Luigi’s Mansion is so weird. Are there any other Nintendo games that are such specific riffs on a massive pop culture property? You could argue much of Metroid was inspired by Alien, they both share a Ridley. But Samus Aran has become her own sci-fi heroine. Luigi’s Mansion, with its mischievous gooey ghosts and sci-fi contraptions for sucking them up, just is Ghostbusters.
But Ghostbusters is great! Paul Rudd and Luigi totally have the same energy. And if Nintendo wants to make more ectoplasmic homages starring their second-banana Mario brother more power to them, especially if the results are as delightful as Luigi’s Mansion 3 on Nintendo Switch, which I recently got to play.
Seemingly eschewing the controversial mission structure of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon on 3DS, in Luigi’s Mansion 3 the developers at Next Level Games return to the single large building structure of the original game, in this case a haunted hotel. However, with its different distinct floors, the hotel still consists of self-contained levels to tackle. And because I only played the latter section of a single floor, I don’t know how interconnected they’ll end up being or if players will ever need to backtrack.
However, even just this one floor provides some fun and varied examples of what to expect. In a weird way Luigi’s Mansion continues being a parody of the Resident Evil series. After an original game that’s all about being underpowered in this spooky confusing dark mansion, Luigi’s Mansion 3 still has a cartoon horror tone (with some of the most impressive visuals and animation for a Mario-adjacent game) but is a little brighter and places more emphasis on the wacky third-person shooter controls of your ghost vacuum, the Poltergust.
Busting ghosts isn’t an especially long process but it does have a few steps. First, you’ll need to charge up the strobe bulb to stun them, especially if they are invisible. Then you’ll start sucking them in like big wily fish. New in this game is the ability to charge up a visceral slam move to start knocking around ghosts you’re already tethered to as well as damage nearby ghosts. And more unique ghost encounters require more specialized tools. For example, in the boss fight against a spectral king on horseback, I had to shoot a plunger at his shield and suck it back in to open him up to attack. The fixed camera angles can make aiming a little tricky but at least you can adjust with motion controls.
The Poltergust also comes in handy for solving the various puzzles strewn about the dense diorama-esque rooms. The dark light reveals hidden passages. Luigi can blow air along with sucking it in to blast away certain obstacles or to perform a pseudo-jump like in a normal 3D platformer. And by summoning the gross green nearly intangible doppelganger Gooigi, you can use these moves in tandem to solve more elaborate puzzles. Even better, Gooigi can just warp back to Luigi once the puzzle is solved. So aside from keeping him away from water, you don’t need to babysit him.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 still doesn’t have a release date but Nintendo promises it should be out sometime later in 2019. In the meantime, here are some cool nintendo Switch games to play right now!