Righto, we got round to digging on one of Nintendo’s lesser known series. This is a haunted house affair, with Luigi as the lead protagonist. Spooky!
Luigi’s Mansion 3
It’s important to point out how much of a sweet-natured horror game this is. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a charming affair packed full of brilliant moments.
The series began on the GameCube back in 2001 and was a surprise hit. Luigi has, after all, always been a jump behind his brother Mario.
Now, Nintendo didn’t develop this one. Instead it handed the project to Canadian developer Next Level Games, who is in Vancouver.
This approach isn’t unusual for Nintendo. It has so many projects it outsources some to worthy talents—Retro Studios is currently on Metroid Prime 4, for example.
Since 2014, Next Level Games has worked exclusively for Nintendo and the Japanese behemoth is set to purchase the studio in March 2021.
And with results like this, who can blame it?
Luigi’s Mansion 3 is officially an action-adventure game, where you romp around a haunted hotel trying to save Mario, Toad, and Princess Peach from the nefarious King Boo.
Obviously the “horror” element is tongue-in-cheek. The game is about as scary as eating a freshly baked cake.
The point of Luigi’s Mansion 3 is to provide puzzle solving, exploration, and sights to see.
As Luigi, you’re equipped with a kind of proton pack from Ghostbusters (the game takes a fair bit of inspiration from the film).
You use that to inhale ghosts and interact with the scenery. You’re helped along the way by genius scientist Professor E. Gadd, who fits you out with new tech as you advance through the hotel.
As a fun nod to Nintendo’s history, the Professor has a Virtual Boy (1995) invention for your in-game menu screen and map.
It’s all replete in red and black, the notorious colours of the Japanese developer’s failed handheld console.
The Professor also invents Gooigi, an ectoplasmic doppelgänger who can slop through the likes of metal rails Terminator 2 style.
As you move about the hotel you pick up lift floor buttons, enabling you to get to different areas of the hotel.
Whereupon you do battle with ghosts, explore locations, trash the environment with your proton pack thing, and generally lark about.
It’s quite a slow-paced game, but that’s the point. As you explore and unearth new areas you get a sort of Metroidvania style map development going on.
You can interact heavily with the environments as you go about, too, which is a lot of fun.
To complement Luigi’s Mansion 3’s stunning looks, there’s a neo-noir style jazzy soundtrack we have a lot of time for.
It actually reminds us of Space Station Silicon Valley’s (1998) soundtrack a little bit.
It kind of sits in the background subtly shimmering away, before building up at key moments.
Plus there are a few more orchestral/classical numbers on offer.
The below is from a boss you come up against called Amadeus Wolfgeis. A little nod to the legendary Mozart there.
The game was never going to be the Nintendo Switch’s main console selling title and Next Level Games was clearly aware of that.
If anything, it should be enjoyed as part of a group. Get your friends and family in to explore and enjoy the antics.
Which is why there’s a heavy leaning on multiplayer options and co-op.
Problems? The control system isn’t always ideal. Luigi has a lot of actions to perform and we found some aren’t possible to do without undertaking some dramatic hand movements.
The ghost battling system isn’t always riveting either, but the battles are quite short. As is the game—about seven hours.
For the price tag, that’s asking a bit much. Although we did get a £20 discount in a sale suggesting you should also wait for your local eShop discount.
Otherwise, we can very much recommend it! Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a different type of AAA game—concise, slow-paced, and meticulous.
But exploring the haunted hotel, uncovering new secrets, and basking in the overwhelming charm offensive it offers is very enjoyable. Boo!