Paige FTW: Luigi Knows His Niche

My favorite Mario brother has always been Luigi. Mario always gets all the glory, you know? And Luigi is stuck as the eternal Player Two — or worse, a background character (as he was in Super Mario Odyssey).

But Luigi has his little franchise in Luigi’s Mansion, where Luigi spends his entire time being scared and vacuuming ghosts (and copious, honestly gratuitous amounts of money). It’s a weird niche, but hey! It works.

I finally got around to playing Luigi’s Mansion 3, the Nintendo Switch installment of the series. (I should note that I never played Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, the second installment on 3DS.)

The formula is largely the same: Luigi, Mario and Peach (plus a small legion of Toads) get invited to stay at a luxury hotel. At night, the hotel reveals itself as haunted, and King Boo is behind it. Luigi alone must vacuum ghosts and save the day, with the help of Professor E. Gadd and Polterpup … and Gooigi, a slime version of Luigi who can slip through small cracks but is allergic to water.

The Poltergust G-00 largely retains its abilities from the last two games, with a few new features that add a tiny but necessary bit of strategy and variety to gameplay, which is … also the same as always (you vacuum everything in sight to collect money and fight ghosts in between collecting money).

So, if everything is largely the same, why play it?

There’s just something about Luigi’s Mansion that is … comforting. There is no platforming frustration (though some of the bosses randomly spike in difficulty). There is the quiet lull of neatly exploring every room, cleaning it out and delighting when the lights come on and you know it is safe. The stakes are low. Luigi’s wavering voice calling out for Mario is almost humorous. It is a horror game with no fear.

It’s almost therapeutic.