Hold on tight to your tea and crumpets, Level 5’s Layton series is back with a brand new puzzling adventure, featuring the young whippersnapper, Ernest Greeves, an amnesia suffering talking dog, Sherl, and the main lady, daughter of Professor Hershel Layton, Katrielle Layton. With the Layton Detective Agency setup, it is up to you to live up to the ‘Any Mystery Solved’ motto in Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy… let’s just refer it to Layton’s Mystery Journey to save on the word count, shall we.
Does Layton’s Mystery Journey live up to the great Hershel Layton, or is it more unpleasant than arguing the pronunciation of ‘scone’? Find out in our review after the break!
Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy
Nintendo 3DS Family Systems, iOS/Android Devices
Developed by LEVEL-5
Published by Nintendo
Released: 6th October 2017
Review copy provided by Nintendo
Screenshots courtesy of Nintendo
After the mysterious disappearance of Katrielle’s father, Hershel Layton, she eventually decides to set up the Layton Detective Agency to follow the footsteps of her father. Who knows, maybe solving enough mysteries will set her on her path for finding father. At the agency, she is accompanied by the rather loyal Ernest Greeves. Out of all the residents roaming the streets of London during the day, who would’ve thought that the agency’s first client would be a dog… a talking dog… a talking dog with amnesia.
Kat agrees to assist the dog to find out who he is, but first he needs a suitable name, and what’s a more suited name in this situation than Sherl O.C. Kholmes… especially since he will assisting you throughout cases.
The progress of Layton’s Mystery Journey works a bit differently compared to the other Professor Layton games. Instead of there being just one overarching story over multiple chapters, Mystery Journey is a collation of various different cases which can be tackled at any point assuming they have been unlocked. This structure definitely is more favourable for the handheld, meaning that you can have shorter play sessions without having to remember to much of what happened previously.
Any Layton veterans will surely be pleased that Layton’s Mystery Journey plays pretty similarly to previous titles in the franchise. Gliding your stylus on the touch screen will control your trusty magnifying glass on the top screen, allowing you to uncover hint coins, clues, and even some devious puzzles. You can also partake in socialising with the local residents in some witty conversations. Some residents may even provide you with clues or even more puzzles!
In this adventure, you will primarily be exploring the locales of London. Though this may seem a bit drab compared to the fantastical locations in previous games, there are still some pretty neat areas in London. For example, you may be trying to catch the culprit behind the missing movie scene in a prestigious theatre, or get to the bottom of the missing cash in the most secure vault built yet. See, London can still have its charm.
As you work you way through the various puzzling challenges of each case, you’ll uncover clues which will eventually lead you to the solution of the case. This is where I feel the game could be improved on. For one, most of the cases have quite predictable, and somewhat ridiculous, solutions. There have been so many times where I have been able to guess what happened within the first five minutes, so I just play along with the rest of the case hoping I was wrong. It would be so nice if cases could keep you guessing and throw some curveballs at you.
Another improvement that could be made is to make case solving a bit more practical. As it stands, you will find clues when investigating the scenes, and when you’ve collected all six per case, you instantly solve the case. Mystery Journey could’ve definitely stand itself out if it allowed you to do more detective work by getting you to figure out how the clues fit together, sort of how you can in the Phoenix Wright games. It just feels a bit like a missed opportunity there.
It wouldn’t be a Layton game with a selection of puzzles now, would it. Layton’s Mystery Journey has the most puzzles yet with a whopping 185 puzzles, and this doesn’t include all the downloadable weekly puzzles either. It’s astounding how many puzzles there now are in the Layton series. There are a few puzzles which are a bit questionable or are just no fun, but most of them are set at a high Layton standard. Some of them are quite devious and actually provide red herrings to distract you from the real solution!
If you need a bit of a distraction from the main game, then you will be happy to know that Katrielle happens to own one of those magical suitcases which can fit more than you can imagine. In the suitcase, there are various minigames you can attempt between cases. These range from creating the right meals for customers at a restaurant, to assisting Sherl with escaping the dog pound. The suitcase also houses case files to keep up to date with your clues, as well as extra unlockable cutscenes to give more closure to solved cases.
Overall Layton’s Mystery Journey is a welcome return to the Layton franchise, however it may risk becoming a bit stale. There are definitely some missed opportunities which could give the series a fresh coat of paint. Other than that though, the title is still very enjoyable and is another solid entry to the Layton franchise.
If you were hoping for something really new in a Layton game, you may be slightly disappointed, but if you are a Layton fan who just wants to return to the series, or if you just are looking for a decent puzzler, then I’d definitely recommend Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy!
Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy is out now for Nintendo 3DS Family Systems and iOS and Android devices