While Mario may be the more recognisable of the two brothers, Luigi's adventures in Luigi's Mansion 3 make for a fun, diverting fall treat.
As with many Nintendo games, the opening is a prelude to calamity. Things are looking much too relaxed for Luigi, Mario, Princess Peach and the Toads when we set eyes on them on a radiant day. On a bus, they are bound for a hotel whose management has invited them to stay as VIPs. When they arrive at The Last Resort, they are dazzled by the golden hotel’s sparkling walls, high ceilings, and attractive furnishings.
Still, you’d think that if the place’s name didn’t give them pause, then the name of its owner would. But the crew pay little attention to Hellen Gravely, whose purplish skin recalls the Evil Queen’s attire in Disney’s Snow White. Following her suggestion that the celebrities of the Mushroom Kingdom retire to their individual rooms, Luigi stretches out on his bed, props open a book and immediately falls asleep.
In the middle of the night, Luigi awakens to the scream of Princess Peach. Shivering with fear, he gets out of bed and goes into the hallway, where his surroundings have undergone quite the metamorphosis. Wilted, thorny looking plants lay on the hallway tables along with candles and piles of skulls. Door frames and picture frames are askew and the walls are drably coloured and stained with age.
Near the lift, Luigi confronts Hellen Gravely, who is delighted to tell him that she, in cahoots with his old nemesis King Boo, has trapped his friends in picture frames. To avoid their fate, Luigi takes to his heels and runs back down the hallway, diving into a laundry shoot that deposits him in a hamper on the basement floor. Conveniently, on that same floor is a garage where he finds a Poltergust G-OO, the newest model in the line of ghost-vanquishing vacuum cleaners that have been a staple in the series.
Alas, Luigi can’t begin exploring other hotel floors because the buttons for the lift are missing. Only by systematically recovering them from the various ghosts who’ve pocketed them will he be able to rescue his friends.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 is chock full of silliness. There are newspaper-reading ghosts on toilets, a pesky phantom cat, and a number of cute bosses, such as Beethoven-ish looking apparition who, from the stage of a concert hall, sics dancers, chairs, and eventually his own grand piano on Luigi.
With the help of the Poltergust G-OO, Luigi can stun ghosts with a strobe light and suck them up with a nozzle that also has an air-propellant function. A black light on the device can detect ghosts that are hiding, as well as otherwise invisible objects. The Poltergust can also shoot a plunger with a rope attached to its end. This allows Luigi to do stuff like open locked wardrobe doors by shooting them with a plunger and using the suction feature to tug on the rope.
The Poltergust’s suction and air-propellent features are mapped to the controller’s triggers, while the strobe light, black light, and plunger are mapped to the face buttons. There were a couple of moments where this layout is a tad awkward. Using the plunger’s targeting reticule, for example, requires holding down Y on the controller. The reticle’s movement, however, is tied to the right thumbstick. Because of such quirks, you may sometimes find yourself holding the controller a little awkwardly.
Putting aside the rare need for contortions, the puzzles in Luigi’s Mansion 3 are quite good and make ingenious use of Luigi’s abilities. As Luigi ascends higher in the lift, the levels become more intricate.
Luigi’s Mansion’s 3 is the best kind of haunted house - a place that’s more funny than scary. For anyone who likes Nintendo games of the Mushroom Kingdom variety, there are many reasons to book a stay.