E3 2019 was an insightful experience for me, as I've gone on to play the now-released games I previewed on the show floor. I learn more about a game's development and how they can change months before release. Further, the excitement of being at the world's premier video game convention can change your perception a bit. I gave Luigi's Mansion 3 wild praise when I played it at Nintendo's booth, and it became one of my most anticipated titles of 2019. Indeed, Luigi's Mansion 3 turns out to be a great game, but my perception slightly soured after going through the entire 12-hour campaign.
Once more, Luigi reluctantly steps into the spotlight while Mario takes the sidelines in Luigi's Mansion 3. This time around, the entire Mario gang, including Peach, several toads, and Luigi's ghostly hound Polterpup receive an invitation to stay at a luxurious hotel with "no strings attached". As it turns out, ghosts are everywhere and the hotel's proprietor is in cahoots with King Boo. Luigi narrowly escapes the clutches of the ghostly monarch in a frantic hallway chase, starting Luigi's adventure to save his companions.
The Spooky Hotel of Luigi's Mansion 3
The greatest part about Luigi's Mansion 3 is undeniably the hotel itself. I always enjoyed the spooky mansion from the first entry of Luigi's Mansion, each room having its own quirks and personality. The sequel gave us smaller, singular-themed mansions that were just as wonderful to look at and explore. Luigi's Mansion 3 is a bit like a mix between the two. There's a singular location with many different floors housing different themes. From one floor to the next, it was an excellent surprise to see what developers Next Level Games come up with.
From the mall-like Hotel Shops to the magician-themed Twisted Suites, I enjoyed each and every area. Thankfully, Luigi's Mansion 3 puts the Switch's hardware to the test with superior lighting and excellent anti-aliasing to create crisp and clean looking environments. It runs very well with very little hiccups to speak of, which is weird to say about a Switch game. It would also be a crime to overlook Luigi's Mansion 3's incredible physics, which turns exploring from a fun experience into something a bit more exciting.
Scattered throughout each floor are a plethora of objects that add to the atmosphere and theme of the floor. The Twisted Suites are full of card towers, goofy magical top hats, and even one of those boxes where an assistant might get cut in half. Almost every object is interactable in some way, be it by sucking it up with Luigi's ghost-busting vacuum or by pressing a button to use it. The Tomb Suites, an Egyptian-themed area, had tons and tons of sand, all of which shifted whenever you used your vacuum.
I don't think the music is as memorable as the look of Luigi's Mansion 3, which isn't really a terrible thing. The levels were immersive enough that the music faded to the background. One major complaint regarding sound comes when Luigi is at low health. A truly annoying, ear-bleeding sound constantly bleeps at you when you're hurting, which is incredibly frustrating. However, when it's all said and done, there's still some stellar presentation to be had.
Puzzles and Action in Luigi's Mansion 3
Exploration aside, gameplay for Luigi's Mansion 3 comprises defeating various ghosts and bosses, as well as solving puzzles. Sometimes, fighting enemies and puzzles intertwine. If I had to describe the game's genre, it feels more like a puzzle game with light combat elements. This is because combat really isn't as frequent as other titles in the series.
Luigi brings along his trusty Poltergust vacuum. Attachments include a flashlight and a dark-light device, as well as the vacuum itself. A new addition is the plunger launcher, which sticks to certain surfaces and can be pulled by sucking it up, allowing Luigi to leverage the suction and solve certain puzzles requiring a bit more force.
Enemy variety feels a little sparse, with only a few different ghost types. There are the average Joe blue ghosts, sometimes decked out in protective headgear. They lie in wait for Luigi, always ready with a sword, feather duster, or whatever other weapons the mansion provides. There are larger, red ghosts that pummel you, a slim yellow one that throws objects, as well as a sneaky type that stalks Luigi in the shadows. That's unfortunately just about it.
The main way to take ghosts down remains the same, too. Flash them with your flashlight, suck them up with the vacuum, and thrash them around. In the past two games, ghosts would take Luigi on a wild ride around rooms as they frantically attempted to escape from his Poltergust. This time around, Luigi slams ghosts, dealing a lot of damage in an AoE-like effect. It's all very basic, and while fun at times, it's a tad disappointing.
The real fun comes through fighting bosses. On each floor is a boss, and they feel extremely individualized. Bosses are essentially puzzles with some combat elements thrown in. Early on in Luigi's Mansion 3, boss fights really ramp up with a ghostly pianist. This fight is multi-phased and, while not complex, added a lot of excitement and fun into the gameplay. He caused the chairs in a theater to rise up and attempt to squish Luigi. Then, the ghost possesses his own piano, and it gets even more frantic from there.
Solving the puzzle of Luigi's Mansion 3
Some boss fights are larger and more complex than others, but again, they were always a surprise and as unique as the floors you visit. Unfortunately, the last three bosses or so of Luigi's Mansion 3 were the least enjoyable for me, so the finale wasn't as enthralling as it should have been.
Besides combat, there are puzzles, and plenty of them. Solving puzzles will likely take the most time for players in Luigi's Mansion 3. With the help of Luigi's new gooey companion, Gooigi, there's a lot of creative and interesting conundrums Next Level Games throws at the player. Gooigi is not a solid organism - he's a puddle of anthropomorphized goo. Because of this, he can fit through grates and other tight passages to access switches or get to areas Luigi can't. He's utilized well throughout the entire game, and sometimes it's necessary to use him in order to defeat bosses and other ghosts.
Some puzzles are real brain-teasers. The best use of Gooigi in Luigi's Mansion 3 was on the Paranormal Productions floor. With Luigi acting as a cameraman, Gooigi has to act out certain scenes and solve puzzles with different film props. Next Level Games' puzzles are mostly hits, although some other puzzles took me a frustrating amount of time to figure out. The worst instance of this was two encounters with a ghost cat, requiring extremely thorough, time-consuming searches in order to proceed.
Luigi's Mansion 3 is not a long game by any means, but it doesn't outstay its welcome. Collectibles, like gems hidden throughout levels as well as capturing Boos are there for completionists but otherwise offer no incentive. Luigi's Mansion 3 also features decently sized multiplayer content, at least at first glance. Campaign co-op, a feature from the 3DS port of the original Luigi's Mansion, returns in this iteration. One player is Luigi while the other is Gooigi, and it's a welcome, fun option to have.
Besides the campaign's co-op mode, multiplayer turns out to be a repetitive, pointless endeavor. ScreamPark is Luigi's Mansion 3's local multiplayer option, which has three different minigames. In one, players take to the water on rubber floats and collect coins while dodging mines and bombs. Another is simply defeating more ghosts than the other players; lastly, there's a mode where you shoot cannonballs at targets, for some reason. One time playing each mode was enough for me to know that they aren't fun and not worth your time.
ScareScraper is an online mode where players ascend a smaller, randomized hotel filled with ghosts. There are 5 or 10 floors players can ascend, each with different objectives and ending with a tedious boss battle against the Boolossus. Since Luigi's Mansion 3's combat isn't even that great, to begin with, the ScareScraper mode is another miss with literally no incentive to play unless you find it fun. There is no progression to speak of, either.
Luigi's Mansion 3 Review | Final Thoughts
While multiplayer is largely disappointing, Luigi's Mansion 3 is still worth playing, especially if you've played previous entries in the series. It looks amazing and each hotel floor is incredibly detailed and exciting to explore. While combat leaves you wishing for something more complex, the difficulty and ingenuity of the puzzles add some fun into your ghostbusting experience. While my initial perceptions of Luigi's Mansion 3 changed after E3, I can still say I came out of it having a great time.
TechRaptor reviewed Luigi's Mansion 3 on the Nintendo Switch using a copy provided by the publisher.
- Incredible Visuals
- Lovely Hotel Floor Designs
- Great Physics and Puzzle Design
- Fun Boss Battles
- Boring Multiplayer
- Unremarkable Combat