Confession: I have never played a Luigi’s Mansion game before. This is one of the reasons why having the opportunity to play Luigi’s Mansion 3 at E3 2019 was such a delight. It was a brand new experience. Given the setup of Nintendo’s booth, Luigi’s Mansion 3 was definitely the game that they wanted to showcase this year, and it worked. The booth for Luigi’s Mansion was the best Nintendo had to offer. This translated to the game itself. Of all the Nintendo games I played, I was most surprised by Luigi’s Mansion 3. Luigi always plays second fiddle to Mario, but growing up, he was always the character I wanted to play as in Super Mario World. Low and behold, he has his own franchise, and Luigi’s Mansion has the potential to surpass Super Mario Odyssey. Maybe not in terms of critical acclaim, but definitely in terms of enjoyment. Everybody knew that Link’s Awakening and Pokemon Sword and Shield would be great, but Luigi’s Mansion 3 was Nintendo’s surprise game of the show, by far. Luigi’s Mansion 3 Preview: A Haunted Hotel The starting place in our demo. In Luigi’s Mansion 3 you explore a haunted hotel full of ghosts, puzzles, and killer boss battles. The game is quasi-2D with a 3D perspective. The demo we played felt fairly linear, but it is unknown whether or not this will be the case in the final build, or as you progress through the game. Luigi is equipped with his handy flashlight, plungers, and a vacuum. All three of these are pertinent not only in combat but also for puzzle solving. Many of the rooms we traversed through felt very much like old-school Zelda — the doors were shut closed until all the enemies were defeated. This was a breath of fresh air, as an old-time Zelda player. There are so many different buttons to use during combat that it can get a bit confusing, but we’re sure that as you play the game more (we only had a 15-minute demo), the controls will become natural. Combat has never been so sweet against ghosts.. The ghosts we encountered required a multi-layered approach. First, we had to flash them with our flashlight, which temporarily stuns them. Then, we had to use our vacuum to try to suck them up. They struggle though. Pulling them back, and then eventually using the A button, will put you in a position to slam them into the ground and defeat them. It may sound complicated on paper, but it’s a lot of fun in practice. Later, you encounter ghosts with swords and shields. Sucking their shields away, first and foremost, is pertinent. After this, we followed the strategy we did with the original ghosts and had no problem. This is probably some of the simpler combat in the game, but it was a lot of fun. Gooigi and Puzzle Solving Meet Gooigi Puzzles are paramount in Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Gooigi plays a huge role in this. Gooigi can reach places Luigi can’t, by way of the fact that he can pass through solid objects, such as bars, or spikes on the ground. By pressing the right analog stick, you can summon Gooigi to help you solve puzzles and can switch back and forth between the two. It’s an interesting twist on a mechanic that’s been done many times before in video games, but Luigi’s Mansion 3 manages to keep it fresh. Gooigi can also take damage, so it’s important to summon him back to Luigi once you’re done with whatever task you’re having him partake in. Another twist on puzzle solving.. Throughout the demo, I wondered what Luigi’s plungers were for, as I couldn’t seem to find a use in combat for them. They are actually a puzzle-solving mechanic! You can first a plunger at a target and then use your vacuum to pull the plunger back in order to pull levers/switches/etc. It’s actually pretty clever. I’m a huge puzzle fanatic and from a puzzle-solving perspective, the moment I figured this out was the most rewarding moment I had in the demo. The Luigi’s Mansion 3 demo wasn’t overly difficult and most of it was puzzle solving, but once you reached the boss, all bets were off. It was pretty difficult and I actually ended up dying, which ended my demo. The boss himself was a puzzle though, so I imagine in a relaxed setting (i.e. not a rushed 15-minute demo) things would have gone much more smoothly. Luigi’s Mansion 3 Preview: Nintendo’s Holiday Title of 2019 While everyone may think Pokemon to be Nintendo’s big holiday title, it will be Luigi’s Mansion 3, which will probably release in December. It has one of Nintendo’s flagship characters, a charming premise, and will be one of the best puzzle games to hit the Nintendo Switch. It has everything; action, exploration, puzzle solving, and unique and difficult bosses. Nintendo showcased Luigi at E3 and hit it out of the park. It was more enjoyable than Pokemon. While Link’s Awakening is my most-anticipated Nintendo title this year, Luigi’s Mansion is my most-anticipated original title this year. The game has all the makings of a classic and with the right marketing campaign will undoubtedly be a success. Luigi may be unappreciated now, but come Holiday 2019, this will not be the case any longer.