Every new room in a horror game sends my heart into my throat. Every tiny movement could possibly be something waiting to jump out and grab me. My imagination can often be more vivid – and terrifying – than any actual monster I conclude facing.

In Luigi’s case, the ghosts haunting him in Luigi’s Mansion 3 are very real. His panicked muttering as he turns a doorknob, and his habit of jumping at every little bump in the night time, are justified. He never becomes less terrified, even while he clears floor after floor of ghosts in a haunted hotel.

That is our scaredy-cat hero’s best adventure yet, and it’s made better still by just just how much he dislikes being onto it.

Luigi and his friends – Mario, Peach, and three Toads – reach a gleaming hotel with the promise of a soothing vacation. (Haven’t they been fooled by this trick before?) The hotel doesn’t take long to reveal its haunted side, trapping everyone except Luigi in paintings, and forcing him reluctantly on the rescue just as before.

The premise isn’t accurately new. It’s been almost all of the decade since Luigi’s last spooky foray on the Nintendo 3DS, and the series’ well-defined style has been elevated by the excess power of the Switch. Every hotel floor in Luigi’s Mansion 3 brims with detail, and environmentally friendly lighting is merely atmospheric enough to fully capture the haunted vibe without leaving me to fumble through the dark.

Ghosts fill the area with an otherworldly glow every time they appear. I live for each and every single cinematic, which felt like they might have been snippets from a beautifully animated movie starring Luigi and his ghost dog, Polterpup. It’s another prime exemplory case of Nintendo’s capability to make its games sing on hardware that is commonly much less powerful compared to the competition.

Following the hotel’s spooky transformation, all its elevator buttons get snatched away by its spectral occupants, and Luigi must go floor by floor to find each one by beating that floor’s boss. The paintings are scattered through the hotel too, therefore i eventually see them and rescue trapped Professor E. Gadd, inventor of all ghost-battling technology, and a small number of Toads while making my way to the most notable.

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon for 3DS started equally strong for me personally, but my interest flagged after a couple of hours as a result of often repetitive nature of the overall game. Developer Next Level Games never stops surprising me. Each one of the hotel’s 15 floors (plus two basement levels) is remarkably not the same as the prior one. There are levels you may be prepared to find in an extravagance hotel (shops, a gym, and a plush music venue), and wild flights of fancy that stretch far beyond just what a single floor should contain (one level includes a pyramid packed with traps, and a pirate ship docked in a complete harbor is somehow tucked in to the middle of the building).

Luigi uses a lot of the same tools from previous Luigi’s Mansion games. His Poltergust, a backpack with vacuum pressure cleaner attachment, can suck up just about anything: trash, sand, or ghosts. It could rip curtains from walls or spin large valves to improve water levels. Reversing the flow of air allows me to blow things away, or shoot objects stuck in its craw at obstacles or enemies.

There’s also a suction cup I fire, then put on my vacuum therefore i can topple furniture or flip switches, an amped-up flashlight to stun ghosts, and a shimmery Dark Light whose beam reveals secrets when shone on them. Luigi is now able to also shoot a stream of air that operates much such as a butt stomp in past Mario games, allowing me to scatter enemies or knock things loose from the surroundings.

They are simple tools, but Luigi’s Mansion 3 never stops finding imaginative ways for me personally to use them. Based on whatever imaginative level I’m on, blowing air can even be used push carts on wheels, or even to unfurl a sizable leaf for Luigi to walk across. A burst of air can open the service counter therefore i can sneak behind leading desk. There always appeared to be a concealed object (or ghost!) to discover with my Dark Light.

Image: Nintendo via Polygon
The overall game even rewards my most chaotic instincts. I saw an enormous tuba and thought, “Does it make noise easily blow air through it?” Hell yes it did, but doing this also rewarded me with a shower of cash. It’s simple to gather plenty of in-game currency through the entire game, nonetheless it never stops being fun to hoover up every shiny coin, gold bar, or dollar bill twisting in the breeze.

I was also amazed at how often Gooigi – the dead-eyed, Jello Jiggler version of Luigi, who’s placed in his backpack – was necessary to puzzle solving and exploration. Gooigi can do everything Luigi can, except open doors or undertake even the slightest amount of water, so I’d often have to pop him out when Luigi was trapped by a ghost or maybe unable to reach a specific item. Gooigi includes a few extra powers aswell, including the capability to squish through a fence or down a drain. (Also, each of Gooigi’s noises are so deliciously squelchy that I loved hearing them every time I discharged him from his tank on my back.)

There are whole levels that require the human and goo to work in tandem, and in single-player mode I switch between them, leaving the other character in a weird, comical slump. (Co-op allows a new player to become listed on and just control Gooigi, but it’s a lopsided experience since he can’t open doors.)

Levels are short enough. One trip through rarely wears out its welcome, although game has some backtracking I came across pretty tedious. The breadth of puzzles means I never completely breezed through the hotel; each level also offers six colorful gems and a bonus Boo to look for. Every time I felt like I needed a change of pace after an extended level chocked with puzzles, I’d be met with a smaller floor, centered on the boss fight.

Among Luigi’s Mansion 3’s bosses is a shark ghost that infests a pirate ship, attacking Luigi from the deck.
And the bosses will be the most uneven part of Luigi’s Mansion 3. Some provide perfect amount of challenge, with imaginative twists on the “stun, vacuum, bash” formula I take advantage of on the standard enemy ghosts. The most captivating fights allowed me to stay active giving me things you can do to go the fight along, as the worst boss battles gave me little to accomplish. I’d dodge the enemy’s attacks until they finally dropped a bomb I possibly could shoot back, or they somehow got their weapon stuck in the bottom, and then be dislodged when i had attacked them.

But boss fights are a tiny sliver of the Luigi’s Mansion 3 experience. Each level is a complex onion of suggestions to peel back, layer by layer. Next Level Games continues its strong tradition of granting Luigi a lot more depth than his superstar older brother, regardless if he’s always doomed to keep getting scared for our enjoyment.