Plungers, Poltergusts and the paranormal make Luigi's Mansion 3 a Switch exclusive to treasure

luigis mansion 3 preview e3 2019

Nintendo is playing fast and loose with the definition of 'mansion' in Luigi's Mansion 3. Instead of a big spooky house, in the latest ghost-hunting series entry, our terrified chum will be exploring a hotel, with levels basically going from floor to floor, each ending with a spectral boss fight. He's lost his pals you see - Mario, Peach and some Toads - and they're somewhere in the hotel, but the buttons for the elevator are all missing. It's quite the predicament. 

But never fear, our good friend Luigi is here to help. Unlike the 3DS title Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, the levels play out as more of an exploration to find all the secrets and collectibles you'd expect to find on offer. The level I played at E3 2019 saw you collecting sword shaped gems, which were hidden in secret areas hidden behind panels, or accessible via hidden pathways. It makes a nice change for collectible hunters after Dark Moon had you repeating levels to get everything. Powerful golden ghosts tare back to collect again too, meaning there's alway an extra reason to keep poking around a room longer than you think you should. 

As for Luigi himself, yes he might still be terrified by every single spirit he sees, but boy does he have the moves. In a similar way to how you played Dark Moon, Luigi's main asset is his Poltergust, aka a handheld vacuum capable of sucking up spectres. You can suck or blow both ghosts, and other elements in the world - like making propellors spin to raise or lower lifts. You've also got a brand new ability to shoot a plunger from your Poltergust, which you can stick on various surfaces, or enemies. The plunger has a rope on the end that you can suck up with the Poltergust to pull on object - an enemy's shield, or a wall hiding a hidden gem, for example. Luigi's also got his trusted flashlight too of course because exploring a spooky space wouldn't be the same without it. 

Combat works the same as in the previous series: you need to stun ghosts with your flashlight, and then pull them into your Poltergust enough to allow you smash them repeatedly on the ground - or into objects, or other ghosts. Boss battles are a little more complicated, requiring some tactics like waiting for the moment the spook's face emerges from behind its protective shield in order to dazzle it with your torch. You control the latter using your right joystick, and Luigi with the left, and to be honest the controls take a bit of getting used to. The torch didn't feel very responsive to the angles I was pushing with the joystick. 

But, Luigi's new secret weapon is Gooigi. This green goopy version of Luigi is made from some kind of ghost 'goo', and has been moulded into Luigi's shape using his actual DNA material. Weird. That means Luigi and the colourfully named Gooigi share a special bond. You can call out Gooigi, who seems to be stored in a pouch below the Poltergust, with a quick double click of the right joystick. Switching to him then is just a case of a single tap, or another double tap to store him safely away again. Weirdly though, Luigi goes limp when you control Gooigi, but let's not even think about that too much.

Gooigi is all about getting into the places that Luigi can't. He can cross spikes, trigger platforms and more, all with the same abilities as Luigi. He's a built in player two, who can be controlled by a pal if you want, but part of the appeal of Luigi's Mansion 3 is to use him as part of the puzzle-solving level traversal yourself. It's a pretty clever little mechanic, and no doubt will evolve the higher you get up the hotel. 

There is a multiplayer mode coming to Luigi's Mansion 3 where up to eight players can explore what's known as the Scarescraper. You need to complete challenges as you move up 10 floors of the hotel. Unfortunately it wasn't part of the E3 demo, but from everything I've seen so far, it looks like a fantastic addition to an already brilliantly spooky Switch exclusive.

Luigi's Mansion 3 is heading to Nintendo Switch sometime in 2019, release date still yet to be confirmed.