May’s Mysteries: The Secret of Dragonville, developed by V5 Play Studio and published by Mastertronic, is a puzzle adventure game coming to the Nintendo DS this August. It’s also known as May’s Mystery Forbidden Memories. If you’re a fan of the Professor Layton style games, you’ll be in for a treat and may feel a little spoilt after trying this game out.
My first impressions of this puzzle adventure game are positive as I’m instantly immersed in it’s visually stunning animated cut scenes and charming soundtrack. The quaint environment and scenery are very amiable and invite players into the story surrounding May and her brother Tery who goes missing after a hot air balloon trip that goes wrong.
The game is set out in a very similar style to the Professor Layton series in which players must solve a series of puzzles throughout a small town called Dragonville.
The puzzles vary from simple rhythm games to more complex mathematical puzzles that will require a pen and paper to solve. An early rhythm game involved listening to a piece of music and following on screen instructions to copy the same pattern of notes. This is very similar to the basic premise of the game ‘Rhythm Paradise’. Once you’ve heard the tune, the notes disappear from the screen and you have to listen and memorize the sequence of notes and replicate it by tapping the screen with the stylus at the appropriate time. One of the mathematical puzzles that had me scratching my head for ages involved the Librarian numbering pages of a book and I was charged with working out how many pages the book was from the number of digits she had written. Ouch!
Interestingly, May’s Mysteries: The Secret of Dragonville also offers players a selection of hidden objects games, in which you must find items on a list. These are cleverly hidden within the scenery and actually take you a while to find because they are cunningly camouflaged. Other puzzles include everything from Sudoku style puzzles and riddles, to moving matchsticks and measuring out fluids, which rung very similar to Layton games. The game offers a hint system if you get stuck on some of the conundrums and you find yourself lingering over the more complex puzzles, therefore allowing the player to progress further in the game. The puzzles come in many forms from the easy and obvious to the more abstract and demanding.
The layout uses a map on the top screen and a compass to show the player which area is accessible with yellow arrows, which the player simply taps on to move the character in the direction they wish to go. The player has access to the games inventory by tapping the grey satchel on the left hand side of the screen. In here you can find your quest book, inventory, characters, bonus puzzles, story puzzles and save point.
May’s Mysteries: The Secret of Dragonville boasts Over 270 mini-games, including 230 logic puzzles, 25 hidden object games and 13 rhythm games. This adventure puzzle game ventures through 80 mysterious locations and makes acquaintance with 50 interesting and delightful characters, spread across four worlds. These charismatic characters may be useful in your travels by supplying information around the town, or they may serve to hinder your efforts. The cutscenes are beautifully hand drawn and there are seven minutes of absolutely stunning full-screen animated cinematics throughout the course of the 25 hour adventure. My general feeling is that V5 Play Studio have created a good puzzle adventure game that has obvious similarities to the Layton games, although the story and cutscenes felt more aimed towards a younger audience. The game has a good balance of different puzzles that are sure to delight any fan of the genre. I certainly look forward to finding out more about the mysteries and secrets of Dragonville, and following the storyline of May and her brother Tery this August.