REVIEW: Luigi’s Mansion 3

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Title Luigi’s Mansion 3
Developer Next Level Games
Publisher Nintendo
Release Date October 31st, 2019
Genre Ghost Hunting
Platform Nintendo Switch
Age Rating E for Everyone – Comic Mischief, Mild Cartoon Violence
Official Website

Although Luigi’s Mansion 3 isn’t my first outing with the constantly terrified brother of Mario, it’s the first time I reviewed this series for the oprainfall site. Add on top of that the fact this is the first of Luigi’s ghost hunting adventures on Switch, then the bar for this review was set pretty high. However, as someone who enjoyed the first Luigi’s Mansion way back on Gamecube, as well as the updated spookiness in Dark Moon, I wasn’t too worried about enjoying the game. So long as it brought with it tight controls and substantial content, I was pretty certain I would have a good time. And while that ended up being true, there were a few annoying quibbles that kept this one from a perfect score.

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Luigi’s Mansion 3 starts with Luigi, Mario, Peach and the Toads heading to relax at a new luxury hotel, the Last Resort. They were invited by the proprietor, Hellen Gravely, and after spending most of their time stopping Bowser related crimes, I’m sure it seemed like a nice offer. Our Mushroom Kingdom residents get pleasantly settled, Luigi and Polterpup head to their room, and quickly fall into a calm sleep. Suddenly, that sleep is broken by Peach’s terror stricken scream. Luigi goes to investigate, and can’t find her, Mario or the Toads. Suddenly the golden hued hotel reveals its hidden murky nature. Confused and alarmed, it all clicks into place for Luigi when the elevator dings and reveals Hellen. Turns out, she’s not the proprietor of the hotel at all. In fact, she’s not even alive, she’s a mischievous ghost in disguise! Worse yet, fan girl that she is, Hellen already helped free King Boo, and he managed to quickly capture everyone in magical paintings, and Luigi’s next. The only thing these villains didn’t count on (somehow) was Luigi’s spinelessness, as he runs screaming into the laundry chute, barely avoiding being turned into a piece of art himself.

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It all seems dire, especially since Luigi isn’t initially equipped with his trusty Poltergust. Luckily, thanks to the keen nose of his Polterpup, Luigi quickly comes upon an upgraded model in the basement, and soon finds the Dark-Light attachment. Led by his canine champion, Luigi manages to discover and free a trapped E. Gadd, who instantly wants to flee the hotel. Somehow Luigi manages to fight his own fear, and they instead head back downstairs where the mad professor activates his portable lab, your safe haven and operating base. Turns out, Hellen went after E. Gadd first, and lured him in with the offer of rare ghosts (of course). E. Gadd may be brilliant, but he’s also more than a bit twisted and strange, and rarely sees past his own self interest. And while Luigi may well be a coward, he’s still imbued with the heroic spark to want to save his friends. Together, these two very different men work out a strategy to recover those companions and defeat King Boo again in the process.

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The first step is finding all the elevator’s missing buttons. Those sneaky ghosts have stolen all but one of them, and you have to find and beat ghosts to recover each one. Considering there’s a total of 15 floors, plus two basement areas, that’s a lot of ground to cover. Thankfully, the game is structured in such a way that you’re constantly being led towards the next goal, and you really can’t get lost. Worst case scenario, the path forward may not always be clear, but E. Gadd will generally yell the solution at you if you’re stuck long enough. But if you’re not ready to progress, E. Gadd will instead direct you towards a handy upgrade first, such as the Suction Shot, the Gooigi module and Super Suction. Each item does a good job of opening up exploration possibilities, and I felt they all had their proper place. My main complaint was with Luigi’s Burst move, which has him jump upwards with a gust of air which can occasionally destroy items or open barriers. I never felt using this Burst was intuitive at all, and constantly forgot about it. In a game involving ethereal ghosts you can’t physically touch, it just didn’t seem that relevant to give him an awkward jumping move that could never let you surmount vertical distances. Also, I kind of wish there were a couple more upgrades for your Poltergust G-00. You get most of them relatively early on, and then very late you get the Super Suction, and I only ended up using it once, which felt like a missed opportunity. To be fair though, it’s quite possible there’s other hidden areas where you can also use it, because I didn’t even get close to finding all the optional items in the game during my time reviewing it.

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While each floor doesn’t have a boss, there’s a bunch of them spread throughout the hotel. Each and every one is a delight, looking entirely unique from the others and armed with distinct attack patterns. These were easily a highlight of Luigi’s Mansion 3, and even when I was irritated by some, I still enjoyed fighting them. Though I will suggest you purchase a Gold Bone before each boss fight, since that will let Polterpup revive you if you’re defeated, which happened to me plenty. A few examples of my favorite boss fights were Captain Fishook, a pirate shark that possesses a galleon to try and devour you; King MacFrights, who rushes about a stadium forcing you to stun him and rip his armor away; and Dr. Potter, a twisted gardener who fights you with a ghostly Venus flytrap. Even some of the more annoying fights, such as Clem, a hillbilly water maintenance ghost who fights you atop rubber duckies in a spike lined pool, was worth my time, despite how difficult that battle was. There’s just a ton of personality and creativity on display here, and I’m very happy the usual action was punctuated by these challenging battles.

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When you aren’t fighting bosses in Luigi’s Mansion 3, you’ll spend a lot of time wandering, sucking up ghosts and solving several puzzles. I liked the general flow of things, except when I got totally flummoxed by the occasional head scratcher. Most aren’t that tough, but the first truly difficult one takes place on a movie set. Solving it requires using a bunch of TVs that teleport you to different sets and grabbing items from each. What wasn’t clear to me was that I could hold onto items while teleporting, which was key to getting past the puzzle. Thankfully, I found a solution thanks to the fine folks at Gamers Heroes, but sadly that wasn’t the only time I got stuck. I also got very stuck in the trap-filled pyramid, as well as in a dance hall filled with a ghostly dance troupe. Each of these areas were doubly frustrating since the hints from E. Gadd I received didn’t do enough to dispel my confusion. Thankfully, I wouldn’t say this sort of roadblock was the norm, and generally I got through the Last Resort at a pretty quick clip. My favorite puzzles generally involved clever uses of Gooigi to explore in areas Luigi couldn’t reach, traveling via grates to hidden areas and squishing through spikes. And there’s even a series of cool puzzles in the boiler room that involves water pipes, Luigi, Gooigi and a rubber ducky float.

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More Haunting Fun on Page 2 ->

About Josh Speer

Josh is a passionate gamer, finding time to clock in around 30-40 hours of gaming a week. He discovered Operation Rainfall while avidly following the localization of the Big 3 Wii RPGs. He enjoys SHMUPS, Platformers, RPGs, Roguelikes and the occasional Fighter. He’s also an unashamedly giant Mega Man fan, having played the series since he was eight. As Head Editor and Review Manager, he spends far too much time editing reviews and random articles. In his limited spare time he devours indies whole and anticipates the release of quirky, unpredictable and innovative games.

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