Luigi’s Mansion 3 preview: goo-covered greatness

If this demo is anything to go by, Luigi's Mansion 3 will be a total hoot...

If you’ve never experienced Gooigi before, you’re in for a treat. A sense of unbridled admiration for Luigi’s slippery green clone was the main takeaway from Den Of Geek’s time with the 15-minute Luigi’s Mansion 3 demo, which we tried at Nintendo’s offices in Windsor last month.

Gooigi isn’t a completely fresh face, of course, with the 3DS remake of the original Luigi’s Mansion game having already had the privilege of introducing him. But here, in the hotly anticipated threequel that will launch on Nintendo Switch this year, the slimy duplicate of Mario’s brother is given so much room to steal the show. That is, of course, if this demo is a fair representation of what the full game will be like.

After all, judging a full game from 15 minutes of gameplay (which has surely been selected carefully and tailored for promo purposes) isn’t exactly a fool-proof system. But still, we thought you’d like to hear what we got to try in the demo and what we thought about it. So let’s get cracking…

The demo opens up with a cut scene, which shows Luigi asleep on a bus, surrounded by some of his iconic pals. He wakes up and is soon spooked. He thought he was going on a holiday, but he’s actually been lured to a creepy mansion that’s inhabited by ghosts (obvs).

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Then the demo offers a quick crash course on the controls, with the ghostly canine Polterpup encouraging the player to press certain buttons and see what they do. As in the previous games, Luigi is armed with a Proton-pack-like device named the Poltergust G-00, which can fire plungers, scoop up spectres and also expel air. It’s easy to learn these basics, but you might not immediately realise the full potential of your gear or your new pal Gooigi.

With the set-up and housekeeping completed, the demo chucks you into a level. You’re in a sort of medieval courtyard, and you’re confronted immediately by a crown-wearing bearded ghost that taunts Luigi and cackles ominously. The graphics in this intro look great, right down to the individual fibres in Luigi’s hat, but there’s not much time to think about that before the camera tilts and the gameplay begins.

Controlling Luigi is fun from the off, and it’s easy to feel for the character as he teeters around the screen with a real sense of nervousness. It’s also a bit funny, of course.

The camera swoops along as you open a door and progress into the first proper room, where you’re met by your first fightable adversaries. As in the previous games, you’ve got to flash your torch in the direction of a ghost to freeze it slightly. This allows you to try and scoop it up, but you’ll need to put distance between you and the spectre – before bashing it around a bit – to finish it off. These basic controls couldn’t be easier to learn, and there’s a good sense of weight as you whizz around the room, backing away from ghosts and trying your best to coax them into submission. So far, so fun, but also so familiar.

It’s when you go through the second room where things start to feel a bit more complicated and fresh. After going down a flight of stairs, you come to a wall of spikes that Luigi cannot pass. At the press of a button, though, you can summon Gooigi. Given that his physical form is so slimy, he can squeeze between the spikes with ease. It’s a bit like in a LEGO game, where you tactically change between characters to access different areas. This is a neat way of expanding the challenge element of the Luigi’s Mansion experience, giving you another thing to think about and work into your room-clearing plans.

Googi is a helpful aide, then, but his assistance does come with a catch. While you’re using Googi, regular Luigi is totally out of action, essentially asleep standing up. This leaves him vulnerable to attacks, so you’ll want to deploy Googi with caution. If you can get the timing right, it is quite fun to switch characters mid-battle and manoeuvre Gooigi into a position behind your opponent. He has all the same tricks as regular Luigi, so you can use Gooigi to take down enemies if you’re careful. This is another way in which this game seems to have properly expanded on its predecessors.

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Using a mix of Gooigi and gadgets, you eventually work your way through various challenging environments and into a boss battle. This is where you come face to face with the king ghost from the opening cut scene, who puts up a fight in a big way. In a sizeable open area, he comes at you on horseback with a jousting pole, forcing you to dodge repeatedly.

When you’re not avoiding the king’s attacks or the spears that come flying from the walls, you’ll have to pick your moment to flash the king with your torch. Once he’s stunned, you can use the Poltergust G-00 to dish out some damage. In classic platform-gaming fashion, you’ll need to go through the sequence of ‘dodge jousting attacks, dodge flying spears, stun the king, attack the king’ before you finally manage to defeat him and win the day. This brings you to the end of the demo, which rounds things off with another visually impressive nugget of a cut scene.

Although this was only a brief taste, Luigi’s Mansion 3 feels like a really fun experience. The graphics are a nice upgrade on the 3DS days, and Gooigi absolutely steals the show as well as opening up a lot of alternative gameplay options. Despite the level layouts and the boss battles seeming a bit familiar in their structure, this demo still had a really fresh feel to it. We look forward to playing more.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 will launch on an as-yet-unconfirmed date in 2019 for Nintendo Switch.