Luigi’s Mansion 3 Could Be the Switch’s Surprise Slam-Dunk of 2019

While Luigi has often played second fiddle to his more popular brother, Luigi’s Mansion gave him his own starring role, even if as a series it’s not likely to be counted among Nintendo’s all-time greats.

After the Switch’s first two years have given us Super Mario Odyssey and Super Smash Bros Ultimate as the respective big holiday titles, Luigi’s Mansion 3 might seem like an underdog of a follow-up.

That hasn’t stopped Nintendo from going big on production values, though. Before the demo even starts, I’m treated to a wonderfully animated cutscene. None of this CGI nonsense or the stilted text boxes you usually get, but all rendered in-engine. Luigi’s been given the same detailed texture upgrade to his clothing and moustache as Mario had for Odyssey, and it looks fantastic.

This introduces the new setting for Luigi’s Mansion 3. rather than an actual mansion, it’s a luxurious tower of a hotel where Mario and friends have been invited for a dream holiday. Obviously, you’d think by now that Luigi would clock that there’s something fishy – or rather spooky – about the whole set-up. Needless to say, he and his Poltergust vacuum are soon on the case.

While the gameplay of sucking up both pesky ghosts and plenty of money is still the order of things, it’s the new abilities Luigi has that really stand out.

First, there’s the added physicality of capturing ghosts. Besides just flashing the Strolbulb to stun ghosts before sucking them up, once you’ve grabbed them with your Poltergust you can now press A to slam them around, and even slam them into nearby ghosts. Smash fans may even notice that Luigi’s throw move has changed to a similar style in Smash Bros. Ultimate. It’s a hilariously slapstick move and I couldn’t help grabbing and slamming ghosts whenever the opportunity arose.

There’s also a Suction Shot where you can fire toilet plungers to stick at objects then pull them with your Poltergust. This becomes useful for breaking the front of large barrels that might be hiding juicy secrets inside, or also tackling some ghosts that will approach you with shields, requiring you to get those out of the way before you can capture them.

Perhaps the most peculiar highlight of Luigi’s Mansion 3 is Gooigi, Luigi’s green gooey doppelganger. You might have seen Gooigi appear in last year’s 3DS remake of Luigi’s Mansion, but was actually created for this third instalment. By sort-of transferring Luigi’s consciousness over to the sentient goop, you can take control of Gooigi, which is important for tackling certain puzzles, such as reaching areas you normally can’t. An early example in the demo is when your path is blocked by spikes on the ground – not a problem for Gooigi who, as a gooey mass that feels no pain, just passes right over them.

While I was only able to try a single-player demo of Luigi’s Mansion 3, it’s possible to pass a Joy-Con to play as Luigi and Gooigi together in local co-op. Much like Dark Moon on 3DS, Luigi’s Mansion 3 will also include online multiplayer. There’ll be a return of the randomly-generated ghost raid mode called Scarescraper, which will allow up to eight different coloured Luigis to play together.

With all the delightful extra features and some lavish production values, Luigi’s Mansion 3 has surprised me more than I expected. More than just a sideshow to the other big titles like Link’s Awakening or Pokémon Sword and Shield, it’s got what it takes to be the Switch’s spooky festive hit of the year.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 is set to release on Switch later this year. You can pre-order it right now.