Editor: Diane Hutchinson Editor@girlgamersuk.com

Puzzling entertainment.

 
There has always been a special place in my heart for Professor Layton’s particular brand of puzzle game. Packed with all sorts of little puzzles that are easy to drop into for a quick bit of casual puzzle solving, or for a lengthy extended gaming session, the series has long been a highlight on Nintendo’s handheld consoles. The games are ideal for the portable format.

 
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However, time passes and things change. Professor Layton has gone and developers Level-5 have replaced his confident genius with a younger, more fun hero. They also happen to have released this latest Layton game on iOS and Android devices ahead of the 3DS release, which is coming soon. Otherwise, it is pretty much business as usual and fans of the series can breath a sigh of relief.

 
Layton’s Mystery Journey – Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy, to give the game its full name, recently launched on iOS and Android devices, which proves to be a perfect match for the puzzle solving adventure. Priced at just shy of £16 on iOS, the game is obviously much cheaper than the 3DS counterpart will be. But it is a price that will scare many mobile gamers, who are more used to their games being free or only a couple of quid. But for those who have passed out at the price, Layton’s Mystery Journey is well worth the investment – the quality and content far outshine the vast majority of mobile games, even if the game is missing its leading man.

 
Yeah, it takes a bit of getting used to the fact that the super intelligent Professor is no where to be found. Step forward Katrielle, Professor Layton’s daughter, starting up her own detective agency, alongside an assistant named Earnest and a talking dog. Bringing more wit and fun to the art of solving mysteries than her father, Kat still shows the intellect when she needs and fits right in with the classic Layton art style.

 
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Otherwise, Layton’s Mystery Journey is pretty much more of what we would expect from the series, which is no bad thing. There is an over-arching story, or at least a selection of smaller ones that may be linked, that will require the solving of many mini puzzles to work out. You can move around the map, following leads, and search for puzzles, clues or the ever important hint coins (which are used to buy clues for any puzzle that the player may be struggling with). The huge number of puzzles that are in the game and waiting to be solved can form part of the current investigation, or are simply there to be solved for fun and the in-game currency. There are even daily puzzles that are delivered to the game, keeping things fresh and ensuring the player keeps coming back for more.

 
The puzzles themselves are great, offering a good variety of different styles, from logic and mathematical, to riddles and sliding picture puzzles. For me, some seemed to come quite easily, while others left me scratching my head and cursing the videogame god, which is exactly what you would want from a puzzle game. The controls are exactly as you would expect, tapping or dragging on the lower part of the screen to come up with solutions. Strangely, there is the need to keep switching between landscape and portrait mode between the cut scenes and actual gameplay, which is a little annoying, but otherwise the game is polished and smooth with the high level of production that the series is known for.

 
There is also ample distraction outside of solving the puzzles. Activities such as decorating Kat’s office or helping out the talking dog are only a couple of the things a player can do when they need a break from the puzzle solving. There is even DLC available linked to a dress-up game for Kat, although paying out for extra content will likely put the mobile gamers in even more shock.

 
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Layton’s Mystery Journey – Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy feels instantly at home on the mobile devices, with great drop in/ drop out gameplay that can be picked up and enjoyed during a train journey or just five minutes waiting in a queue. Dropping the Professor in favor of his daughter was a worry, but Kat fits right in, bringing a lighter tone to the game. Fans of the Layton games will have no worries changing their formats, or waiting for the 3DS version, while those new to Layton’s style of mini puzzle solving goodness are in for a real treat, once they get over the cost of entry.

 

 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 



 

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