Luigi’s Mansion 3 review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Next Level Games
Medium: Digital/Cartridge
Players: 1-8
Online: Yes

Maybe it’s just because I have Ghostbusters on the brain, but the more I played of Luigi’s Mansion 3, the more I found myself comparing the two games. And, I mean, why not? Both involve hunting ghosts, both involving destroying all kinds of property, both take place (either entirely or in part) in a hotel. While they’re hardly carbon copies, they’re not not similar, either.

There’s one major difference, however: while Ghostbusters (the game, that is) hasn’t aged so well, Luigi’s Mansion is an absolute gem, one of the best experiences the Switch has to offer and easily one of my favourite games of the year.

There are one or two minor issues that can be addressed — and dismissed — right off the bat. The controls, for example, are occasionally a little awkward when you’re trying to focus Luigi’s flashlight on any specific object. Thankfully, that can quickly be fixed by enabling motion controls, so it’s just a matter of tilting your Switch — this marking the one and only time I’ve ever been grateful for motion controls. There’s also a brief moment whenever Luigi is in an elevator that the graphics don’t look as great as they do in the rest of the game. It’s not a massive difference, but it was something I noticed every single time I had Luigi in an elevator and I went through that de facto loading screen.

Other than that, though? Luigi’s Mansion 3 is absolutely phenomenal.

Some of this is because the formula is so simple, it’s incredibly easy to get sucked in. Luigi and friends visit a hotel that turns out to be haunted, said friends (Peach, Mario, and various Toads) get trapped by some nefarious plot, and Luigi has to free them all while trapping ghosts at the same time. And that’s it — you have clear motivations leading to a straightforward story, and you never get bogged down by stupid twists and turns. You’re there to capture ghosts, and the game never tries to get in your way.

That’s helped, of course, with controls that are incredibly easy to pick up (especially once you enable motion controls), and that, somehow, never get old despite the fact you’re basically doing the same thing — zap the ghosts with your flashlight, sucking them into your ghost-vacuum, and slamming them into the ground until they lose all their health — over and over again.

Another big plus to the game is the addition of Gooigi, a version of Luigi stored in his backpack made — as his name suggests — entirely of goo. With him, you’re able to walk through grates, arrows, and other environmental hazards and obstacles. More importantly, it always you to duplicate Luigi to deal with some particularly pesky challenges that require cooperation. As someone who only plays single-player (and who doesn’t even know anyone who’d be interested in taking advantage of Luigi’s Mansion 3’s multiplayer), this spoke to me.

Any discussion of Luigi’s Mansion 3 would also be incomplete without a discussion of the levels. There’s a nice variety to the different floors of the hotel here, with different themes that allow the game to stretch its conceit far beyond simply having Luigi exploring a haunted hotel. The game doesn’t bind itself to simply having hallways and rooms, and instead throws in things like an enormous greenhouse (for lack of a better description) with plants that rise for several floors, or a castle that comes complete with a battle arena. They all look great, too, with all the care, polish, and attention you’d expect from a Nintendo game.

And really, that’s what makes Luigi’s Mansion 3 so wonderful: it’s clear that a lot of care, polish, and attention went into making it. It looks fantastic, it plays even better, and it’s simply a joy to play from beginning to end.

Nintendo provided us with a Luigi’s Mansion Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A