Luigi has always played second fiddle to his well known brother Mario. Sure he has his fans (a quick online search reveals some rather rabid ones actually), but he’s never been able to escape his brother’s shadow. Those days may be coming to an end with the release of Nintendo’s newest entry into the Luigi’s Mansion series. It’s been over six years since Dark Moon and I can say now, with confidence, Luigi is back. Not only that, he’s finally found his stride in Luigi’s Mansion 3.
The story kicks off with Luigi, Mario, Peach and a few Toads heading off on a mini vacation to, you guessed it, a mansion. Things quickly take a turn for the worst and your friends are imprisoned in paintings. You’re reintroduced to some familiar faces from previous games and a couple of new ones.
As you progress you gain different abilities and equipment. There are some light metroidvania elements, but they aren’t overwhelming as most of your abilities are acquired early on. You’ll have to use all of them to make your way up the different floors of the mansion. Each floor also has six collectible gems to aquire. These are normally hidden away so it’ll take some searching and puzzle solving to find them all. There are also a handful of Boos scattered throughout the game that you can find and capture. The rewards for these aren’t fantastic but if you’re a completionest, have at it.
By far the coolest addition is Gooigi; basically a gummy version of Luigi. He’s able to get to different places throughout the game that are otherwise inaccessible. Need to get through a barred off area or a drain pipe? Gooigi is your guy. You can switch back and forth between the two characters at any time. This addition opens up a whole new range of puzzle solving, which really is the crux of the game. Sure there are different enemy encounters and boss battles, but even within the combat, there are still puzzles to solve. Later in the game being able to work in tandem becomes more and more necessary, especially during the boss battles. Speaking of which, bosses are incredibly varied as are the different level types. Though the flow doesn’t change much. Puzzle your way through the level, fight the boss, and collect the next elevator button to advance to the next floor. Every few levels there might be a little shake up to the formula, but nothing terribly drastic. It maintains a steady pace throughout which I very much appreciated.
From a technical standpoint, I had zero issues. The cartoony art style is fantastic and the levels are so well done and unique. I played the first half on my Switch Lite and the other on my regular Switch in docked mode with the pro controller. It was really a night and day experience, mainly due to my gargantuan hands. The biggest issue that I had while playing was the control scheme. First off, I don’t know what year it is, but how are you not going to have an option to invert the Y-Axis? C’mon Nintendo. I struggled, especially early, trying to aim my ghost vacuum where I wanted it. If I missed a target it was just as easy to spin in a circle until I got back around to where I was originally trying to aim. Also about halfway through I discovered, by accident, the shoulder buttons were mapped to some of the most used actions in the game. The tutorial failed to mention that or I missed it completely, but it made the game much easier after I readjusted. My only other complaint was that for all of the coins you collect, items available for purchase weren’t very spectacular. At all. I honestly didn’t spend much on anything. Come to think about it, I don’t know if I spent a single coin.
There is a local co-op mode and a couple of different multiplayer modes to try out as well but I focused purely on the single player experience so I won’t comment on them. One is a co-op mode called Scarescraper and the other a versus mode called Screampark for up to 8 players assuming you have Nintendo Online.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a solid entry of the ongoing series. I would say the solidest. Is that a word? Most solid? Yeah, let’s go with that, most solid entry. Anyway, it’s incredibly fun and enjoyable. With several new mechanics and the introduction of the loveable yet probably sticky Gooigi, there’s more than enough new features to pull you in. While slightly marred by some finicky controls (mileage may vary), it’s still a great game that deserves your attention.
Final Verdict : 8.5
Fun Factor : 9
Technical Prowess : 8
Time Investment : 7-12 hours
Replayability : 7