Of all of the franchises to ever be forgotten by Nintendo, we're happy Luigi's Mansion isn't one of them.
After being given new life on the 3DS with 2013's Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon and an ample remake of the original game, Luigi is back in the driver's seat for a hilarious, adorable and sometimes spooky adventure on Nintendo Switch. You'd think the guy would know to avoid any kind of mansion or tall house at this point, but hey, what fun would that be?
Luigi's Mansion 3 has a simple setup: Mario, Luigi, Peach and some Toads have been invited to an exquisite hotel for a getaway. Yeah, right. Upon arrival, the ghosts of the hotel reveal themselves while Luigi takes a nap, and it's up to this taller brother to locate his missing friends, who have been trapped in paintings scattered throughout the building. The problem? Well, all of the elevator buttons are missing, which means you'll have to bust a score of ghosts and get them back before you can locate Mario & Co., and escape.
You may wonder how you'll free your friends from a series of paintings. That's where the equipment comes into play in Luigi's Mansion 3, including the Dark-Light Device that fans will remember from Dark Moon. With it, Luigi can uncover hidden items, but also bring to life paintings throughout the mansion. It's just one of the many enhancements to the Poltergust G-00 you'll get from Professor E. Gadd, who you'll be reacquainted with after the game's first hour or so.
And, yes, he does give you a Virtual Boy to communicate with and to navigate the hotel. You'll also quickly gain access to the Suction Shot, which adds a layer of depth to the game's normal exploration. Throughout the floors of the hotel, hallways and doors will be blocked by suitcases or boxes, so you'll have to fire a Suction Shot and then use the vacuum for a bit of leverage to clear the way.
These gameplay mechanics all neatly weave together as you explore each floor of the hotel, capturing ghosts and fighting bosses. These typical encounters get an added layer of strategy thanks to the return of Gooigi, a green slimy clone of Luigi, created by E. Gadd, who can go places Luigi himself cannot. Is there a gate that has no entrance? Gooigi. Need to slip through a fence? Gooigi. He can also store items inside himself. Gross.
Gooigi is also a great introduction to cooperative play in Luigi's Mansion 3, where a second player can take control of Gooigi while the main player controls Luigi. The entire game, once Gooigi is acquired, can be played like this, and it certainly makes some boss encounters a bit easier, and makes them take less time. But the really impressive part is that each counterpart can be controlled independently by just one player, offering unique, yet complimentary experiences in single player and co-op. The only restriction here is that it's limited to local cooperative play, with no online option.
The game's campaign is a great amount of fun, and doesn't outstay its welcome in the way Dark Moon did on the Nintendo 3DS with its 12+ hour runtime. The levels are varied and the enemies are each unique, rarely following patterns to those that have come before. The game is also packed with detail and a hilarious physics engine that will make you want to use the suction on the Poltergust at every chance you get. Seriously, you'll find yourself holding down the R-button most of the time.
It's also worth mentioning just how good this game looks, with incredible lighting effects and some true graphical wizardry when the game is in handheld mode. Shadows and lights bounce off of walls and papers blow around rooms as you use the Poltergust. It's easily one of the best looking games on the Nintendo Switch.
But the story mode isn't all there is in Luigi's Mansion 3. The game also sports competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes called ScareScraper and ScreamPark, respectively. ScareScraper is more like a horde mode, where a party of up to eight work together and capture all of the ghosts on a floor. ScreamPark is a bit different, and has players breaking into teams to take on a number of gametypes.
There's Ghost Hunt, which is a race to see who can suck up as many ghosts as possible in a given time, Coin Floating, which is a bit of a "move the payload" mode where players will guide a pool float toward more coins, and Cannon Barrage, where teams will have to suck up projectiles and fire them at targets. These are great fun in multiplayer, and do a great job at honing the skills of players who might be struggling in single player.
Overall, Luigi's Mansion 3 is a fantastic evolution for the spooky series, with developer Next Level Games learning from each and every bit of feedback on Dark Moon to elevate the series to AAA status. It's sweet, unsettling when needed and packed full of content. What more could you want from a game starring Green Mario?
Luigi's Mansion 3 is now available on Nintendo Switch. A review copy was provided by the publisher.