Prepare to take a stand in Luigi’s Mansion 3 as you bravely battle against Hellen Gravely’s minions while exploring The Last Resort Hotel. From Twisted Suites and Egyptian Tombs to the Dance Hall, each floor’s unique theme delivers hours of phantom fun in solo or co-op mode. And if you want to turn the scare-factor up a notch, there’s always multiplayer mode. So, can you help Luigi conquer his fears once again?
Almost two decades have passed since Luigi stepped into his first mansion on the Nintendo GameCube back in 2001. But given its resurgence on the Nintendo 3DS by developer Grezzo last year, it probably feels like just yesterday we were trapping ghosts in our Poltergust 5000. For Next Level Games, it’s been six years since their last development venture with Luigi’s Mansion 2 (Dark Moon in US). Released during the Year of Luigi, the second game in the series was a bit of mixed bag due to its mission-based levels, though ScareScraper mode was a welcome addition. Fortunately, the third instalment takes the franchise back to its roots with uniquely themed storylines and checkpoints.
The opening of Luigi’s Mansion 3 is probably the most adorable yet. Mario, Peach, Luigi and three Toads have all been invited as VIPs to The Last Resort Hotel. As they travel down the winding paths on the bus, Polterpup makes an appearance scaring Luigi almost to his death. Poor thing. But their relationship is evident and can melt even the coldest of hearts. On arrival, players will get to explore the Hotel Lobby, exchanging light chit-chat with Mario, Peach and the Toads while taking in the luxurious surroundings. Unfortunately, the manager of the Last Resort, Hellen Gravely, has other plans. In the dead of night, she spooks each of Luigi’s friends and imprisons them in magical portraits with the help of King Boo. After waking up to the screams, Luigi’s fight or flight mode kicks in and faces down King Boo only to run to the other end of the hallway and fall down a trash chute into the basement. Oh, Luigi! Thankfully, Professor E. Gadd isn’t far away and gifts you with his re-engineered Poltergust G-00 so you can save your friends (and his research!).
Taking roughly 15 hours to complete story mode, Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a blast to play. Your aim is to explore each of the hotel’s 15 floors, fighting off those pesky boss ghosts to gain the next missing elevator button. With the Poltergust G-00 at your disposal, Professor E. Gadd has developed the ghost-sucking vacuum to not only store and release Gooigi – the green plumber’s doppelganger introduced in last year’s 3DS port – but to also perform new moves like burst, suction and slam. Each of these moves must be utilised to solve puzzles effectively. For example, shoot toilet plungers to pull down switches or vending machines to uncover hidden treasure, and use the burst and slam techniques to either surprise (and frustrate) the ghosts around you with a miniature jump, or slam them from side to side to flatten other Goobs, Hammers, Oozers and Slinkers. Even Gooigi gets his own moves, enabling him to slide through pipes and iron-clad gates with a disgusting gloopy sound, or walk through spikes to hit switches that Luigi can’t reach. Don’t let him hit the water though or he’ll explode into green goo. Flubbertastic.
While the moves are slick to use, it’s the way the ghosts interact with Luigi or Gooigi that’s the most appealing. Goobs are a delight to watch as they make mischief around the hotel. You can spy on them through cubby holes to view the location of a collectable floor gem, while they float around dusting the area and singing, or watch them argue amongst themselves as they play snooker in the billiard room. If Luigi fails to suck them up with the Poltergust and they escape, they’ll happily hold a thumb to their nose and shout ‘ner-ner’. Or their mouths will hang in the air in a state of shock as they see their buddy slammed from side to side. They even wear props in hilarious ways to stop you from stunning them with the Strobulb. While Goobs have always been the makers of mischief, their characterisation is undoubtedly emphasised in the third instalment, making Luigi’s Mansion 3 comedic gold.
But Goobs aren’t the only ghost types to get under Luigi’s skin. Boss fights are incredibly fun to play, with each one unique to their setting. Highlights include the Egyptian Goddess in Tomb Suites with snakes on a sand plain and the Director of Paranormal Productions where Luigi and Gooigi must fight against a Godzilla-like creature. Polterkitty, however, is a pest and is used twice during gameplay to steal your elevator button. The resulting cat-and-mouse chase sequence gets old quickly and is, quite possibly, the only flaw in story mode.
Despite Polterkitty’s rude intrusion, the character development between Luigi and the boss ghosts is reminiscent of the first game. You’ll often find yourself getting caught up in Luigi’s cutscenes, praying for him to make it out alive, while he shakes with fear every time the elevator opens on an unexplored floor. It’s these animated moments, coupled with the ingenious drop-in/drop-out co-op puzzle elements (which can be completed in either solo or co-op play) and the superbly themed aesthetics on each floor, which creates a near-perfect story mode. Boos are also back after you’ve completed a floor, alongside collectable gems and golden bones for a handy Polterpup revive. It’s just a shame there’s no real post-story mode or boss rush mode as seen in the 3DS port. Thankfully, the ranking system from treasure collecting is still included.
Aside from story mode, co-op play with Gooigi is also available in both ScreamPark and ScareScraper modes. In ScreamPark, up to eight players can play with or against each other on one single console holding one joy-con or a pro controller. With only three minigames available, ScreamPark is akin to a travelling fairground ride; a little bit dangerous and unwieldy with a short dash of frenzy that’s, ultimately, not worth the price you paid. Where’s the scream in that?
On the other hand, ScareScraper is a great multiplayer mode revived from the second instalment, Dark Moon. Featuring randomly generated levels between 5 or 10 floors, you’ll have to use your wits to avoid traps and uncover ghosts as you race against the clock to complete the floor’s objective. You can either play in solo or co-op mode, though the latter will mean you share a screen instead of using a split screen; an unfortunate flaw. In the lobby, you can either start a new game or join one in progress. But if there are no games available at the time, you’ll be required to host a new game. Of course, failing the mission means you’ll have to start from scratch and will be forced back to the lobby screen.
With various objectives such as ‘Capture the Ghosts’ or ‘Rescue the Toads’, splitting up your team to uncover different areas is the most strategic and time-efficient way to complete the floor. Items such as the Trap Detector – a blaring red siren – the Map or the Dark Light Goggles are key to making it out in the quickest time. It’s a bit like an Escape room; avoid the red herrings and you’ll be fine. While ScareScraper is best played at max capacity with all four players on different systems, it’s a different ballgame entirely if you’re on your own. Due to the randomly generated levels, playing in solo mode requires utmost precision to make it past the first floor, let alone 5 or 10. Mathematically speaking, you’d have to locate and defeat one ghost every 12 seconds for a 25-ghost floor to make it out in five minutes. While it may not be impossible to everyone, it certainly was for me.
With a near-perfect story mode, Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a polished spectral comedy that keeps you on your toes. While its multiplayer and co-op modes are slick to play, the minigames lower the bar. Yet it’s in the animation and the devilish puzzles that really makes this game shine, with or without the Strobulb. Well done Luigi, those ghosts didn’t stand a chance.
A review copy of Luigi’s Mansion 3 was provided to My Nintendo News by Nintendo UK