by Joseph “thepoorassgamer” Reyna
A funny, spooky adventure that sometimes controls terribly
I’ve never had the chance to play the Luigi’s Mansion series until LM3. To get it out of the way, no, you don’t need to have played the first two games. I have some buried memory of playing the first game on the Gamecube and generally hating it. So needless to say I didn’t have a good feeling about jumping into this latest edition. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a pretty stunning game; it’s mixed with some creative gameplay, wonderful humor, and some questionable control schemes. That may not sound like a resounding endorsement of this adventure but despite these issues, I throughly enjoyed my time with it.
In this third edition of the series, Luigi is back with friends Princess Peach, Mario and three Toads. We get the imagery of Toad driving a bus to the mansion to start the game so if that doesn’t sell you on this game I don’t know what will. Their destination is the Last Resort hotel which, upon arrival turns out to be an elaborate ruse to trap Luigi and his friends. The hotel’s owner, Hellen Gravely turns out to be working with our nemesis from previous games, King Boo. Luigi will team up with Professor E. Gadd and his gross little invention: Gooigi. Yup, Gadd has cloned a soulless, lifeless, gelatinous version of Luigi. Along with Gooigi, you will use the series trademark Poltergust vacuum to suck up and trap every ghost you encounter.
LM3 also supports both single-player and co-op gameplay for the main story. There are also the online multiplayer modes, ScareScraper and ScreamPark but I have no intention to review those modes. Quite frankly it does look like chaotic fun, but for the merits of how much more the story provides to this game, I’m judging it solely on that. This gets me to the biggest pill I had to swallow with this game: who is this actually made for?
I say this mainly as a recently turned 34 year old man in the world of Nintendo games that are more than ever, marketed to a younger generation. Now granted, the Super Mario series probably connects better with my generation than younger adults because we grew up on the series. But as the difficulty with the controls and boss sequences increased in this game, I keep coming back to it potentially being too hard for younger kids. Which is interesting because most of the traffic surrounding this game online show people playing with their kids or friends and players with limited gaming experience. It’s simple, but it also isn’t and that contrast is sometimes really harsh. This is a small gripe but as I discuss the dismal controls in some sections of this game I think you’ll understand why this is really important.
I will completely admit that there were sections of this game that I NEEDED another player to play with me in order to save me a ton of grief. I’m also a grown enough adult to say that yes, Luigi’s Mansion 3 challenged my patience and skills. Which takes me to a larger point: if this game is meant to be played single-player, I can promise you there are later boss battles that have to be played with a second player just to have some fun. Generally speaking, if my brother wasn’t joining me through most of the game, I probably wouldn’t have finished it. Namely, I would have stopped playing the game during the Helen Gravely boss battle.
The boss battle above shows two levels; both Luigi and Gooigi will need to avoid traps to defeat Gravely. I absolutely could not manage doing this part by myself. Keep in mind that when playing single player, using Gooigi causes Luigi to freeze in place. You activate this switch by pressing the R-stick. Imagine doing that multiple times during this part, managing both Luigi and Gooigi’s movements in addition to pulling switches and panels off the wall. Now my brother has only recently started playing games like this and I honestly felt bad for him because this was really difficult for me too. We traded between Gooigi and Luigi roles and after a few failures my frustrated brother snagged Gravely with most of the lasers still up and finished the battle. I am extremely appreciative of his help.
Finally the sequence in the image above occurs at about the mid-point of LM3 and is also a bad showcase for the controls. Luigi faces backwards in an inflatable duck which inverts the control directions for left and right. I can’t understand why this was done. The boss battle requires you to avoid the Mechanic while he swipes at you and eventually he gets dizzy. Luigi then needs to rush to his side and shoot him into the multiple spikes lined on the outside of the pool. I HATED THIS MOMENT SO MUCH. Whew, okay like most of the game I got through it and still enjoyed everything, so just prepare if you intend to play this game alone.
Now that I’ve trashed the controls I want to override all those thoughts you may currently have saying, “Why the hell should I play this game?”. Honestly the high quality visuals and the range of experiences you’ll have on every floor of Luigi’s Mansion is why I would recommend this game. It shines in providing a simple framework to showcase the joys of playing this methodic game. Every floor of Luigi’s Mansion transports you to a new and exciting theme. Pirates, Movie Theaters, Boiler rooms and Ball Rooms, OH MY! I simply loved the range this game had. And getting back to that, “who is this game for?” thought for a moment. Even though I was harsh, I’d still say that from kids and their parents to friends, to partners, and pretty much anyone that has a love for the Mushroom Kingdom will enjoy this game. It has that unique charm of most first party Nintendo games but stands alone as a completely different experience. Its exploratory and slower paced compared to the likes of Super Mario Odyssey. That factor makes it really charming.
So while this review was partly, “what are those dang kids playing these days?” I still definitely recommend Luigi’s Mansion 3. I had my qualms with the controls, and truth be told a lot of those issues stem from some difficult dual-stick choices, but I worked through it. I will leave you saying, find a friend, or literally anyone that would enjoy a spooky adventure with Luigi and have fun together. It’s a wonderful highlight to the start of fall.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 – Nintendo Switch
Release Date: Oct. 31, 2019
Published by Nintendo
Developed by Next Level
liked: A fun, spooky story perfectly fit for the fall season
disliked: somewhat unresponsive or finicky controls mostly occurring during boss battles
result: GIVE IT A SHOT!