Hands on With Luigi's Mansion 3: What We Learned at E3

After a morning of exhilarating game announcements from Nintendo at E3, the first I got to play with my own two hands at this year's expo was Luigi's Mansion 3.

Yet again, Luigi is back with his Poltergust vacuum to prowl haunted houses and suck up ghostly villains, but things will be a little bit different this time around. The game releases by the end of the year, but what will it entail? Here are the most notable things I observed during my 20 minutes or so playing:

The Mansions Are Getting an Upgrade

The first Luigi's Mansion took place in one massive and expansive estate. Essentially the theme of the entire game was "big, fancy house," which worked really well for that title. The second game threw players in and out of various haunted houses, and though each layout was different, essentially it was the same style in a slightly different package.

I only got to spend a short time with Luigi's Mansion 3, but it's already clear that this game is trying to push the limits and do something that feels new while still being a true Luigi's Mansion title. The demo level isn't any old haunted house, but instead a haunted castle. It's the same premise but with a fresh, innovative approach. The level is made of great stone rooms filled with ghosts toting ancient swords and shields, and it even has a ghostly Scottish king with a crown, big red beard and kilt.


(Luigi's Mansion 3 via Nintendo)

But this fortress isn't the only area with a new look and feel. The entire play area was dressed with a spooky hotel theme, and the Nintendo employees leading the demos all wore bellhop outfits. With a lot of the game's plot focusing around a spooky hotel (and the inclusion of the multiplayer ScareScraper level), it was awesome to see it come to life.


(Luigi's Mansion 3 via Nintendo)


There Are a Couple of New Moves in the Mix

If you've played a Luigi's Mansion tile before, the third game will instantly feel comfortable and familiar. You can still suck stuff up or blow out air with your vacuum, as well as flash your flashlight to stun ghosts, whether it's the normal light, a charged strobe or the secret-finding black light. As always, you'll want to interact with everything, because you never know where secret cash or hearts might be hiding.

But there are some new abilities mixed in, too. A new Suction Shot move allows Luigi to toss a sticky plunger onto obstacles or enemies, making them vulnerable to getting vacuumed up. This time around, when you're battling ghosts and sucking them up with a vacuum, you can also press a button to slam them around like a ragdoll, causing damage and potentially hurting any other enemies in their path.


(Luigi's Mansion 3 via Nintendo)

And then,  there's Gooigi, who is a talking point all on his own.


Gooigi Is a Game Changer

Initially, I thought Gooigi would just be a character for co-op mode, making the game easier for anyone who wanted to play with a friend. It turns out he's actually integral to the game. This green, liquid version of the character exists thanks to the latest version of the Poltergust. With the press of a button, you can summon Gooigi and take control of him, swapping between Luigi and Gooigi, in order to multitask and accomplish different responsibilities.

Gooigi is essential because he can walk through spikes or grates without taking damage. However, he only has a quarter of Luigi's health, so you have to toggle wisely between the two. If there's ever something you can't quite do on your own, you may need to split up. Maybe you'll need to blow on a fan to raise and lower an elevator while the other character gets in, or cross a floor of spikes with Gooigi and then hold on to a lever that retracts the spikes so Luigi can pass. His inclusion makes the levels way more dynamic and requires an extra layer or thinking that give this game huge potential for fun, and well as for some truly devious puzzles.


(Luigi's Mansion 3 via Nintendo)


The Boss Battles Make You Think

At the end of the demo, the ghostly king himself challenges you to a battle in a stadium packed with onlookers. He dons a giant suit of armor and rides a shielded ghost horse, charging at the player in a joust. Beating him required dodging his horse and shining a strong strobe beam at him just as he charged at me. Only then did he drop his guard, allowing me to throw a plunger at his shield. After sucking it up, he became defenseless and could finally be attacked, and after three hits blasts from my vacuum, his armor fell away and he could finally be fought head-on, gaining even more tricks up his sleeve with his faster movements. If he's any example of what players have in store for them with the rest of the game, we have a lot of good stuff to look forward to.


(Luigi's Mansion 3 via Nintendo)


Polterpup Is Back!

Polterpup is back in Luigi's Mansion 3, and he's cuter than ever. In the demo, Polterpup taught me all of the game's basics, including some new moves. Though I'm not sure he'll be in the final game in the same capacity, he's always a welcome sight, and I hope he someday becomes a staple even outside the Luigi's Mansion series.


(Luigi's Mansion 3 via Nintendo)


If you're like me and can't stand games that are way too scary, click HERE for a list of our favorite games that are only slightly spooky.