OooooOooOoo! Do you dare enter the house of horrors? After a 20 minute wait in line, I got to play the spookiest game at PAX Aus. The booth was very dark and had about 8 Switches, with glowing ghosts around the wall. They put a lot of effort into the presentation for this game, it was definitely the most interesting place in the Nintendo booth. The line for Pokemon Sword and Shield was longer, but they just had generic setups there. This experience had atmosphere similar to if you were playing on the couch in the dark at home.
I started playing and was immediately impressed with the clarity of the graphics. It kinda looked a bit bland in screenshots I’d seen but it looks very full and fleshed out in motion. It feels extremely polished and detailed, and also crisp. The 3DS game had a nice crispness to it that not many games have, and it’s still there in higher resolution. It’s very expressive.
The demo started with a tutorial, with the pulterpup showing you how to stun things with the flashlight, and use the vacuum for pulling and pushing. The poltergust has some new features now, with the ability to throw a pipe onto a surface. This allows you to pull something with force and was used a bit in the demo to pull switches and find secrets behind objects.
The combat felt a bit different to past games for me. Firstly the movement of the vacuum was inverted so it took me a while to get used to. Not sure if this is fixed in the final game but I’m confident there will be an option here. It just didn’t feel natural at first but I got used to it. The actual ghost combat is also different. It seemed a bit harder to stun them, you have to be a lot more accurate. There’s also an extra option to throw the ghosts around which makes their health drain faster. I managed to whack another ghost with the one I was vacuuming to do damage to both. You have a few more options in combat and it has a lot of potential to be even more fun.
Gooigi might just be the real star of this game. They were giving out two hats across the showfloor, and everyone chose the Gooigi hat instead of Luigi. You can create him by pushing in one of the sticks, and take control of him for more gameplay depth. He can do special things like walk through spikes with his gooey body, or just pull switches and help Luigi progress. It was all quite seamless, although you can’t control both at the same time. When you switch back to Luigi though, he’ll continue doing the last action you made with him. The implementation is quite good.
Objects in the environment all reacted to the vacuum just like in past games, and it was even cooler with the amount of detail in this game to see things moving about. It definitely felt alive like a cartoon but realistic and impressive at the same time. It’s very polished and even though it was just a demo, it felt like a finished game. A good sign for the release later this month. The demo wasn’t hard by any means, but I spent so long just messing about with the vacuum that I timed out during the final boss fight.
The boss fight was quite fun and I got 3 hits on him. It took me a while to figure out what I was doing, but you had to avoid its attacks and stun it at certain moment then do a few more things. It was far more involved than the bosses in the previous games which always just felt like bigger regular ghosts to me. Now there’s patterns and stuff to counter it seems, and this is probably just an early boss. I see a lot of potential with boss design in this game, hopefully Gooigi can get involved too.
Overall I’m extremely impressed with what I played and I’m hyped to play the final game. I didn’t get any gameplay screenshots since the booth was closed off from the outside, so please excuse the stock pictures I had to use in this writeup. There aren’t many great pics of this game yet but I expect them to come flooding in when the full game hits and people take screenshots from their Switch. At least I got some cool cards from Nintendo crew after playing it, on the back of each card tells a cute story about how Professor E Gadd created Gooigi.
With a multiplayer mode included, this game is shaping up to be one of the biggest of the year. 2019 might just be the Year of Gooigi.