When it comes to the weekly chores, vacuuming is one of my most detested tasks. I also have an irrational fear of all things paranormal, so by all intents and purposes, a game that centres around the mechanically aided inhalation of spectral entities should be high on my list of 'games I will not touch'. Were it made for any console other than the Nintendo Switch, those words would probably ring true, but thankfully Luigi's Mansion 3 is a lighthearted, spooky romp that puts the focus on fun and humour instead, of the gory jump scare-laden fright-fests that seem so prevalent in gaming today.
Luigi's Mansion 3 sees you stepping into the boots of Mario's all too often over-shadowed brother Luigi. Following on from Mario's incredible Odysee, Luigi is here to steal back some of the limelight he so desperately deserves. After a brief introduction, you'll take over control of Luigi in all of his beautifully animated glory as you navigate your way through an all-new haunted hotel aptly called The Last Resort. It may not quite be a mansion, but this new location provides a tonne of diversity between floors and is stuffed with little secrets and interactable objects for players to suck, blow and destroy (just a typical weekend then huh?). As Luigi, you'll have to explore the hotel from top to bottom to rescue your friends and capture as many ghosts as you can.
The crux of the gameplay involves navigating the Hotels numerous floors (15 in total), dispatching the ghosts patrolling its halls and solving a bunch of excellent environmental puzzles along the way. Puzzles are the heart of the adventure, and they're handled wonderfully. Luigi's tool and skill set has been expanded for his third entry, with his handy vacuum serving to blow and suck (grow up) objects and ghosts, a plunger that can be shot and attached to things, a darklight scanner (for revealing ghost trails and hidden doors and objects) and Gooigi, a Flubber-like clone of Luigi that can either be controlled by you or a second player in co-op.
Gooigi can do everything Luigi can, so some puzzles may see you using both Luigi and Gooigi to fire the winch-like plunger at a heavy object that requires their combined strength to move it, or you may need Gooigi to squeeze through a grate to hit a switch so Luigi can move on. Another room may see you needing to pull a rope with Gooigi to open a door for Luigi. If you're playing on your own, it's as simple as swapping control between the two characters as you can lock either one in the action they are doing before swapping. This way when you swap to Luigi, Gooigi will stay holding the rope to keep the door open as you guide Luigi through,
It may not sound like an awful lot of abilities and items on paper, but Next Level Games has done a superb job of mixing up the puzzles and ensuring that many of them are just challenging enough to incite that satisfying feeling of accomplishment once you discover the solution. That said, if you are expecting some serious challenge, Luigi's Mansion 3 may not be for you as it is definitely aimed at the younger gamers out there.
The first things you're likely to notice upon booting the game up are the adorable graphics and fantastic animation. Luigi and the haunted hotels' inhabitants every move is gloriously animated and at times hilarious; if you don't so much as crack a smile as Luigi stiffens up and cowers when he gets frightened, I am sorry to break it to you, but you probably do not have a soul. The level of detail here is, at times, staggering. The game looks incredible in motion and is easily a contender for best looking Switch game this year. From the ridiculous amount of clutter that permeates every nook and cranny of the hotel to the memorable boss fights with characters that would look at home in a Pixar movie, the attention to detail is beyond impressive. There's just so much stuff squeezed into every room, that I found myself going through a location for the fourth or fifth time and I'd still notice something new.
Along with the games fun puzzles is the not so fun combat. This is where things get a bit dull when facing standard enemies. Most ghosts need to firstly be staggered with a flash of Luigi's light, which then leaves them open to being sucked into his vacuum. This is mixed up with ghosts that wear sunglasses or ghosts that carry shields, which require you to shoot them with the plunger first to take their defence away and then stagger them once they're open to attack. From there you just hold the suck button (not the one I've been pressing in life for thirty-odd years) until you're prompted to initiate a slam attack which depletes the ghost's health, leaving it incapable of escaping your cleaning vortex. The problem here is that it's just far too easy and every non-boss encounter boils down to following precisely the same routine. This is somewhat mitigated by boss battles that take advantage of Luigi's move set and tools. I genuinely enjoyed the vast majority of these boss encounters and particularly loved the ones that introduced new mechanics like sitting on a pool float and using the vacuum to push yourself across the water while avoiding hazards. It's a shame the core combat couldn't have been mixed up a bit as it does get a bit dull after several hours.
In the opening hour of the game, Luigi teams up with Professor E. Gadd, who will help you out with tips along the way. If you're ever unsure of what to do, you can also give him a call form the menu, and he'll put you on the right track. It's here you can also spend the thousands of coins you'll suck up along the way. The problem here is that there's just not anything of note to spend the coins on. You can either buy a gold bone that gives you a one-time resurrection upon death, a Boo finder which lets you locate one Boo on the floor of your choice by vibrating the joy-cons as you get closer to one. There's also the gem finder, which locates the hidden gems scattered across every floor. These purchasable items just felt mostly useless, and before unlocking the shop, I had hoped that I'd be spending the ludicrous amount of coins I had collected on something cool. Instead, they're just sitting in my inventory doing nothing.
The game also features a few mini-games for up to 8 players, but these feel unnecessary, and I can't ever see myself pulling it out at a party when the likes of Mario Party do a much better job of that. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Luigi's Mansion 3 despite the dull combat. The quality of the game's puzzles and the absolutely phenomenal animation and graphics more than make up for any of its shortfalls and if you were a fan of the first two entries, you're going to have a great time. Those hoping for the game to scratch the hard-core puzzle itch will find the game wanting as it falls on the more accessible side in that department.
Luigi's Mansion 3 is yet another excellent Nintendo exclusive and is the perfect antidote to the doom and gloom that runs rampant in the horror genre these days. It may not do everything perfectly, but from a technical side, I'm hard-pressed to think of a better-looking game on the Switch this year. It may not have the challenge some are looking for, but when the rest of the game is this wonderfully presented, it's hard not to just get sucked right along for the fun-filled, spooky adventure.
+ Puzzles are fun.
+ Lots of variety between floors of the hotel.
+ Perfect for younger gamers.
- Will be too easy for some.
- Currency is wasted.