Luigi’s Mansion 3 Review

Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a game that isn’t afraid to show you how much of a sidekick Luigi is: he stumbles awkwardly, fumbles his flashlight when something makes a noise and whimpers whenever a faucet starts running. There’s no overcoming his fears, either—Luigi’s a scaredy-cat from start to end, which if anything is a testament to his courage. Trapped once again in a haunted building, this time The Hotel of Last Resort (seriously, how does someone fall for this), Luigi’s tasked with rescuing some familiar faces from the Mushroom Kingdom.

The gist of the game continues the same: you must guide Luigi through a series of themed sections, solving minor environmental puzzles and collecting ghosts as you ascend the hotel’s many floors. This is also the best application of the series’ formula so far, both in terms of gameplay and visuals—the detailed animations and many micro-cutscenes look like they’re straight out of a Pixar movie, making Luigi’s Mansion 3 one of the best looking games on the Switch.

Picture of the Hotel Last Resort, of Luigi's Mansion 3.
A very normal looking hotel…

All is not the same, however, and my favorite ‘addition’ to the series was the return of Gooigi, which we first saw in the 3DS’s multiplayer mode, now placed front and center. Luigi’s ectoplasmic doppelgänger can go through pipes, fences and gratings, helping his… I don’t know what Luigi is his, but helping Luigi find money and gems. Many of the game’s collectibles and puzzles require you to use a combination of Gooigi and Luigi to solve; even as far as the middle of the game I was still finding out fun new ways to pair the two, which I won’t spoil here. You can also cede control of Gooigi to a second player in local co-op; as both characters have Luigi’s full moveset (with some minor differences in terms of where they can go), neither player feels relegated to a secondary role.

The game’s floors are all crafted with an exceptional attention to detail, each bringing to life a different theme: there’s a lot of spacetime bending here to accommodate for ancient pyramids, pirate bays, medieval castles, and many more. While the gameplay doesn’t evolve much past what you’re shown in the first three hours, visiting the levels and figuring out how their props and assets reacted to my actions was enough joy by itself.

This makes me look dumber than I am (I swear!)

That’s fortunate, because Luigi’s Mansion never quite hits the mark with its rewards: while there’s copious amounts of treasure and money to find, the things you can spend it on are lackluster. Even something as simple as the inclusion of the multiplayer mode’s skins (or new ones) would’ve made finding money more rewarding. As it is, I finished the game with tens of thousands of dollars and nothing to spend them on, never even bothering to return to Professor E. Gadd’s laboratory other than when the story required me to. In similar fashion, you’ll need to accept that finding the game’s secret gems and Boos is reward enough; what you unlock is hardly representative of the effort required.

I do have to admit that towards the final hours of the game I was already just hoping to get through each level without being too pestered by its ghosts. The basic combat loop wears itself thin due to its lack of variety, and whenever a room dimmed and ghosts popped out, I groaned in disappointment. Fortunately, the boss fights that punctuate the ending of each level are all unique and interesting, requiring you to play around with your limited arsenal of ghost-busting tools in fresh ways.

Picture of the medieval castle floor in Luigi's Mansion 3.
The hotel itself and the character animations are easily the stars of the game.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a charming adventure that doesn’t stray too far from its predecessors, but readily benefits from the Switch’s improved hardware to render some of my favorite video game environments. The physical comedy of watching Luigi tremble as his Polterpup pops out of a painting or one of the ghosts prank him never failed to amuse me, but the lack of interesting rewards and repetitive gameplay had me wishing the game was a tad shorter (or more varied).

Disclaimer: I haven’t played enough of the multiplayer to give my own opinion on it, but I hear it’s quite good.

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