out of nowhere as a Gamecube launch title. It was a unique horror game that was suitable enough for children and had its spin on what horror combat could be. Dark Moon arguably dropped the ball with its mission structure and lackluster bosses and while 3 lacks the atmosphere of the first, it makes up for it tenfold with its charm and gameplay.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 is packed to the brim with a diverse cast of bosses and rooms that all somehow fit together in the strange and spooky Last Resort Hotel. The plot is simple-Luigi, Mario, Peach, and a few Toads are invited to a strange hotel. The owner, Hellen Gravely is secretly a ghost and has teamed up with King Boo after freeing him from a portrait. Everyone else gets captured and it is up to our endearing hero, Luigi, to set them free and capture the spectral specters of the hotel.
Luigi then teams up with Professor E. Gadd who sets up a lab in the basement, which serves as your hub. The gameplay retains some features of Dark Moon, a decision I respect: You charge up a meter while sucking up ghosts and can slam them into the ground when it fills. Unlike the original where you had to turn your flashlight off and release to stun enemies at the proper time, you can flash or charge the flashlight for a wider range. You still need to stun certain enemies properly, like sucking up sunglasses and taking advantage of weaknesses. Enemies like the Hammers need to be stunned from the front and have their tails sucked from behind. Learning enemy encounters, reacting properly, and taking advantage of the environment are still integral parts of gameplay. There’s also the Strobulb from the previous game which reveals hidden objects and the newly introduced Suction Shot that shoots a plunger at enemies or objects and allows Luigi to pull them-revealing weaknesses, new paths, or hidden goodies.
I almost finished this review without mentioning Gooigi (Don’t tell my editor or he’ll make me review gacha games as punishment). Gooigi is pretty much your new best friend, and clone made of goo reminiscent of ectoplasm from Ghostbusters. I once possessed great fear of Gooigi. I figured he would’ve added forced co-op features and that the game would be arguably less fun alone, like Resident Evil 5 or Dead Space 3. Thankfully, switching to Gooigi is as simple as pressing the R3 button. He has the same abilities except he can move through iron bars, sewer pipes, and melts in water. The game makes very smart use of what makes Gooigi unique, as well as him being emotionless goo-which is very entertaining in scenes where ghosts can’t comprehend him.
I’ve said it before, but the bosses and floor designs in Luigi’s Mansion are incredibly unique. While not as creepy as the original, 3 feels like it stepped right out of a Pixar movie. The environments are gorgeous and brimming with charm and detail. Just like the previous games, you’ll be combing each room and examining every object for treasure and 3 is filled with tons! So many rooms have secret compartments and mechanisms that enhance the exploration and fun of the setting.
The money and satisfaction from figuring out the locations of treasure are incredibly rewarding. New to the series is also a store in E. Gadd’s lab. You can buy bones you give to Pulterpup in exchange for being revived and you can also buy markers for the map that show you where Boos and collectible gems are for each floor. All of these are completely optional and an older/skilled player like myself never spent money on them. There’s also sadly no scoring system but there are achievements split into four different categories: Collection (money and gems), Battle, Hotel, and Scarescraper. I would’ve preferred a scoring system like the previous games, since it would make replays more enticing and encourage me to challenge myself, as completing a checklist just isn’t very enticing.
Like any good horror game, the setting of the game has a ton of character. Each floor has a theme and every room features a puzzle to be solved. Each was enjoyable, however, the standouts for me were environments like a movie studio, an entire floor overgrown with plants, a floor with a medieval arena, and a concert hall. Even the conceptually simpler floors like a shopping strip are enhanced by charismatic bosses-like a Paul Blart-Esque security guard who does dramatic rolls and action poses, uses a water gun, and will switch to goofy looking sunglasses sold in the mall after you suck up his first pair.
Lastly, there are two main multiplayer modes, Scarescraper and Screampark. Scarescraper is a team-based mode where players compete to capture the most ghosts and collect the most money in four levels and then fight a boss at the end. Screampark has three modes: Ghost Hunt, Coin Floating, and Cannon Barrage. In Ghost Hunt, you and other players compete to capture the most ghosts in a graveyard while a timer runs out. In Coin Floating, you collect coins by using a pool floatie and your Poltergust to move. In Cannon Barrage you suck up ghosts holding cannonballs and then fire them at targets. The only one I found particularly fun was Ghost Hunt since you battle regular enemies. I feel like most players would enjoy playing with each other in co-op more or Scarescraper more. Paid DLC for these features is planned for the future, but I would rather have new single-player content.
The game overall enhances the exploration, character, and intuitive gameplay that serves as the series’ foundation. Almost every floor feels like the perfect length that you’ll want to spend more time in just to explore each room, find all the treasure, and appreciate the unique settings that make up Last Resort Hotel. One of the few complaints I have is that I wish common enemies were handled a bit differently.
These encounters take place in areas shut off by ghostly bars that prevent you from leaving. I understand needing to defeat enemies to progress, but I wish these encounters were more sporadic. I like them in rooms where you need to find a key but not when the game needs to formally introduce new enemy types or fill in a segment with action. This takes away from the atmosphere and limits enemy encounters to set fights. Additionally, the only reason to return to previous floors are the Boos, which Gooigi now reacts to. Well, that and any collectible treasures you might have missed-which are unique to each floor. I’m thankful for 3 abandoning missions and having a structure closer to the original, but I would’ve liked to be on my toes, reacting to enemies as they appear, and managing my health more closely with limited health drops like the first game.
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Luigi’s Mansion 3 has some flaws but don’t let them scare you away. This is another gem for the Switch and was a joy to play for someone like myself who adored the original.
- Gorgeous visuals
- Charming Bosses
- Memorable levels
- Some of the puzzles seem too specific
- Multiplayer seems tacked on