Luigi’s Mansion 3 is looming for the Nintendo Switch sometime in 2019. In preparation, the GameCube classic responsible for starting it all is back. Luigi’s Mansion is now available for the Nintendo 3DS family of consoles.
Luigi’s Mansion Details
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Developer: Nintendo EAD, Grezzo
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
The real ghostbuster
In a twist straight out of a Shirley Jackson/Vincent Price Hollywood blockbuster, Luigi wins a mansion. Odd though—he doesn’t recall ever entering such a contest in the first place. Naturally chaos follows as it turns out Luigi’s new abode is a haven for the supernatural.
It gets even worse for poor Luigi—his brother Mario has gone missing within its halls as well. Now it’s up to everyone’s favourite player #2 to step into his first leading role. Luigi must brave a mansion full of ghosts to rescue Mario and get to the bottom of this uncanny mystery.
The right tools for the job
Luckily for Luigi, he isn’t alone on his quest. The eccentric scientist Professor E. Gadd also (coincidentally?) happens to be one the scene. With a keen interest in the paranormal himself, the Professor furnishes Luigi with the tools he needs to battle these malevolent spirits.
Arming himself with a flashlight and the “Poltergust 3000” (the world’s most powerful ghost-sucking vacuum), Luigi takes on the arduous task of eliminating his new mansion of supernatural squatters. Along the way the good professor will continue to support Luigi with further equipment and valuable information.
For best results, create some space
While sucking up ghosts in Luigi’s Mansion is surely satisfying, controlling the green-clad plumber is not. The game relies on either motion controls using the 3DS’ built-in gyroscope, or awkward use of the 2nd thumbstick.
While the motion controls actually work quite well, they aren’t always ideal for on-the-go gameplay. Like many 3DS users, I play on my daily commute. Unfortunately the motion controls rely too heavily on broad movement to be practical on a downtown train during rush hour.
Avoid analog if you can
This led me to rely more heavily on analog controls, which is generally my preference anyway. Sadly, these do not hold up for the Nintendo 3DS. The 2nd thumbstick moves awkwardly, and I was consistently struggling to aim.
I frequently went to aim my flashlight or weapon downward, only to find Luigi would not comply. I’m still not fully sure if my angle was off, or if the stick was simply non-responsive. This took some of the joy out of combat, especially the otherwise fun boss battles.
For these reasons, I suggest that the best way to play Luigi’s Mansion is by using the motion controls in an open area. It’s disappointing that Nintendo couldn’t make the analog controls work a little better on 3DS though.
Fun with a friend
One of the biggest updates hitting Luigi’s Mansion for its 3DS debut is the addition of multiplayer. With the perennial second plumber already occupying the first slot, Nintendo introduces “Gooigi” to be your partner in crime. Your co-op partner gets to control this gelatinous-looking green doppelganger as you hunt down ghosts together.
Keep in mind that for some multiplayer modes, both players need to have their own copy of Luigi’s Mansion. If both you and a friend are sporting your own cartridge or digital download, you can play the main story campaign in co-op mode. You can also battle for the best time in the competitive “Portrait Ghosts” mode.
If there is only one copy of Luigi’s Mansion between the two of you, the 2nd player can join via download play. Here you can still enjoy Portrait Ghosts mode, or simply try out the game’s training features together. Unfortunately the main story campaign is off the table in this configuration.
Luigi’s Mansion isn’t a particularly difficult challenge. Outside of its somewhat clumsy controls, it’s pretty easy to master the loop of busting ghosts. However if you do find yourself in a struggle, a few Amiibo can give that bit of an extra boost.
Amiibo support does seem to be limited to characters who actually appear in the game though. The Boo Amiibo will reveal the location of a few Boos who are still running loose. Mario turns poison mushrooms to super mushrooms, and Luigi lights up hiding places for regular ghosts.
Health-wise the Luigi Amiibo also grants you a chance for revival if your health hits zero. You can try to avoid this by using the Toad Amiibo however. After scanning Toad you’ll be able to visit him anywhere in the game to have your health restored.
A matter of time
Luigi’s Mansion’s as you might be familiar with in other titles that feature his famous brother. There is a healthy chunk of fun gameplay, but the campaign can be completed by most in 6 – 10 hours. There are a few supplemental modes as well, such as the previously mentioned Ghost Portrait time attack mode—but overall the content is still a bit on the light side compared to most Nintendo offerings.
It may have been nice to see Nintendo try and bolster this re-release with some new levels or campaign content. Then again, without also developing some new mechanics as well, more content may have just weighed the game down. Perhaps Luigi’s Mansion is better off as a slice of nostalgia enjoyable in its brevity.
Book your return to Luigi’s Mansion
Luigi’s Mansion was the most successful launch title on the Nintendo Gamecube, and while it doesn’t translate perfectly to the 3DS, it’s still a fun throwback. It’s exciting to know that the series will carry on to the Nintendo Switch. I can’t wait to see what modern mechanics are incorporated to bring the series into this generation.
Nintendo could have put a bit more effort into updating the control scheme. That said, the motion controls are enjoyable if that’s your handheld style. It may not be the most content-packed entry in the Mario universe either, but its brief campaign make a fun replay (or first time introduction to new players) in anticipation for the series’ impending debut on Nintendo Switch.
+ The addition of multiplayer
+ Amiibo support
+ Motion controls
+ Nostalgic port of Luigi’s first starring role
– Poor analog controls
– Minimal content compared to similar Nintendo titles
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF LUIGI’S MANSION
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3/5