I just finished Luigi’s Mansion 3, and boy, what an amazing experience it was! As much as I enjoyed the original game, this game completely blows that one out of the water. If you liked the first game, then you don’t even need to read my review. Just go out and buy it! …But, if you’re so inclined to hear my thoughts, a spoiler-free review awaits you below….
This game starts with Luigi, Mario, Peach, and three Toads who are going on vacation to a towering hotel by the name of The Last Resort. Immediately upon seeing the title screen, I was surprised, and a bit confused, by how bright and cheery it was. Just as the title screen is unassumingly happy in appearance, so too is the hotel, though the smiling staff clearly have a secret to hide based on the fact that they are literally wearing masks to hide their true nature. After you check out the lobby and, later, Luigi’s hotel room, you go to sleep, only to wake up and realize that all is not well.
Seriously, the game’s opening alone was really well done, for once night falls, the hotel (and title screen) becomes appropriately sinister, the danger being revealed now that the sun has gone down. We find out that King Boo wants revenge for the past, and he’s bent on getting it with the help of the hotel owner, Hellen Gravely (who seems to have a rather bizarre crush on King Boo, I might add). From there, your adventure really begins, with Luigi obtaining the Poltergust G-00 not too long later, along with other various upgrades, courtesy of Professor E Gadd, as the game progresses.
Having played very little of Dark Moon, I can only really compare this game to the original on the GameCube. While the core concept is the same, this game does play a bit differently, though you still stun ghosts with your flashlight (which you now charge and flash at ghosts), and you still suck them up with your vacuum. One new mechanic, however, is the ability to slam ghosts into the ground, and into other ghosts, to damage them. Luigi also has a new dark light that can reveal invisible objects and get objects out of certain portraits. This new Poltergust also has a suction shot ability that allows you to grab onto certain objects and pull on them, which is great for breaking larger, heavier objects.
Lastly, I would be greatly remiss not to mention Gooigi, Luigi’s weird green doppelganger. Gooigi can be controlled by a second player, or a single player can switch between the two, adding a very fun and useful teamwork element. Not only can Gooigi simply act as a helpful second person, to stand on a second switch or allow you to pull on two objects simultaneously, he can also go through grates, spikes, you name it, without getting hurt. His only weakness is fire and water, but other than that, Gooigi is immune to a lot of dangers that would otherwise injure his flesh and blood counterpart.
One area in which Luigi’s Mansion 3 excels is variety. The abilities described above give Luigi a range of ways to interact with his environment. And speaking of the environment, despite being 17 floors, the hotel is packed to the brim with detail. Seriously, every room in this game is not only stunning (the graphics are absolutely gorgeous), but the level of detail is mind-boggling, making every room feel alive and giving you a huge variety of objects to interact with as you search for money and solve puzzles. (It’s also just a lot of fun to suck everything possible into your vacuum and to generally wreak havoc in every room you visit.)
The highlight of the game for me, however, was the sheer anticipation of discovering each new floor. Floors are unlocked by defeating boss ghosts and obtaining elevator buttons, and every time I got to check out a new level of the hotel, I was so excited to see what it was going to be. I avoided watching trailers for this game, and I’m so glad that I did, because other people said that some floors were spoiled by said trailers, and I had so much more fun simply discovering them as I played. For that same reason, I’m not going to say what they are, but I can tell you that some floors are NOT what you’d expect to see in a hotel. (Honestly, The Last Resort would be the coolest hotel in existence. I’d totally visit it myself if it was real. And not, you know, super haunted.)
Okay, it’s pretty clear by now that I really love this game. So, to prevent myself from simply rambling on and on about how great it is, let’s just list off the highlights, and a few quick cons, shall we?
- Stunning graphics and level of detail
- Varied gameplay
- Fun, satisfying puzzles
- Great boss fights (a few are super cool…)
- Super creative and interesting floors
- Good soundtrack that perfectly complements the environment
- Lots of gems on each floor to find
- Boos can no longer move between rooms, making them far less annoying to catch
- Tons of charm, from Luigi’s frightened reactions to the ghosts themselves, regular ghosts and bosses alike!
- Much longer than the first game (took me about 20 hours to beat)
- Like the first game, this one is going to be super replayable
- The game feels more linear than the original
- Though you can now buy extra lives and gem and Boo finders with your money, most of your money is not going to have any use
- The controls are a bit weird; for example, it’s really awkward to use your lights and change directions at the same time
- Catching all the Boos and collecting every gem just gives you some aesthetic changes to your gear; some more substantial rewards for all your hard work might have been nice
- Several times, when you’re about to visit a new floor, Luigi loses the newly obtained elevator button, forcing you to hunt down the ghost that stole it…which is kind of annoying
Seriously, going into this game, I didn’t expect a whole lot. The first game is a lot of fun, and really unique, but it was a pretty short experience with not a lot of depth to it. Luigi’s Mansion 3 takes what made the first game fun and improves upon it tenfold. This is the definitive Luigi’s Mansion experience and easily one of the best games on the Switch! Leave it to Nintendo to blow my mind once again!
This post was originally published on Virtual Bastion on November 12, 2019.