Layton’s Mystery Journey is Delightfully Charming
Layton’s Mystery Journey ($15.99) by Level-5 is the latest game in the Layton series, which is also just in time for the 10th anniversary of the franchise. If you love a good hidden object puzzle game, then Layton’s Mystery Journey is one you must check out. This installment came out on iOS and Android last week, with a Nintendo 3DS version later this fall.
While I doubt that I’ll ever be good enough to be a real detective, I enjoy a good mystery that gets my head gears turning. Fortunately, I can play the part of a detective without any special training thanks to video games, which is why I was drawn in to Layton’s Mystery Journey. To be honest though, I haven’t played any previous Professor Layton games, so this is my first foray into the franchise. I’m a big puzzle fan, so it’s always been a game series I’ve wanted to check out, but never got around to it. Now that a full Layton game is on iOS, I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to give the game a spin.
App Feels Like
App Feels Like
Visually, Layton’s Mystery Journey fits in with the other games because of the cartoonish art style. Throughout the game, players will find lively character sprites that appear as though they came out of an old-school anime series, like Lupin the 3rd. Everyone has their own unique appearances, personalities, and quirks, which you’ll grow to love the more you play. Colors in Layton’s Mystery Journey are bright and vibrant, with lush and detailed environments. There are also fully animated cutscenes that play out and reveal the story, which are fun to watch. A subtle, soothing soundtrack plays in the background, and there are delightful sound effects as you move around the city, talk to characters, and explore for clues.
In Layton’s Mystery Journey, rather than taking on the role of Professor Layton, players are introduced to a new character, Katrielle Layton. She’s just starting out on her detective career, and gets slammed with several interesting cases to take on all at once. But don’t be distracted by the little things — the bigger case reveals itself, and it ends up being the search for her missing father, Professor Hershel Layton. There will be a lot of searching for hidden objects and clues, and many puzzles await players as they try and solve the case.
For those who have never played a Layton game before, the controls are pretty easy to learn and feel intuitive on the touch screen. To view the map of the city, tap on the “Return to Map” button, and then you’re able to tap on the orange circles to travel to that area.
When you enter a scene, you’re able to move a magnifying glass around by sliding your finger. When there’s something that you can investigate further, it will turn orange and you can tap it. If you’re able to zoom in on a particular spot, the magnifying glass has a plus (+) symbol that you can tap on and get a better view. Sometimes the magnifying glass will find a spot that has puffs of dust — this means there’s an object for you there, such as a hint coin (for puzzles) or a collectible item that isn’t related to the case at hand.
There’s a lot of reading involved with Layton’s Mystery Journey, as with any Layton game. It’s important to read the dialogue between characters, because this is where you get big clues to solve a case. When a key clue’s revealed, Katrielle gets a “clue piece” that you’ll need to fit properly into a shape. There are always six major clues that you need before you solve a case.
Sometimes as you examine scenes, you’ll discover puzzles related to the case. Each puzzle is worth a certain number of points, which get tallied up into your total. The number of points drops slightly if you’re unsuccessful and keep reattempting to solve it. Controls for each puzzle vary slightly, but it usually involves tapping switches, rotating and moving pieces around, or even answering riddles. There’s a lot of variety to the types of puzzles in Layton’s Mystery Journey, but they’re all bound to get your brain into high gear.
Layton’s Mystery Journey has support for up to three game saves, and you must manually save if you care about keeping your progress in tact. Fortunately, the game’s menu is easily accessible at any time, and this is where you can view case files, collectibles, change outfits, and other things in Katrielle’s purse.
Layton's Mystery Journey is a delightful hidden object puzzle game that will charm anyone.
Layton’s Mystery Journey has an engrossing storyline that is sure to hook anyone, even newbies, right from the start. The graphics are sharp and crisp with the anime style, and the sound design is great. Controls are simple and easy for anyone to learn. The puzzles are pretty challenging and will provide players with plenty of entertainment for hours. Plus, there are daily puzzles for those who want extra goodies and other mini-games.
While Layton’s Mystery Journey is incredibly good, it isn’t for everyone. If you don’t like tricky puzzles or get frustrated easily, then this game may not be for you. There is also a lot of text involved. Also, the price point seems a bit high for an iOS game, considering that this will also be available on the Nintendo 3DS later this year. With a price like this, some may think it’s better waiting for the 3DS version.
Since this is my first Layton game, I do not have previous knowledge of the series before I dove into this one. However, as a complete newbie, I’m enjoying it highly so far. The puzzles are a bit tricky but do make me think. The visual style and animations look fantastic. Even as a newcomer, I’m finding the characters to be full of fun and charm. I found the story captivating and immersive from the get-go too, which doesn’t always happen.
I highly recommend giving Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionares’ Conspiracy a try if you’re looking for a lengthy mystery puzzle game. Layton’s Mystery Journey is available on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for $15.99. The game is also coming to Nintendo 3DS in the fall.