Friday, December 27, 2019

Untitled Goose Game Review

If you’ve ever wanted to be the villain in a game, then this is the game for you. In Untitled Goose Game, you play as a vicious, merciless goose. There's no sugarcoating it. You're just a jerk. You're not protecting your nest, or defending yourself from people trying to make dinner out of you, you're just out to ruin people's day. You break their stuff, scare them, steal their keys and throw them down a well. You know, goose things. But Untitled Goose Game is more than just a meme gif generator, there's actually a game with objectives and rules here, and plenty of charm, of course.

Untitled Goose Game is a puzzle adventure game. It reminds of point and click adventures and games like Zelda. Your goal in the game is to torment humans. There are 5 small neighborhood areas in the game, and there's a laundry list of things to do in each one before you can move on to the next. All of your objectives have you pulling some kind of prank on a human. Sometimes your goal is clear and you can kind of stumble into completing objectives by messing around with stuff, but as the game goes on, your objectives become more puzzle-like and you have to come up with creative ways to complete them. For example, in the Garden area, you have to steal the groundskeeper's hat. But you can't reach that high, you're a goose. So you have to observe his routine and wait for the right opportunity to steal the hat, or maybe make him bend over by moving things around in the garden. There's often more than one way to get things done. The first part of the game is pretty linear and split up into self-contained areas, but after you beat the game, there's a second quest with new objectives that crossover from zone to zone and you have the freedom to go wherever you want from the start.

As a goose, you don’t have much to work with, but the simple controls make the game easy to get into. You can press Y to honk at people and get their attention or maybe scare them, and press A to grab things with your beak. That’s kind of it. You can also duck, run, and spread your wings, but those are really just skills that help with the honking and grabbing. You can use your beak to open doors, drag objects around, and pull things apart. Once you grab a hold of something, you might make someone mad, so that’s when you should run. If a human catches up to you, they’ll shoo you away and grab your item. You can duck to grab things low to the ground, hide behind something, or extend your neck a bit to place something somewhere with a little more accuracy. Spreading your wings is mostly for looks. It’s completely useless outside of one objective. Also, this might sound weird since I'm talking about a goose game, but it’s worth noting that you move like a goose. The controls are somewhat awkward and inaccurate. The goose waddles around clumsily, takes wide turns, and can’t stop on a dime. He also can’t run faster than a human. This isn’t a bad thing, though. That’s just part of the challenge of the game.

Challenges and puzzles are great, but the real reason why I was interested in this game to begin with was that it looked ridiculous. The thing that makes Untitled Goose Game so much fun for me is how funny it is. Watching people react to the goose is hilarious. You’re a pest. People get mad at you, shoo you away, chase you around, and even put "no goose" signs up, like no smoking signs. Being a bad goose and getting away with it is so much fun. There's something so exhilarating about dragging someone’s stuff away as they chase you. Lots of indie games are filled with Internet memes, but Untitled Goose Game is the meme. It’s no wonder this game was so popular on Twitter when it made its debut earlier this year.

Untitled Goose Game’s graphics aren’t technically impressive, but I think they work well for the game. I like the simple cartoon-like style, and I think it helps in making things you can interact with stand out. I also think the animation is really well done. The goose it super funny, of course, and even though the humans don’t have many facial features, the animations do a great job showing how mad they get at the goose. There isn't much UI in the game either, but I like how your objectives are written like a laundry list in a notebook and the pause menu is a bunch of street signs. They both fit in nicely with the neighborhood theme of the game.

Untitled Goose Game doesn’t have a lot of music, but it uses what little music it does have very well. There’s a piano track that dynamically comes and goes as you move around and do stuff. It goes away when you’re not really doing anything and then picks up when you grab something or are being chased. It’s very cartoon-like. There’s also a really nice jazzy bossa nova piano song on the Start screen, which reminds me of that Rainy Jazz YouTube channel.

I’m not saying Untitled Goose Game is my GOTY (unless that stands for Goose of the Year), but it’s a lot of fun. You can 100% it in maybe 5 or 6 hours, and it is $20, but I think it’s worth it. I loved tormenting humans as the goose, and had a good laugh doing it. If you like puzzles and think what you’ve seen of the goose in action is funny, then you’ll probably love Untitled Goose Game. Honk!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Shovel Knight: King of Cards Review

Yes, there’s a new Shovel Knight game! Shovel Knight: King of Cards is the 4th expansion and final campaign for the Shovel Knight Treasure Trove. It's also available as a standalone game for $10 on pretty much every current and last gen system. Even on Wii U and Vita. If you bought the first Shovel Knight game before Specter of Torment came out, even on old platforms, you get King of Cards at no additional cost. King of Cards features an original story, all new levels, new music, and an original card game.

Like Specter of Torment, King of Cards takes place before the first Shovel Knight game, Shovel of Hope. In King of Cards, you play as King Knight before he joined the Order of No Quarter. And if you’re wondering, he’s not actually king of anything. Everyone still calls him King Knight, though. Even his mom. King Knight plans on becoming a king by beating everyone at Joustus (the card game) and becoming the King of Cards. And by beating up the current kings of the land, too.

Don't let the name of the game confuse you. There is a card game in King of Cards, but this is still mainly a platformer, just like the previous 3 games. If Shovel Knight is the NES Duck Tales Scrooge McDuck of this series, then King Knight is the Wario of the Shovel Knight universe. King of Card’s gameplay is clearly inspired by the Wario Land games. King Knight’s signature move is a shoulder bash, which he uses to attack and break walls and blocks, just like Wario. King Knight’s mechanics have a bit more depth to them than Wario’s though. After shoulder bashing something, King Knight goes into a spin jump, and this spin jump is the only way he can jump on enemies without taking damage. After stomping an enemy, King Knight goes into another spin jump from which he can air dash out of. He can’t air dash out of the first spin jump he goes into after the first shoulder bash, and he can’t stomp on enemies after doing an air dash without first bashing into something and going into another spin jump, so you have to keep all of this in mind when platforming. It requires a bit more thinking than the average platformer, but it’s a lot of fun.

King of Card’s gameplay isn’t about stylish action platforming, like Specter of Torment's. King of Cards is more about careful planning and memorization of the levels. You really have to put some thought into how you want to tackle the more difficult platforming sections in the game. And this game is pretty difficult. King of cards has the shortest levels out of all the Shovel Knight games, but I think Yacht Club used that as an excuse to make them the hardest levels in the series as well. Most King of Cards levels are only 2 sections long, which is pretty short when compared to Shovel of Hope's 5+ section long levels, but they are much more deviously designed than the ones in the previous games. They might not look like they’re too different at a glance, but King Knights abilities require you to play in a completely different way. That’s what makes this game feel fresh, even in the series’ 4th entry.

The card game within the game is called Joustus. Don't worry if you're not into card games, Joustus is completely optional. Joustus is a card game the characters in this world play, like how Final Fantasy VIII characters play Triple Triad. Joustus is nothing like a traditional card game, though. It's not about numbers or stats, like Hearthstone, Pokemon, or even Spades. It's more like a board game. You play on a square board with a few gems randomly placed on it. The goal of the game is to cover the most gems with your cards by the time all squares are covered. But you can't place your card directly on the gem squares, you have to push them onto the gems with your other cards. You can push cards around with other cards, but only if your card has an arrow pointing in the direction you want to push and the card being pushed and the cards behind it don't have an arrow pointing in the direction you're pushing from. Frankly, I didn't really like Joustus. I often found myself in situations where the only moves I could make were to either move the opponent's cards onto the gems or give up, and that's just not fun. I’m glad they didn’t make the final boss a card battle or something.

King of Cards looks just as good as the previous games. Shovel Knight games always do a great job in mimicking the look of an NES game. Obviously, they look way too good to be real NES games, but they get the level of detail in the sprites and color palette spot on. It might look like King of Cards is just reusing sprites from the previous games, but there’s actually a bunch of new sprites in here, too. The same goes for the music. There’s a good mix of very NES-like old and new stuff from Jake Kaufman, the composer who worked on previous Shovel Knight games and the Shantae series.

I really liked this game. I didn’t enjoy the card game, but this is a great platformer. It’s challenging, King Knight is a fun character to play as, it has great NES style 8-bit graphics, and a really good soundtrack. I think this is also the longest of the Shovel Knight games, so you’re definitely getting your money’s worth with this one. I don’t know if I’d recommend it to anyone who is not a seasoned platformer fan; though, King of Cards feels like a game made strictly for hardcore platformer fans.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Pokémon Sword and Shield Review

Pokémon Sun and Moon were the Skyward Sword of Pokémon games. They were the culmination of years of adding more and more tutorials, handholdy intros, and putting more and more focus on wacky stories with terrible characters. The series needed a change. And while Pokémon Sword and Shield are not the Breath of the Wild of Pokémon games, they’re a big step in the right direction.

Pokémon Sword and Shield needed to put the focus back on the journey to becoming the Pokémon Champion, and I think it does a pretty good job at that. There is still a wacky story about the origins of Dynamaxing, the Galar Region, and the legendary wolves, but it’s a secondary story, and it doesn't really rear its ugly head until the very last part of the game. Most of the game is about the Galar Gym Challenge, you and your rival trainers, and the Gym Leaders. There is no Team Rocket or Lillie hogging the spotlight in Sword and Shield, and that’s a good thing in my book.

There is no Elite Four or Pokémon League as we’ve come to know it in the Galar Region. Instead, the eight Gym Leaders, and the current champion, are in constant battle for the number one spot. These Gym Leaders play a much bigger role in the story than those in past games. They’re celebrities in Galar. They show up multiple times during the story, they have fans, rivalries, relationships with your rival trainers, and a lot more personality than pretty much every Gym Leader or member of the Elite Four in past games. They’re more like superstar athletes than the head of some dojo, and it fits perfectly with the themes of the game.

Your rivals are also a big step up from recent rivals, like Hau. Hop, your main rival, is your childhood friend and neighbor, and the little brother of the undefeated Pokémon Champion of the region, Leon. No pressure! Unlike Hau, he actually cares about winning and losing and doesn’t just take Ls with a smile and go back to eating malasadas. Hop changes his strategies and Pokémon to counter you, he grows as a trainer and as a person, and by the end of the game, he’s a different character. How about that? They wrote a story about personal growth and the spirit of competition and it turned out a million times better than anything about saving the world, wacky scientists, or interdimensional Pokémon. More Hops, less Lillies, please.

Gyms are actually huge stadiums in this region, and each gym challenge is like a Soccer game, chanting crowds and all. It’s a lot like in the anime, and exactly what I’d imagine gym battles would really look like in the world of Pokémon. The trainers who embark on journeys to beat the Gym Leaders and collect the eight badges (like you) are treated like up-and-coming athletes. They even have uniforms and sponsors. All of this is clearly inspired by the Soccer scene in the UK, but I don’t watch Soccer. What it really reminds me of is real world Pokémon Esports.

Sword and Shield’s campaign is still that same linear, Dragon Quest on rails type of RPG, and it still has an NPC talking to you every 10 steps you take during the intro, but they’ve definitely dialed back the hand holding a bit from Sun and Moon. The whole game is not like the intro. You get a lot more chances to explore on your own in this game, and the routes don’t all feel like straight shots to the next town. After around the 2 hour mark, you’re free to explore the Wild area and get your Pokémon KOed by an Onyx, and then you can explore one of the big cities after that. You still talk to the professor or a rival trainer after you do anything in the story, but I didn’t feel like I was constantly being funneled down a path, even though I still kind of was.

I really enjoyed the campaign. It could have used some side dungeons, though. Since there is no evil organization in the game, and the story about the origin of Dynamaxing is left for the very last part of the game, there isn’t anything like a Lavender Pokémon Tower or Team Rocket hideout. But I guess if the focus of the story is on the trainers, giant office buildings full of bad guys don’t make a lot of sense. There also aren’t a bunch of legendary Pokémon waiting for you in the post game. There is an epilogue, but it’s maybe 2 hours long, and the only legendary you get out of that is your cover Pokémon. There is nothing like a Mewtwo, Celebi, or the legendary birds, but I wouldn’t say this game lacks endgame content. There is still a Battle Tower, and the Wild Area is full of stuff to do, and you can only get the most out of it after you’ve beaten the game.

The name might evoke thoughts of Breath of the Wild, but the Wild Area is nothing like Zelda. There are no story scenes or quests in the Wild Area, and it is not the Hyrule field of Sword and Shield, even though some people think one of the trees looks like it’s from OOT. You don’t actually have to do anything in the Wild Area during the story except run across it to get to another town, and not all towns are connected by it. The Wild Area is actually an open-ended buffet of Pokémon and item farming. It’s also the only area in the game with a controllable camera. As if they needed to ease players into videogame cameras. I think the closest thing I could compare the Wild Area to is endgame zones in World of Warcraft, like the Timeless Isle in Mists of Pandaria, or maybe Adventure Mode in Diablo III and Patrols in Destiny. The Wild Area is full of all kinds of Pokémon and endlessly repeatable multiplayer and single player PVE content. Different Pokémon will appear in certain areas depending on the weather, and since there are no random encounters, you can see them everywhere you go. There’s a huge Onyx just roaming around, Gyarados and Lapras swimming in the lakes, Butterfrees flying around, and Zigzagoons scurrying around in the tall grass. It’s like a Pokémon wildlife reserve. This is the place to go if you want to catch ‘em all. There’s even a Daycare there.

The Wild Area also introduces raids to the main series. Raids are single or multiplayer PVE encounters pitting 4 trainers and 1 of their their Pokémon against a Dynamaxed or Gigantamaxed Pokémon. Raids are found in Pokémon “Dens” all over the zone. They look like a bunch of pink stones around a rabbit hole. If there’s a Pokémon in them, a big ray of pink light will be shooting out of it, like a piece of loot in Diablo III. Raid battles are kind of like double battles in that you work as a team and some moves, like Surf and Earthquake, can hit your teammates, so they require different strategies from regular trainer battles. You can do raid battles on your own along with 3 CPU controlled trainers, or do them with other players online or through local wireless. The Pokémon you fight against is Dynamaxed for the whole battle, but only 1 trainer can Dynamax for 3 turns during the battle. Once you KO the raid Pokémon, you have one chance to catch it with a Pokéball. These Pokémon are guaranteed to have some perfect IVs and have a good chance to have Hidden Abilities, so they’re usually worth catching. Raid battles don’t award Exp, but regardless of whether you catch the Pokémon or not, you’re rewarded with all sorts of goodies, like Rare Candy, Exp Candy, gold nuggets, TRs (1 use TMs), and berries, so they’re a great way to get stuff to raise Pokémon with.

Sword and Shield have made it easier than ever to take any Pokémon from zero to hero in a short amount of time. Time to break out that shiny Adamant Ghastly I caught in Let’s Go Pikachu and make it a superstar! Not only are you showered with Exp Candy and TRs after raid battles, but all that stuff you could do in the Poké Pelago to level up and EV train is back with Pokéjobs, Hyper Training to max out IVs is still in, ability capsules are back, and new ways to customize Pokémon have been introduced, too. You can now forget and remember moves for free at a Pokémon Center. No more Heart Scales. You can now pass along Egg Moves without breeding a new Pokémon by simply leaving a Pokémon in the Daycare with a Pokémon that has the move, there are new items called “Mints” which can change a Pokémon’s Nature, and there is no longer a limit to the amount of Vitamins you can give to a Pokémon before maxing out their EVs. You can customize a Pokémon in any way you want short of giving it a Hidden Ability and making it Shiny. You’d still need to breed for those. Where’s my Shiny Mint, Game Freak?

There are two big things carried over from the Let’s Go games that really change how the game plays, and thankfully, neither of them is motion control Pokéball throwing. Sword and Shield has no random encounters and you can access your Pokémon Box from anywhere. You can now see Pokémon in the wild, just like in Let’s Go. There are no random encounters at all. Not in caves, water, or in tall grass. Sometimes a Pokémon will hide in the tall grass, and you might accidentally run into them if you’re going too fast, but there are no invisible Pokémon. Having the Pokémon Box available to you nearly anywhere means less trips to the Pokémon Center, of course. You can easily switch out Pokémon to counter a trainer, avoid evolving your Eevee into Umbreon instead of Espeon, switch out KOed Pokémon, or whatever you need to do.

The new Pokémon Camp kind of goes hand in hand with the easily accessible Pokémon Box. You can camp in a lot of places, it’s not just for the outdoors. At a campsite, you can cook curry and play with your Pokémon. It’s not quite Pokémon-Amie, but you can raise an Eevee’s friendship level and give it enough Exp to evolve it into an Espeon from level 1 in just one stay at a campsite by playing with it and cooking some curry. Curry can also revive and fully heal your Pokémon, and even refill their move’s PP, so you don’t even have to go to the Pokémon Center to heal up if you can camp. It’s all about doing less running around and more of what you want to be doing, and I like that.

Sadly, the online component in Sword and Shield is worse than it’s ever been. Having to use friend codes to trade with friends was never great, but the system they’ve implemented in Sword and Shield is probably worse. Sword and Shield uses a 4 digit “Link Code” to create a meeting room to trade or battle with friends. The problem is that there’s thousands of people doing this, so it’s very likely that someone else is trying to use the same 4 numbers at the same time as you. I’ve gotten 2 or 3 random strangers in a room before I got the person I was actually trying to meet up with on more than a few occasions. Random online battling and surprise trades are still in, but the GTS is totally gone, so you can’t just leave a Pokémon up for trade and check back on it later. You can connect online in the Wild Area and see other trainers running around, but they don’t do much besides adding a bunch of lag to your game. The multiplayer feels more like it’s designed for Japanese players who gather in cafes than people who play online all over the world. All this stuff can also be done locally, just like in past games, and I’m guessing it works much better when it doesn’t involve the Internet.

The UI has gotten a really nice redesign with cleaner and more readable graphics and a few customizable elements, like being able to skip the nickname question and being able to automatically send Pokémon to a box, but this is obviously just another iteration of the same UI that’s been in these games for years. You still can’t automatically sort Pokémon alphabetically or by Pokédex number in your boxes, the search function doesn’t do anything but highlight the Pokémon you search for, and you still need to have Pokémon in your party to use items on them. And most puzzling of all, this game has no touchscreen support. Seriously!? I appreciate the improvements, but this UI still needs a lot of work.

The graphics also look like they were made with the same tech as the 3DS and Let’s Go games. This is the best looking Pokémon game so far by default, but it pales in comparison to games from Nintendo’s other teams. This game could probably be done on Wii U. The game still has that same great Pokémon art style, though. Even though everything is low poly and the textures are low res, it still looks like Pokémon. The framerate is better than it’s ever been, too. The game is 30fps, with some drops here and there, but it runs much better than the Let’s Go games, and it’s far from the slideshow that the 3DS games were in battles.

The best part of the presentation is definitely the music. It kind of stands out because of how good it is. I love the new version of the Pokémon Center theme, the Turffield theme with the organs, and the Wild Area theme with the bagpipes most of all. The sound effects and Pokémon cries still sound the same, though, which is disappointing. There’s also still no voice acting for anyone except the 2 most popular and important characters, Eevee and Pikachu.

Pokémon Sword and Shield is not the huge shakeup I was hoping it would be, but it’s a great game and I’ve been hopelessly addicted to it for the past 2 weeks. I love the story and characters, the music is awesome, raids are a ton of fun, and I love how battles don’t run at 5fps. I just want the series to move forward at a faster pace. I don’t understand why they feel they need to ease players into something like a controllable 3D camera when Super Mario 64 came out in the same year as the first Pokémon. That was 23 years ago. Every gamer knows how to control a game camera. It’s kind of sad that even the most old-school of old-school RPGs, Dragon Quest, has left the Pokémon series in the dust.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Luigi's Mansion 3 Review

When the GameCube launched in 2001, one of its launch games was Luigi’s Mansion. It was part tech demo, part Survival Horror parody, and totally unlike the traditional Mario platformer many Nintendo fans wanted at launch. It was fun, though, and it gave Luigi a personality. He wasn’t much more than Green Mario before. It’s thanks to that game that Luigi plays how he does in Smash, he got the personality that made him a meme superstar with his Mario Kart 8 death stare, and we eventually got Luigi’s Mansion 2 (Dark Moon) on The Year of Luigi. Now, Luigi is back and better than ever. Luigi’s Mansion 3 feels like a game from a developer that has learned from its past mistakes and put some real effort into making Luigi’s Mansion one of Nintendo’s big series.

Luigi's Mansion 3 doesn't begin on a dark and stormy night. It begins on a beautiful sunny day. The Mario gang has been invited to stay at the Last Resort by its owner, Helen Gravely. Apparently, nobody thinks any of this is suspicious, so they go along with it. But on the first night there, after everyone has gone to sleep, the beautiful luxury hotel is revealed for what it truly is, a haunted luxury hotel. The lights go out, fog rolls in, Mario, Peach, and the Toads go missing, and Helen Gravely reveals that she is actually a ghost working for Luigi's arch nemesis, King Boo. King Boo traps Mario, Peach and the Toads inside paintings, but Luigi and his dog, Polterpup, manage to get away. Luigi then runs into his old friend, Professor E. Gadd, gets his Poltergust vacuum back, and sets off on another ghost busting quest to rescue his brother and the gang.

The hotel's elevator has no buttons, though! How is Luigi supposed to get around the hotel without elevator buttons? There’s only a few stairs connecting the bottom floors. That's probably a fire hazard. It turns out that Helen Gravely’s ghost minions (the bosses) have the buttons, so Luigi must capture them to get them back. These buttons are sort of like stars in Mario 64, except there aren’t 120 of them. Once you get an elevator button, you’re able to go to the next floor. Unlike in LM2, the game isn’t split up into Missions or entirety separate mansions. Each floor is completely self-contained, but you never have to go to a menu screen to do another objective or to move to another floor. You're free to go wherever your buttons and abilities can take you at any time. This isn't a total throwback to LM1, though. There aren't many reasons to go back to previous floors besides catching all the Boos, which only spawn after you complete a floor, or maybe getting gems you missed.

The Last Resort is 17 floors of puzzles and ghost hunting adventures, and it’s much more than hotel rooms. In fact, there’s more activities and entertainment here than there are places to sleep. There’s a mall, concert hall, museum, gym, dance club, a pirate cove themed bar, and a pyramid in the middle of a desert, complete with Indiana Jones style traps and mummies. The environments are much more varied than in either of the previous games, and I like that, even if sometimes they seem out of place. I felt like the game didn’t take advantage of the Mario IP as well as it could have, though. Luigi’s Mansion is kind of its own thing, but it’s still in the Mario universe. They could have filled the pyramid with Super Mario Land references, put Yoshi in the dinosaur museum, and made the generic King Kong in the movie set Donkey Kong instead, for example.

The varied environments also keep the puzzles fresh throughout the whole game. Luigi only has so many things he can do with his abilities, but the different themes keep changing the logic of the puzzles. For example, in the pyramid themed floor, you’re constantly vacuuming tons of sand. You vacuum everything up in this game. That’s not new or unique. But not every floor is covered in sand like that. Simply adding sand that Luigi can move around changes everything because that gives him control over the elevation of the ground. Just when I thought the game had done everything it could do with Luigi’s abilities, it kept surprising me with clever new types of puzzles.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 really is all about the puzzles. Even though the series is a parody of games like Resident Evil, the puzzles are also a lot like Zelda puzzles. There’s a lot of switch pulling, finding hidden doors, and moving things around in the environment. Even the bosses are more puzzly than the average Mario boss. You’re usually showered with health replenishing hearts during a battle, so it’s almost hard to die on them for most of the game. Most boss battles are more about figuring out how to damage the boss than they are about avoiding attacks and doing as much damage as possible.

Luigi’s moves don’t lend themselves to fast-paced action very well anyway. This game is at its best when the action is slow and you have to use your brain. There are definitely times when the game crosses that line, though. Near the end of the game, you often have to do puzzles with strict timing requirements, and the bosses become a little too demanding for what Luigi can do with his limited skills and slow movement speed. I feel like the game became more frustrating than challenging at that point, and some of that stuff could have use a nerf, but I was able to get through it eventually.

I guess it’s been a while since Luigi was in a new platformer, so he may be out of platforming shape. Luigi has a new jump move in LM3, but he’s actually just using the Poltergust to do a tiny rocket jump. This is the move you rarely use, but the game won't let you forget about. Luigi also gets a plunger with a rope tied to it, which he can use to pull, tow, or throw stuff around. The biggest new ability, which is actually from the LM 3DS remake, is Gooigi, a green jello-like Luigi. You can summon Gooigi and move him around independently from Luigi to solve puzzles or fight enemies, but this also leaves Luigi vulnerable. There’s also a co-op mode in which player 2 plays as Gooigi. He only has 25 hearts, but he can infinitely respawn without penalties to make up for that. Gooigi can help you press down switches, pull objects around, and reach places Luigi can’t by going through gates and drains, like a green T-1000. The Gooigi puzzles are some of the best in the game. Gooigi for Smash!

I did have some trouble getting used to the controls, and the lack of aim inversion options didn't help, but I managed. I've been playing with inverted Y axis since Star Fox, it's hard to adjust. Luigi’s aiming works kind of like in 1st and 3rd person shooters, but Luigi isn’t always facing forward, and the aiming doesn’t adjust depending on which direction Luigi is facing. If Luigi is facing towards the camera, left on the right stick still turns towards Luigi’s left, which is now your right. This method of aiming makes sense, and it would be a real mess if it constantly switched which way is which, but it's confusing, and it doesn’t help that I’m always thinking with inverted aim in mind. There is an option to make aiming work more like in a dual stick shooter, but that forces you to use motion controls to aim up and down, and I am not a fan of motion controls.

The graphics are some of the best I’ve seen on Switch. It does run at 30fps, and there a few dips here and there, but the lighting and amount of detail in the environments and characters is pretty amazing. Luigi’s clothes look even more realistic than Mario’s in Odyssey, his flashlight makes pretty much everything in the environment cast a shadow, and he can vacuum and and throw around pretty much anything that isn’t nailed down. The game also has a very abstract cartoon-like style that I really like. Everything is crooked or slanted in some way, like in The Nightmare Before Christmas or the old Beetlejuice cartoon.

The music is pretty ambient and low-key, but it does have some really good stuff in it. There’s a few remixes of the main LM theme, a Super Mario Bros overworld theme remix when you arrive at the hotel, and lots of slow, jazzy, ambient tunes. The sound effects are very well done, too. You can actually hear Gooigi’s jello-like body wobble as he walks around. And this might sound weird when talking about a Mario universe game, but the voice acting is really good. Mario and Peach both have a lot more lines than in regular Mario games, and it’s kind of mind blowing to hear. Peach actually says stuff like “Yahoo” and “Here we go”, like she’s been hanging around Mario so much that she’s talking like him now. And of course, Luigi has a bunch of new lines, too. You actually get 3 directions on the d-pad dedicated to making Luigi call out for Mario.

I did try out the multiplayer, but I didn’t play a lot of it. It just isn’t really what i want from Luigi’s Mansion. If you played the multiplayer in LM2, it’s basically that. You run around a floor with other Luigis and catch ghosts until time runs out.

I really enjoyed this game. It’s just so fun and full of charm and personality. It has clever puzzles and bosses, the graphics are amazing, and the music and sound effects are incredibly well done. The controls took some getting used to, and it got a little frustrating during the last part, but the good far outweighs the bad here. This is definitely worth picking up, even if Halloween has already come and gone.