Even if that humor isn't always intentional.
As someone who played through the original Luigi’s Mansion half a dozen times on the GameCube, I’m so glad to see the unique, fun ghost hunting gameplay remains intact, with some ability enhancements that offer a bit more depth. But in my time with both Luigi’s Mansion 3’s single and multiplayer, what struck me most was the way it takes advantage of its absurd supernatural trappings, both intentional and unintentional, to bring so much joy.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 moves the action from a mansion — or several mansions — to a hotel with an exaggerated verticality and gregarious architecture that would fit nicely in the world of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Trapped in with a busted elevator and on a mission, Luigi will explore a host of floors, each with their own theme, like the medieval floor I played through in the single-player portion of the demo. It’s a less cohesive style than the first Luigi’s Mansion, but the variety could really allow for some fun, and wacky, ghosts and scenarios, like the jousting ghost miniboss I encountered in the demo.
The dilapidated (but obviously very costly hotel, given how much went into its unique floors) hotel certainly has its fair share of dark, dank back rooms. And as I explored them, I immediately fell back into the rhythm of surprising ghosts with a flash of light and using my Poltergust to end their haunting days.
But it’s when the exploration kicked in that Luigi’s Mansion 3’s charm began to shine through the familiarity. There seem to be many secrets to discover given the few rooms I encountered held secret passages, collectibles, and a lot of cash to suck up into the Poltergust G-00. While the threequel, naturally, doesn’t retain Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon’s excellent 3D, it does use depth to smartly build layers of exploration and discovery. A crack in the wall indicated a background area, but I could only access it via a hidden access point in the room next door. Luigi’s enhanced moveset really amplifies the possibilities, too. It’s not just about shining a light on a ghost, or using Dark Moon’s returning Dark Light feature to expose secrets.
Luigi can now use the Poltergust to shoot plungers, which can be stuck to the side of an object and then yanked by the handy vacuum. They can be used to toss items around, break environmental layers hiding secrets, and even to take down shielded enemies in combat. Combined with Luigi’s new ability to grab a ghost and then bash it around like Hulk meeting Loki for the first time, and let's just say none of this sequel’s poltergeists will rest happily ever after.
- Slam - Bash ghosts on the ground for damage, and even attack other ghosts with a currently trapped poltergeist
- Suction shot - Shoot a plunger onto an object to destroy it or, better yet, use it in combat to take on specific ghosts.
- Burst - Attack multiple ghosts by sending out a puff of Poltergust power, blowing foes away from you. You can even use it as a dodge attack, as it sends Luigi up into the air for a bit
- Gooigi - The Gooey Luigi is back. Let’s get to that...
Luigi can’t always overcome an obstacle himself, and that’s where Gooigi comes into play. The lovable or grotesque (depending on who you ask) green goo-based version of Luigi can be summoned both in single player, or used as a co-op partner with a friend. Playing alone it’s, well, a bit disturbing to see Gooigi appear. His essence is normally contained within a canister on Luigi’s back, so summoning him makes Luigi look like he’s passing a particular hefty Chipotle burrito, only to fall limp and lifeless as you move Gooigi around.
Look, it’s not a pretty picture to summon Gooigi, though it is a funny one, but he’s actually quite useful, and adds a bit more complexity to the environmental puzzles scattered around the world. He can easily walk over spikes or slip through grates, and even in my short demo, I had to use him several times if I wanted to collect everything in each room and actually progress. Which, as a collect-a-holic, I had to.
Gooigi has a presence in the four-player Scarescraper Mode as well. Returning from Dark Moon, up to four players can play together, locally or online, as four Luigi’s aiming to clear out randomly generated levels of the hotel of its poltergeists pests. You’ll have much more success if you work as a team, rather than everyone flinging themselves to different corners of the map for your own loot. Hazards can trap one of the Luigi’s behind a stuck door or in a balled up carpet, and you’ll need a co-op buddy nearby to come and save you.
The hecticness of it is delightful, and that’s only magnified by Gooigi’s availability to every Luigi playing. Four slumped over Luigi’s and four Gooigi’s running around is quite the sight to behold. 8 possible -igi characters running around makes for a multiplayer mode you’ll absolutely want to play with friends around you, or on the phone, so you can yell at each other for messing up, and thanks to the randomness of it I could see spending more time with the wave-based mode than I would have anticipated for the sequel.
Luigi’s Mansion 3’s campaign is decidedly the marquee showing, and while my time with it was sadly brief, it reignited that itch of methodical ghost hunting I need to scratch. I can’t wait to explore more floors of the hotel, especially if they’ll hold the charm of the ghost and environment design on display in the demo. And all indications point to Nintendo crafting an adventure that really takes advantage of Luigi’s haplessness for really funny comedic effect. Even if it’s not always intentional.