‘Luigi’s Mansion 3’ Blows (And Sucks) The Other Two Away

'Luigi's Mansion 3' makes some subtle additions to the series that help it feel fresh.

Luigi's Mansion 3 review

Even in his own video game, Luigi isn’t your typical protagonist. He’s almost always shaking from fear, for one, or jumping at the slightest sound and movement. If a mouse touches him, he loses health. A mouse. And we can’t even pretend Luigi’s Mansion 3 is his first time at the rodeo.

Long anticipated, Luigi’s Mansion 3 builds upon what’s made this unlikely series — launching the GameCube and then established with a 3DS sequel — a cult-classic.

Bursting with character, this G-rated horror series somehow turns vacuuming ghosts into an engaging act, and Luigi’s Mansion 3 makes some subtle additions to the series that help it stay fresh, even for those who have been holding our green unlikely hero’s hand since 2001.

Ooky, Spooky And Slimy

When the original Luigi’s Mansion was released, it was seen as a powerhouse to prove the GameCube’s technical capabilities.

As Luigi went from room-to-room, his flashlight illuminated each individual item in a then-stunning use of light and shadow in games.

The ability to interact/suck in all of the objects in the room was impressive too, allowing for surprises to be hidden in every-other corner. Plus, it was a child-friendly ‘horror’ game that fed into the post Rare-platform lovers’ need to reach 100 percent completion: what’s not to love?

But Luigi’s Mansion 3 doesn’t rest on its laurels. While the game feels a little same-same at first, it soon adds in new, non-gimmicky elements that quietly evolve the series.

We start off with a slight variation on the usual story: Luigi and friends are invited to a hotel, which turns out to be a trap… by ghosts, and Luigi is the only one not-trapped in a painting! Who cares, really — the cutscenes are cute and at times genuinely funny, but it does slow things down.

By the hour or two mark, we’ve found the ‘PolterGust’ and on our way to rescuing friends one hotel floor at a time, unlocking new floors as bosses cough up the elevator buttons they’ve stolen.

After the first few levels, things get interesting: puzzles get more inventive, and each of the seventeen floors is distinct. Even at its spookiest, the mansion bursts with colour, detail and texture: it’s quietly pretty, showcasing world-building above its graphical achievements.  For some reason, this hotel has TV studios, in-built gardens, shopping centres and medieval jousting stadiums.

Even at its spookiest, the mansion bursts with colour, detail and texture: it’s quietly pretty, showcasing world-building above its graphical achievements.

We assume the workers all died and turned into ghosts when they had no guests visit. Evidently, it’s been a while, as the bosses, each having their own odd variations and tactics, have had time to stew on their methods.

Luigi’s updated his moves, too. A suction cup shot from the PolterGust adds another element of pulling to the environment and bosses. While it sounds small, the extra ability advances the puzzles to the next level.

But it’s the addition of Gooigi — yes, the controllable goo-version of Luigi — that’s the most welcome addition. Puzzles never over-rely on his ability to seep through grates or offer a second source of suction. Using him in tandem with Luigi both continually novel and rewarding, and removes the monotony of the game.

Luigi, A Capitalist Hero

Gold is everywhere in Luigi’s Mansion 3: you’ll find coins, bars and pearls in and around every second item. In some ways, the game’s inspired by point-and-click adventures — you’ll want to interact with every other item and object to the point of obsession.

You can’t really buy all that much with your hoard: PolterGust creator Professor E. Gadd is on hand with some superfluous items. Mostly though, you’ll just collect and collect with more enthusiasm than a boomer buying their 27th negative-geared property.

Each floor has a selection of hidden gems and money-loaded ghosts, too: where the constant money-grabbing could get a little tiresome, it remains endlessly intriguing to see what else you can destroy and throw around. Tricky, at times, too. Depending on how keen you are to explore, Luigi’s Mansion 3 offers 15-20 hours of gameplay, making it a decent size bigger than the others in the series.

You can invite friends to hustle, too: a new multi-player mode allows up to eight friends on one console, though we didn’t have time to test it out. We were too busy hoarding the treasure to ourselves.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 is out on the Nintendo Switch Thursday October 31.

Jared Richards is a staff writer at Junkee, and co-host of Sleepless In Sydney on FBi Radio. Follow him on Twitter.