It’s not actually a mansion, but we won’t hold that against them.
I have a complicated relationship with the original Luigi’s Mansion. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great game, but it was also one of the first games to teach me that not all games are happy-go-lucky and colorful. Even Mario games can be tense and unnerving. Granted, in hindsight, the original game wasn’t that scary, but it did broaden my horizons a bit. Now that I’m older, I can see games like Luigi’s Mansion 3 with more clarity, and while I wouldn’t call it “scary” anymore, I would most certainly call it “clever.”
In a pattern that Luigi really ought to be getting wise to by now, he is invited alongside Mario and Peach to The Last Resort, a massive, opulent hotel for a free five-star holiday. Guess what? It’s a trap. The hotel’s owner, Helen Gravely, is a ghost, and is the number-one fan of Luigi’s spectral nemesis, King Boo. Gravely lets King Boo and his army of spooky minions loose in the hotel, who promptly nab Luigi’s friends and family. Armed with E. Gadd’s new Poltergust G-00, Luigi will need to scour the hotel for his friends, all while wrangling the rogue spirits along the way.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 employs a sort of mix between the original game’s open-ended mansion and Dark Moon‘s more mission-based structure. To get around the hotel, you need the missing buttons from the elevator, which are held by powerful ghosts. Every one of the hotels 15 floors is reigned over by one or two boss ghosts, and to get at them, you’ll need to solve gauntlets of puzzles. The Poltergust can suck up just about anything, as well as shoot it back out, as usual, and the Dark Light from Dark Moon also makes a return to reveal hidden objects (though, thankfully, there’s no meter this time, so you can use it as long as you want). New abilities include the Burst, a sort of AoE attack that knocks enemies away and sends objects flying, the Suction Shot, which can stick a grapple point onto any flat surface, and best of all, Gooigi. Gooigi is a slimy doppelganger of Luigi that can be summoned from the Poltergust and controlled remotely. Gooigi has most of Luigi’s regular abilities, but due to his gelatenous body, he can also pass through bars, walk through spikes, and squeeze into vents, which offers some clever puzzle-solving tricks. The only catch is that he melts in water, so you’ll need to be careful with him in bathrooms and whatnot.
Combat is similar to Dark Moon; when you’re attacked by ghosts, you can use the strobe light to stun them, then start sucking them up. New to Luigi’s playbook is the Slam, which, well, slams ghosts onto the ground, into furniture, or other ghosts, clearing out large chunks of their health. The Slam is sort of an evolution of the power meter from Dark Moon; you need to use it to deal with bigger ghosts, but it’s a much quicker process, not to mention pretty funny. Ghosts will also employ things like sunglasses and shields to hide from your strobe light, so you’ll need to do a bit of quick thinking to get those away from them.
I think what really sells me on this game is its bountiful personality. Luigi has lots of little quirks in his animations that keep you engaged and entertained. He goes board-stiff when he’s startled, does a little fist pump when he wins a fight, and yes, you can make him call out for Mario. I admit, I do wish they’d gone with the more ghoulish designs of the first game’s ghosts rather than cartoon-y ones of Dark Moon, but the boss ghosts mostly make up for that with their own amusing mannerisms.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 isn’t an especially long or difficult game, but I’ve enjoyed my time with it nonetheless. It’s an entertaining romp with clever puzzles and some really cool level designs. There’s also lots of bonus junk to find like hidden gems and Boos, so hopefully that should add a little post-game value. There’s also a few multiplayer modes if you’re into that, which make for an entertaining distraction if not a particularly fulfilling one.
As it stands, it’s a generally good game; nothing super incredible, but ultimately inoffensive and makes me smile. I do have to wonder what kind of haunted architecture Luigi will be tricked into entering next, though. A castle, maybe? He did visit Castlevania in that one Smash Ultimate trailer…