Look, we’re just going to forget the Wii U existed. Mostly, anyway. It had some good games, but it also had plenty of not-so-good games. Now we’ve got the Switch, so we’re back in Nintendo fun times, and we can enjoy the opportunity to think back to other Nintendo fun times – case in point, the release of the GameCube back in 2001. It didn’t launch with a Mario game, can you believe that? It launched with his taller, buoyant bother Luigi instead! Brotherly loyalty aside, Luigi’s Mansion was a very nice-looking game for its time and introduced some unusual gameplay concepts.
Luigi’s off to a vacation! Those always go so well for the Mario brothers! This time they’ve been invited to stay at a high-class hotel, so Luigi, Mario, Princess Peach and the gang all show up ready for some well-earned R&R. After Super Mario Odyssey they definitely earned it. Naturally, vacations actually never go well for the mushroom crew, so everyone but Luigi gets sucked into cursed paintings after a surprise attack from King Boo. It’s up to our cowardly hero to save the day by ghostbusting yet again.
As he explores the hotel to find his lost friends, Luigi’s going to have to deal with things as only Luigi can. That means busting out a vacuum and sucking up everything in sight. This time it’s an evil ghost hotel, so you shouldn’t feel too bad about gobbling up linens, sucking down entire curtains and laying waste to everything in sight with your vacuum. You’ll also need to battle ghosts, of course, typically by sucking them up with the vacuum and giving them a little Ghostbusters: The Video Game-style percussive persuasion when they don’t cooperate. I’d argue that the real addictive part of this game is the absolute hilarity involved in the physics as you vacuum everything into a giant mess.
New to the series is Gooigi, a clone of our green-hatted hero who’s a little more green than usual. He’s also made of, well, goo, so he’s able to slip into areas that his more solid counterpart cannot as well as serving as a second target for more difficult ghosts. If you want, you can even make a coop partner play as Gooigi! While you’re at it, make them use the crappy third-party Switch controller. It’s your system, after all.
You’ll use your flashlight, vacuum and Jell-o buddy to explore the hotel and solve puzzles. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is fairly long at around 20 hours, so there’s plenty of ghostbusting to go around. The gameplay generally doesn’t change too much, but the depth of what you’re doing does; the hotel’s environments are varied and interesting and, in true Mario fashion, you never feel like Luigi’s Mansion 3 wears out its welcome. There’s even an online coop Scarescraper mode to check out.
Presentation-wise, this is a first-party Nintendo game from one of the company’s headline franchises on its superstar hybrid console. Yes, it absolutely looks great. And yes, it also sounds fantastic. I’m not really sure what else you’d expect. You should be even less surprised since, let’s be real here, the original Luigi’s Mansion was more half game, half “wow, look at how powerful the GameCube is!”
Let’s also be real, though, when we say that the Luigi’s Mansion games have managed to live up to their pedigree. These aren’t just tech demos. They’re full-fledged, colorful vacuum simulators that let you live your lifelong dream of being a housekeeper to the utmost. You also get to fight ghosts. After a few times through Super Mario Odyssey it might be time to let the other brother take the lead for a change. On that, Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a fully realized, fully beautiful and very playable ghostly puzzle romp with a few familiar friends; just don’t cross the streams.