Despite being tricked into thinking that he had won a mansion in the first game, Luigi does not suspect a thing when he wins a free stay at a top-notch, world-class hotel, called The Last Resort (because that isn’t an ominous-sounding hotel at all) in Luigi’s Mansion 3.
The hotel owner, Hellen Gravely, sends this invitation and she makes sure to ask Luigi to invite his family and friends. Naturally, Luigi invites Princess Peach and his brother Mario, along with three toads, one of which is stupidly in charge of driving the van to get there, despite not being able to see over the steering wheel.
Unsurprisingly, it all turns out to be a ruse, as Hellen Gravely has only invited Luigi and his pals so the resurgent King Boo can trap them all in picture frames, a fate which befalls Mario, Peach and the three Toads in the opening section. Luigi finds his trusty Poltergust, a fancy hoover with ghost-catching abilities. He rescues its inventor, the weird man-baby himself, Professor Elvin Gadd, who had also been invited separately and sealed in a picture frame upon arrival. He explains what needs to be done and Luigi, despite being a massive coward, goes along with it because he has to rescue his friends. It will not be easy though, as when Luigi first enters an elevator, he realises that the buttons to each floor have all been taken, meaning he cannot reach the top, the place he needs to be.
The basic gameplay loop and main objective on every floor in Luigi’s Mansion 3 consists of the cowardly hero searching and looking for these numbered buttons to progress further up the hotel. Of course, it is not as simple as it sounds, as plenty of ghosts and puzzles along the way scupper any chance of Luigi having an easy time. Both of these aspects are the core of Luigi’s Mansion games and it is no different here, so if you have played either of the previous two games, you will feel right at home.
The general clearing out of rooms has been upgraded somewhat. It still plays out the same as before but there are a lot more things in every room that can be moved around and sucked up. Nearly every room in Luigi’s Mansion 3 has tons and tons of objects to clear out and secrets to find and it is so satisfying to get everything. The main thing you will find when doing this is money, there’s loads of it and it is everywhere. It is weird then, that it is only used in-game is to buy a few items, none of which are essential. At the end of Luigi’s Mansion 3, I believe the rank given to you is determined by completion time and money collected, but it never told me that so I am just guessing here. I cannot think of any other reason for all of the money that I collected.
The ghost-catching element works similarly to how it did in Luigi’s Mansion 2, as opposed to how it did in the original. With a press of the ‘A’ button, Luigi will use the Strobelight. Flashing this in the eyes of a ghost will stun them; allowing Luigi to then proceed to suck up the ghost. Whilst caught in the suction, the ghost will try to flee, so by pulling the control stick in the opposite direction, you will not only deal the most damage but also fill up a similar-looking meter than in Luigi’s Mansion 2. In that game, filling this meter and pressing ‘A’ would deal a lot of damage all at once. Here, filling it up and pressing ‘A’ causes Luigi to slam the ghost on the floor, dealing 20 damage each time you do so. You can typically do this good few times before Luigi lets go, which is usually enough to finish it in one go. Any other enemies caught in this slam will not only be damaged but vulnerable to further attacks too, so you can start to string together some ghostly combos and clear them out quicker.
On top of the aforementioned new ghost-catching slam ability, Luigi has a few different tools at his disposal, which changes up the gameplay just enough to feel different, but not massively. Burst has a couple of different uses. Firstly, it allows Luigi to jump up in the air, meaning he can dodge certain attacks, such as shock waves from larger enemies. Secondly, if there are a few too many ghosts coming at you at once or crows are gaining on you and you feel like you need a little more room, using burst will blow them away from you. Lastly, using this can have effects when searching rooms in general, as it will get rid of garbage, scatter leaves out of the way and uncover secrets. Another addition is the suction shot, which allows you to fire a rope at certain objects. Luigi can then suck up the rope, fill up the meter then slam the object down, often breaking the object, usually revealing money. It is used for plenty of puzzle-solving throughout and is even used on certain enemies and bosses.
The other big new addition in Luigi’s Mansion 3 is actually from Grezzo’s remake on 3DS and his name is Gooigi. In solo play, you can switch between Luigi and Gooigi by pressing the right analogue stick down. Gooigi can squeeze through places that Luigi cannot, which is useful to gain access to many secret areas. He can also be used in conjunction with Luigi, as certain enemies and puzzles require the use of both characters at once. I know that sounds like it would be difficult, but it is, in fact, a lot simpler than that. If you hold down the suck button and switch to Gooigi, Luigi will continue to suck. What is great about Gooigi is he allows for the entirety of the main game – except maybe the first half-hour or so – to be played in co-op, which is an amazing addition. Not only does it make clearing out rooms and defeating enemies easier, but also puzzles that require both characters become easier to navigate around too.
There are only seven different types of standard ghosts in Luigi’s Mansion 3 and two of these are simply small versions of the most frequent ones (and are incredibly easy to take down). Just like in previous entries, enemies can wear something on their face, such as glasses or a mask, which means you cannot just walk up and stun them with your Strobulb. This helps with the lack of variety somewhat, but it still seems like there is nowhere near enough. The ghost-catching element seems to have taken a little bit more of a backseat in this entry. There are still plenty to catch, but it seems to be much less than in the previous game, especially in the first 75 percent of the game. More do start appearing when you are towards the end of the game when it is trying to throw a bit more at you. It is not a game-breaker by any means, but as I mentioned, when there are only a handful of different types of ghosts, to begin with, it becomes a bigger problem.
On a more positive note, I found some of the boss fights to have a very clever mechanic behind them and they genuinely require a bit of thought as to how you are supposed to go about hurting them. Some of the required actions will take a good amount of time to work out, as you would never have even thought about doing that, to begin with as it seems so ridiculous and it hasn’t been used in any other part of the game.
The visuals have been a standout for Luigi’s Mansion games. On GameCube, it showed everyone what the system could do and on 3DS it looked amazing too, with probably the best use of 3D on the system. While I am not blown away by the third entry on the Switch, it still has a great look about it along with some fantastic animations, real-time lighting and a plethora of smaller details that aren’t apparent at first glance. Luigi himself is yet again so expressive, such as when he grits his teeth and goes all stiff because of the pure fear he feels. A small touch, but it all adds up.
The music seems a little bit more subdued in Luigi’s Mansion 3. I would not say it has a great main theme as the other two titles did. Luigi certainly doesn’t like it that much either as he doesn’t hum it this time round. There are songs for each floor, some being catchy, but I am not going to be rushing over to YouTube and listen to any of them any time soon. The biggest downfall in the sound department goes to the awful low health noise. I get that the game needs to tell you that you are low on health, but it doesn’t need to be like this. The music goes very quiet – including the SFX – and the most annoying noise rings out repeatedly. It is so bad, that I would go as far as saying it is the worst in any game I have ever personally played and yes, I am including Zelda.
Other annoyances I had included the control system, which I found to be a little clunky. I ended up getting used to it more after I changed the control scheme to turn when using the Poltergust, but even then, I often found myself spinning around in circles when trying to suck up stuff. Again, it is not terrible, as I did get used to it, but there is no doubt it could have been better. Luigi’s Mansion 3 also has a few bugs here and there, such as times when I had been stuck behind objects after catching ghosts and it took me a while to get out. My game also crashed once at the end of the longest and worst boss in the entire game, as if it knew I would like to play through it again. The camera can also be a bit weird sometimes, especially when using Gooigi.
Another thing I could not help but think about was a lack of options in my arsenal. Even with the new additions like the Suction Shot and Gooigi, I could find most of the secrets in every room easily because it always seemed like the same processes occurred. When my options are limited to around five different things, it will not take me long to get to the answer. With this in mind, I felt like some rooms and areas in Luigi’s Mansion 3 were effectively carbon copies of others, just looking a bit different because of the varying themes of the floors. Due to this, it caused some sections to feel a little bit too safe. Which is a shame, as bosses constantly had new ideas and other times during the game when a few new ideas were thrown into the hat – which I will touch on soon – it felt fresh again.
The structure here is in between the previous games. In the original Luigi’s Mansion, you had lots of mini-bosses and a few regular bosses, all within a singular, connected mansion. Luigi’s Mansion 2 however, did away with the mini-bosses and had missions and a level structure instead, focusing on more mansions to get some different themes in there such as an ice mansion. In Luigi’s Mansion 3, we have the level structure (each individual floor), each having its own boss (or mini-boss), but it is all enclosed within one connected building. Each floor is a different theme; there is a lot more variety in here than what we had in the first two games, which is great. There are a few types of themes I would have liked to have seen, but I can’t complain too much about what we ended up with.
Without giving away what each theme is, I am only going to cover a couple of them. The first being floor seven, which sees you climbing up an ever-changing tree. One of the rooms on your way up houses a chainsaw. Doing his best Leatherface impression, Luigi can use it to completely tear up the room. You could even cut the grass in there, it was such a fun room to go through. Another floor I will mention is floor eight, which is set up like a film studio, with five different sets which all link to each other with a very cool and well-thought-out puzzle. This floor also included a neat little nod to a few of Next Level Games’ other games.
A few other aspects have been included to help pad out the experience a bit more and give us more things to search for other than money and elevator buttons. Hidden gems work the same as they did in Luigi’s Mansion 2, with you usually having to go out of your way to find something in the environment that looks a little suspicious. Things such as ceiling fans that upon spinning with the Poltergust, acts as an opening mechanism for a door, which holds a hidden gem inside. There are six of these on each floor, but truth be told, most of them are fairly easy to find because, as I mentioned earlier, there’s only a limited amount you can do in each room so you’re bound to stumble across them one way or another.
Boos also make a comeback and again, they are handled in a very similar way to the second game. Upon finding them, using the Dark-Light will reveal them, allowing Luigi to suck them up. To find them in the first place, when you clear a floor, you can go back and search for them using the Boo finder, which lets off stronger vibrations the closer you are to finding them. Lastly, in-game achievements give us extra objectives to try to go for when we would not have otherwise cared.
There are plenty of smaller ideas in play that only get used a handful of times in Luigi’s Mansion 3. The aforementioned chainsaw, for example, is only used twice in the entire game. You can get inside an inflatable duck to traverse water. Again, only used a couple of times in the main game. Sand is featured mainly on one floor and that’s it. It is little ideas like this which Nintendo games do so well, it breaks up the main gameplay elements and gives you something different to do for a small section, then reverts back.
The surprisingly fun Scarescraper mode from Luigi’s Mansion 2 makes a welcome return. This is a mode separate from the main game. You set the number of floors you want to complete, five, ten or random, with each floor having a different objective to complete. Some floors will simply ask you to capture all the ghosts, while some will see you rescuing Toads, which you can high five, by the way. It is all done against the clock so it can get very hectic. If you search around a bit, you will inevitably stumble across some useful items too such as extra time, a super powerful flash and an invincibility star. While you can play it solo, it is best played with a friend as it is much easier to search and clear floors with somebody else with you. You can play online, too and whilst I haven’t been able to try out online, I do know that you can take two people on the same console online and team up with others. It’s a fun, if not essential game mode will keep you coming back now and then.
Screampark is a brand new mode added to Luigi’s Mansion 3 and it’s super fun while it lasts. These are three small mini-games that can be played by up to eight people on a single console. The first is Coin Floating, which sees you on an inflatable dingy, trying to suck up coins while avoiding mines. The second is Ghost Hunt, which is simply defeating as many ghosts as you can in the time limit. The third and final mini-game is Cannon Barrage, in which you need to defeat enemies carrying cannonballs, then insert them into a cannon and firing it at targets. Each one is fun in its own right, but it is not going to keep you coming back.
Make no mistake; Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a good game. With a great variety in themes, inventive bosses, and some really cool small ideas that break up the main gameplay elements. There are just a few things that hold it back from being great, such as a massive lack of enemy variation and I do feel that at certain points, the game plays it a little too safe at times. Nevertheless, I had tons of fun playing through and it is an easy recommendation to anybody, as it will appeal to so many different people. Luigi is still my favourite Ghostbuster.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Nintendo