In an E3 filled with some of my most anticipated Switch games including Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 and Pokemon Sword and Shield, I wasn’t expecting Luigi’s Mansion 3 to steal the show for me. But after 20 minutes with Nintendo’s charming, creative new ghostbusting adventure, I’m already aching to play more.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 follows the same core premise as previous games in the series — explore a haunted mansion, solve puzzles, find hidden secrets and suck up all manner of ghosts using your trusty Poltergust. The setup this time around is that Luigi, Mario, Peach and pals are on vacation in a fancy hotel, but the getaway quickly turns spooky as King Boo kidnaps Mario.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 introduces a variety of fun new tricks, like a satisfying slam move that lets you beat ghosts to the ground as well as the ability to break open barrels or remove enemy shields using a plunger. But the real game changer is the hilariously named Gooigi: a ghastly clone of Luigi that completely changes the way you navigate areas and solve puzzles.
In single player mode, Luigi can have Gooigi leave his body at any time, creating a sort of single player co-op experience in which you alternate between controlling each character. Why would you do this? Well, Gooigi can do things like walk through spikes and cages, allowing him to access areas Luigi typically can’t.
Solving environmental puzzles using Luigi’s and Gooigi’s unique skill sets was a ton of fun, providing lots satisfying a-ha moments every time I figured out how to advance. You can also use Gooigi in the game’s two player co-op mode, with player two controlling Luigi’s spectral other half. On top of the added layer of strategy that Gooigi brings, there's something both unsettling and hilarious about being able to play as a gooey, disembodied version of gaming's second-most-famous plumber.
Just as important, the actual Luigi-versus-ghosts action is still a blast. Catching ghosts requires strategy and timing (you have to stun them with your flashlight before sucking them up), and mashing the A button to knock them around the room or blow away their shields with a suction shot feels great. This tactical ghost-hunting especially shone during a boss fight, in which I had to wait for my ghost-knight opponent to drop his guard before I could stun him and eventually start sucking him up. It wasn’t soul-crushingly difficult, but it was surprisingly strategic for this kind of game.
On top of the single-player experience, the final game will have a multiplayer ScareScraper mode in which up to eight players race to complete objectives on a series of floors complete with their own unique challenges. The mode supports up to four Luigis and up to four Gooigis, and really, can you ever have enough Gooigis?
Before E3 2019, Luigi’s Mansion 3 was barely on my radar. Now, it’s one of my most anticipated games of the year. I look forward to spending more time getting down with Gooigi when Nintendo's spooky ghost adventure hits sometime this fall.
Be sure to follow our E3 2019 news hub all week long for the biggest reveals and impressions out of Los Angeles.
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Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.