I’ve always been a fan of Luigi. Ever since his high jumps nearly broke Super Mario Bros. 2. When I’d play Super Mario World alone, I’d start a two-player mode and kill off Mario so I could just play as Luigi.
So, golly, I was so on board with Luigi’s Mansion back when it dropped alongside the Gamecube in 2001. It’s not the most stellar game out there, but it’s a fantastic diversion and one that I didn’t think I’d see a sequel to. I was then surprised when, years later, Next Level Games developed a follow-up to that game that I thought was long forgotten. It’s less surprising that they’re returning to it again now that the series has established itself as a franchise, but, well, I’ll definitely take it.
Anyways, here’s the game that Next Level Games was working on instead of a new Super Mario Strikers.
It would be boring to be back in the haunted halls of a mansion again, so Luigi’s Mansion 3 instead transplants the adventure into the Last Resort hotel. Luigi and those other characters he associates with are all invited to spend a holiday there when a trap is sprung on them and everyone except the hyper-competent Luigi is captured and stuck into paintings.
The setup is a little deja vu, but it gets the job done.
Not long after his escape, Luigi comes across his old Poltergust ghost capturing equipment and meets up with his friend and tormentor, Professor E. Gadd, who works to equip him for the job and send him on his way. It’s then up to him to search every floor for the elevator button to the next floor and save his friends.
THE LAST RESORT
If it sounds like second verse same as the first, that’s because it largely is. Some new wrinkles, both big and small, are thrown in for good measure, but it adds up to the same game: you’re a spectral janitor and you must vacuum up all the bad ghosts floor by floor.
While some of the additions are smaller, like the requirement to slam ghosts into the floor to reduce their life enough and capture them, others are much more pronounced, such as the presence of Luigi’s gooey doppelganger, Gooigi.
Gooigi can be expelled from your Poultergust and used to solve certain puzzles that lie beyond a tight fit. You’re often required to separate from your viscous companion to complete tasks such as opening doors, and you can even partner up with him to pull obstacles. Again, it isn’t a substantial addition, but it is an appreciable change of pace.
On the other hand, it does detract from things one way: Luigi is no longer quite on his lonesome. There’s a bit of a loss to the “scaredy-cat overcoming fear” dynamic when there’s another character around. This is more pronounced when you have another character take over Gooigi in co-op mode. Whether or not you’re bothered by the addition will come down to personal taste.
NOT REALLY A MANSION
While the core gameplay remains the same, there’s a lot that’s been done to it to add a bit of variety to it and make it more than just “Luigi’s Mansion: Another One.” Each floor carries its own theme from ancient Egyptian pyramids to a TV studio. The puzzles all revolve around the theme, giving the floors their own flavour and challenges.
It’s a game that thrives on its situations. It leaves you guessing what you’re in for next and keeps things from getting stale. Boss battles are always entertaining, and I never came across one that I didn’t enjoy. Some are more forgettable than others to the point where I probably already can’t place a boss to each floor, but there are a few that immediately come to mind.
On the other hand, they still lack the personalities of the ghosts that inhabited the original Luigi’s Mansion. The format is different. Whereas in the original game, the ghosts were the puzzles, here, the puzzles just get you to the ghosts.
Not that the bosses are devoid of personality, it’s just that, well, do you remember how all the big ghosts in the first game had short little backstories to them, sometimes even going into how they died? Those were good times.
So, if you’ve played a Luigi’s Mansion game before, you know what you’re getting into. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it doesn’t take the series forward, but it also doesn’t take it back. If you’re into co-op, then that can certainly be a draw (after you unlock it about an hour in), but otherwise, it’s back to being a spectral janitor.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. For my money, it was an enjoyable ride that I’ll gladly revisit one day. It’s packed with all the personality that I was hoping for, and it didn’t let me down too badly in any particular area. Really, my only complaint is its complacency. There’s potential for the series to expand, but it’s happy to just tread the same old ground. The same basic premise and the same core mechanics.
If we do see Luigi’s Mansion again, I’m hoping for a new spin on it. A non-linear haunted village? A bit of business simulator mixed in for good measure? A plot where Luigi has to journey into the afterlife? There’s opportunity, but right now we’re just vacuuming the same old carpets.
This review was conducted on an original model Nintendo Switch using a cartridge copy of the game. It was paid for by the author.