E3 2019: Luigi’s Mansion 3 is very simple, but also incredibly delightful

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With the Switch, Nintendo can reintroduce many of their great but unappreciated franchises to a new audience. It’s perhaps why re-releases of games like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker have found new life on the console, after being relegated to hardware that hardly captivated mass audiences. It’s part of the reason why sequels to established franchises can feel so fresh, and Luigi’s Mansion 3 is no exception. There are small refinements here and there, but so far this sequel looks and feels like more of what made the previous two titles so great and a perfect starting point for those unfamiliar with it.

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It’s easy to think of Luigi’s Mansion as Nintendo’s own version of Ghostbusters, especially when it comes done to taking out ghoulish enemies. These small skirmishes require a few steps for success. You’ll first have to blind a ghost using your flashlight, with a charged emission stunning them for longer and increasing the score for catching them. You then need to get in close and start sucking them in, pulling away in the opposite direction to their movement as they hastily scurry around to try and break free. Fill up a meter and just like that you’ve caught yourself a ghost.

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That small but satisfying exchange should be familiar to you if you’ve played the previous two entries, but it’s slightly added upon here. After successfully trapping a ghost, you can swing it around and slam it on the ground multiple times, stunning any other enemies caught in this area of effect attack. What this effectively lets you do is string together ghost captures in quick successions, especially if you maneuver yourself around the small confined spaces each level is made up of. It feels great to hop from on stunned foe to the next after catching them all off-guard in the right order, exponentially increasing the score you attain from each of them too.

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When you’re not exorcising ghosts, Luigi’s Mansion 3 paints its individual rooms with a brush full of creative little puzzles. They can be as simple as noticing differences in your surroundings to signpost a hidden room behind a crumbling wall, or simple shifts in the camera perspective that can hide doorways in plain sight.

The more interesting puzzles are the ones that involve Luigi’s new green and jelly-like companion, Gooigi. You can summon Gooigi at any time (and if playing with a friend, control both respectively too) and use him to solve multi-step puzzles. In one instance I needed to reach a switch to activate a nearby lift, which was surrounded by deadly spikes that Luigi can’t traverse. Gooigi and is abnormal form could though, which made for a straight-forward but charming solution that introduced Gooigi in a fun way. Later, I was forced to switch back and forth between the two characters to navigate a series of wind-powered lifts, which were also connected to some more challenging collectible hunts that pepper each of the Mansion’s stages.

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Like many of Nintendo’s properties, there’s a strong emphasis on how their games make you feel when playing them, which is sometimes used to mask what can be construed as simple mechanics. Luigi’s Mansion 3 could certainly feature more devious puzzles as you rise the floors on its multi-faceted world, but this demo wasn’t about that. Instead, it was just delightful to control Luigi as he quivered in fear before an enemy before heroically standing up to them in triumph, while also providing many grin-worthy victories in simple puzzle solving. I left Luigi’s Mansion 3 excited for more of those pockets of joy, which Nintendo promises will be out before the end of this year. I can only hope that’s true.

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Last Updated: June 13, 2019

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