Luigi's Mansion 3: Critical Consensus
Reviewers welcome plumber brother's latest adventure on Switch as a charming frightfest
While these review round-up articles are called Critical Consensus, the goal is often to represent the spectrum of responses to a game with snippets of ovation and opprobrium from various writers. That's a little difficult for this week's release of Luigi's Mansion 3 on the Switch, as the critics are largely on the same page about the Next Level Games-developed sequel.
Video Games Chronicle's Andy Robinson broke out the site's top rating for the game, giving it five stars out of five.
"Luigi's Mansion 3 is a visually stunning and thoroughly entertaining adventure that proves the wimpy plumber can hold his own," Robinson raved.
On the other end of the spectrum is The Washington Post's Christopher Byrd. As of this writing, Byrd's review is the lowest on Metacritic with a 70 out of 100. So what does the most negative review sound like?
"Luigi's Mansion 3 is my kind of haunted house -- a place that's more funny than scary," Byrd wrote. "For anyone who likes Nintendo games of the Mushroom Kingdom variety there are many reasons to book a stay."
Luigi's Mansion 3 is a follow-up to a GameCube launch title and a 3DS sequel that featured the emerald-clad plumber exploring and exorcizing a handful of haunted houses with the help of the Poltergust ghost-sucking vacuum, but this time around the venue is a hotel with more than a dozen (sometimes elaborately themed) floors.
"[Gooigi is] quietly terrifying -- a living Haribo man, barely sentient, unable to move unless being controlled by someone else -- and yet he is frequently part of the game's most testing puzzles"Tom Phillips
In giving the game a Recommended rating, Eurogamer's Tom Phillips said the setting is a divergence from the series standard, but one that "keeps the same spirit" (pun intended, we assume given the outlet).
"Part of me still yearns for those dusty carpets of the first Luigi's Mansion -- the near pitch-black corridors, the fumbling around in the dark," Phillips said. "This third entry, by contrast, feels more like Luigi has left the haunted house and gained free reign around the neighbouring theme park. But what a theme park. It's left me excited to see where the series goes next."
USgamer's Nadia Oxford was similarly taken with the hotel in giving the game four stars out of five, saying, "Things start off normally with visits to standard hotel rooms and banquet halls, but the closer Luigi creeps to King Boo, the weirder things get... On one hand, I don't know how a whole-ass pyramid -- complete with poison arrows, snakes, and piles of sand -- wound up inside a hotel. On the other hand, the ever-changing scenery in Luigi's Mansion 3 makes it easy to appreciate the younger Mario brother's new techniques."
While Luigi can still use the vacuum to fling ghosts around and explore the environment to suck the loose change from the couch cushions (and everything else), he also gains the ability to create a gelatinous doppleganger named Gooigi that can pass through grates and bars but finds puddles of water to be an impassable barrier.
"He's quietly terrifying -- a living Haribo man, barely sentient, unable to move unless being controlled by someone else -- and yet he is frequently part of the game's most testing puzzles," Phillips said.
Polygon's Chelsea Stark said in her unscored review that the tools the game gives players are for the most part simple, but the game makes the most of them.
"Depending on whatever imaginative level I'm on, blowing air can also be used push carts on wheels, or to unfurl a large leaf for Luigi to walk across," Stark said. "A burst of air can open the service counter so I can sneak behind the front desk. There always seemed to be a hidden object (or ghost!) to uncover with my Dark Light."
IGN's Ryan McCaffrey was similarly impressed with the game's ability to remix its core gameplay into new challenges in his 8.3 out of 10 review.
"My favorite thing about Luigi's Mansion 3 is how it never keeps you doing the same thing for very long," McCaffrey said. "There may only be a small handful of overall ghost types, but thanks to the environments they battle you in and oftentimes their accessories, you're constantly forced to tweak your strategy for how to make them vulnerable so you can suck them up, slam them around the room, and capture them."
Despite the praise, it was common for reviewers to mention some deficits in the game. Phillips ran into some progression-halting bugs, while McCaffrey noted that for all the money players find throughout the game's levels, there aren't many interesting things to spend it on. Oxford and other reviewers noted the game's fixed camera and at-times clunky controls as sore spots, while Stark found some of the boss fights a bit tedious.
The exact nature of the complaints differed, but whatever the complaint, the reviewers portrayed them as minor blemishes rather than deal-breakers.
As Oxford said, "Luigi's Mansion 3 occasionally suffers because of its fixed camera and a ghastly boss fight here and there, but the 'goo' overwhelms the bad in this haunting adventure."