It’s surprising how much effort went into Luigi’s Mansion 3‘s multiplayer, with the game boasting both offline-only party gameplay with ScreamPark, and the returning ScareScraper that allows for both local and online multiplayer. And of course, we have Gooigi in general, who returns from the Luigi’s Mansion remake on Nintendo 3DS to act as a Player 2 when you’re not playing alone.
Let’s first address Gooigi. In 2-player mode, Player 2 acts as Gooigi, allowing both Luigi and Gooigi to act at the same time. This makes puzzle-solving, especially in the second half of the game, much easier, and defeating ghosts becomes a lot quicker with a second competent person at the same time. Gooigi is essentially invincible, as it can regenerate health to its lower 25 Max HP, and even then you can just wait two seconds and respawn immediately.
However, the game isn’t really built for two-player, and we easily come across this in the early-game when it takes the first half an hour (or longer, depending on your friend) to even get Gooigi, meaning that I was just stuck there for that whole time for me to get something to do. Immediately after you get Gooigi is a floor where everything revolved around just using Gooigi, which meant Player 1 now had nothing to do. This was a theme that we ran into across the game, where when it came for us to do separate things, most of the time one person would just be waiting for the other person to finish up.
The camera also has some issues accommodating both players, mostly defaulting to following Luigi and respawning Gooigi nearby if I was too far away. This happened no matter what, and it would lead to annoying situations like Gold Ghosts being caught by me, and the vacuum spewing out coins when midway I’d be teleported to my friend, making us lose most of the reward.
There’s also ScreamPark, an assorted collection of three Mario Party-like minigames that have up to eight players in the same room play together as part of Team Luigi or Team Gooigi. There’s ‘Ghost Hunt’, which is a score-based game all about the core gameplay of sucking up ghosts. Then there’s ‘Cannon Barrage’, where you need to defeat ghosts and load up cannonballs they are holding in order to shoot down targets for points. Finally, we have ‘Coin Floating’, which has each team collecting coins floating around a pool.
That’s all good and dandy, but the problem is that nobody’s going to play Luigi’s Mansion 3 in such a situation. By default, you’re likely only inviting one person to play the main campaign with you, and these games aren’t enough to warrant booting up Luigi’s Mansion 3 just for them in that situation. For ‘Ghost Hunt’, I can imagine the nightmare of explaining the controls to four to six other players, while ‘Cannon Barrage’ and ‘Coin Floating’ get old quick.
Thankfully, we have the savior of Luigi’s Mansion 3 multiplayer – ScareScraper. Like in Luigi’s Mansion 2: Dark Moon, this is mainly online multiplayer, and has up to four Luigis clearing floors together under a time limit. Goals include sucking up ghosts, rescuing Toads, or even just coin collection as a bonus round; at the end, you face off against the returning Boolosus.
This is where multiplayer shines, as you aren’t chained to one screen. Just by opening up rooms, you are contributing to the cause, and and sucking up ghosts truly becomes a collaborative effort instead of Luigi and Gooigi stealing the ghosts from one another like in many parts of the main campaign. While I wasn’t able to complete every run, as there doesn’t seem to be a filter of sorts to be matched with other skilled players, it provided just as much fun as the main game, albeit thanks to other elements.
In the end, I’m left wondering if the resources spent on ScreamPark should have gone into ScareScraper – maybe more bosses, or room variations would go a long way to diversifying the mode more. At the very least, we have a somewhat decent two-player mode for the main campaign to fall back on.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 is available on Nintendo Switch.