Luigi’s Mansion 3 teaches an old plumber new tricks

Nintendo was repping a lot of their major franchises at E3 this year. We saw some Zelda with the upcoming remake of Link’s Awakening, got plenty of new info for Pokemon Sword & Shield, but for Nintendo fans with a little more sophisticated taste (and ladies, according to Nintendo), though, nothing hits quite the same as a new entry in the beloved Luigi’s Mansion series. After a quiet 3DS sequel that just managed to whet fans’ appetites, Nintendo is going full-steam ahead and putting Luigi’s Mansion 3 on the Nintendo Switch with new bosses, a new non-mansion locations, and a handful of new mechanics that make bustin’ feel oh so good.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 takes place in the mansion of tomorrow: a big hotel. Each floor of the sky-scraping structure has a different themes, from a film studio to greenhouses and even medieval coliseums, which is where our short demo took place. Luigi is tasked with making his way through the corridors of a gladiator arena in order to find his way to the main courtyard to face off with the ghastly ghost boss at the end of the level.

As before, you’ll be stunning ghosts with your flashlight and sucking them up with your trust Poltergust, but right away I was treated to a new feature that adds a fun little spin to the ghostbusting action. After vacuuming a ghost for a certain amount of time, pulling in the opposite direction to fill up a circle meter, before letting you tap the A button and slam the ghosts into the ground.

Tap away at the button and Luigi will swing his Poltergust hose around violently, smacking the ghost against the floor and wall and any destructible items in its path. You can repeatedly mash the button for rapid-fire slams, and even aim your attack in any direction you choose. It’s hilarious and satisfying, but it also helps add a little more agency to the action. Mastering the slam lets you clear rooms quicker than ever as you slam enemies into each other, or even manage to suck up multiple ghosts at once, and makes you feel even more in charge for doing so.

The one potential snag, depending on what kinds of games you’re used to, are with the controls. Coming from the GameCube and 3DS, you might feel right at home with how the game works, with the left stick moving Luigi around the 3D scene and the right stick then turning him a little like a tank. That was fine when playing in the early days of twin-stick controllers or with a little nubbin on the 3DS, but not so great if you’re more used to Super Stardust HD or other modern twin-stick shooters. Thankfully there’s an option so you can switch to that method of control in Luigi’s Mansion 3, and with extra shoulder buttons at your disposal, you won’t have to remove your thumb to tap any face buttons if you don’t want to.

Perfect for a plumber, Luigi also has a new plunger in his arsenal, but he’s not using it to clear any blocked toilets. Instead it’s great for shooting at things and then suctioning the rope on the end to break apart barrels and other things in the world. Some ghosts, given the medieval setting, come at you with shields that you first need to suction before you can stun them and start slamming them around!

Slamming spirits and plunging aren’t the only new abilities that Luigi has picked up, though. Our guru in green can summon an even greener ally, in the form of an ectoplasmic Luigi doppelganger named Gooigi. A simple button press has Gooigi slide out of Luigi’s backpack at any time, leaving whichever version of the taller plumber in a dazed stupor. Alternatively, hand a Joy-Con to a second player and you’ve instantly got the game in co-op.

There’s good reason to swap to the gloopier one, as he can’t be hurt by floor spikes and so can simply walk through to a treasure chest on the other side. His existence also opens up some puzzles where you need to be in two places at once, to open a door you need to walk through or operate a crank. As soon as Luigi walks through a door, Gooigi is sucked back into his Poltergust and you can be on your way.

My time with Luigi’s Mansion 3 was brief, but what I saw was incredibly special. The sharpness of the visuals combined with the unique new mechanics are an absolute treat, and the promise of further multiplayer modes and a bevy of new bosses has got me incredibly excited. The Year of Luigi may have long passed, but Luigi’s Mansion 3 proves that the ghostbuster in green ain’t done yet.

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I'm a writer, voice actor, and 3D artist living la vida loca in New York City. I'm into a pretty wide variety of games, and shows, and films, and music, and comics and anime. Anime and video games are my biggest vice, though, so feel free to talk to me about those. Bury me with my money.