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Layton’s daughter turns up on the Switch.

 
The Professor Layton games were a series of puzzle games that, much like the Brain Training titles, introduced a whole new range of people to gaming. The simple mechanics combined with devilish puzzle book style conundrums really clicked with players that had no interest in gaming before. Even my own 60 year old auntie put down her Sudoku books and got a DS. The games proved so popular that entry after entry was released on the DS and then the 3DS. But then, in 2014, all of that came to an end and players would have to wait three years for a new Layton game, and it was one that made some pretty big changes.

 


 
Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy launched in 2017 and, in a first for the series, initially was only available on iOS and Android devices. A couple of months later, the game finally popped up on the 3DS, albeit at a much higher price, which upset some long time fans. Now, two years on, the game is available on Nintendo Switch as a Deluxe Edition, proving to be the definitive edition of the latest Layton game.

 
The changes in the formula from the original games came thick and fast. The iconic Professor Layton was ousted for starters, in favour of his enthusiastic daughter Katrielle. This is not too much of a big deal however, as Kat proves to be quite likeable and enjoyable to spend time with, as is the extended cast, including a talking dog that only Kat and her sidekick can understand. There is a quaint British theme to the game that comes across in both the settings and the way the characters talk, and it is quite delightful in a laid back way.

 
Kat is just starting out with her own detective agency and is trying to prove herself to be every bit as good at solving puzzles as her dad, which brings us to the second major change in the series. This is something which I think was more aimed at the mobile market in that the game no longer has an overarching world saving plot, but is rather made up of a selection of smaller cases that Katrielle has taken on. It’s understandable that Kat doesn’t have the reputation of her father just yet, and so finding a missing feline would be more suited to her starting out. But the game keeps the action in London and has a selection of different cases that Kat and her team will take on. Given that mobile play is not really suited to the longer, drawn out stories that would come from the older Layton games, it kind of makes sense for the iOS and Android players. Anyway, this is the version that comes over to the Switch, and it actually works quite well. There is some linking of the cases that the player will discover, and the great cast will keep things together nicely.

 


 
One thing that hasn’t changed though, is the puzzles. Layton’s Mystery Journey has the distinction of having the most puzzles ever in a Layton game, with hundreds of puzzles for the player to scratch their head over. These range from maths and word games to logic and sliding blocks, and every type of puzzle in-between. These are the sorts of puzzles that players will sit and ponder rather than anything action-oriented, and so are quite unique on the Switch. I will say that although the number of puzzles have gone up, the quality is perhaps not quite as high as previous titles, which again could be for the mobile audience. Some of the puzzles have a groan-inducing solution that feels more like they are there to catch the player out than test their intelligence. But still, they are the real stars of the show.

 
As always, the player will have access to Hint Coins that they find along their journey and, when they inevitably get stuck on a puzzle, can spend these coins on hints or even an outright solution to tricky puzzles. Depending on how many attempts the player uses to solve a puzzle, they will be rewarded with Picarats that will lead to rewards once the game is complete. Outside of solving puzzles, the player will explore scenes where they can look for clues, hidden puzzles, Hint Coins and talk to bystanders for information. The smaller scope of the investigations does mean there is less to remember, which may be handy for some.

 
Aside from the puzzles and exploration, there are some extra goodies in Layton’s Mystery Journey, such as being able to unlock new outfits for Kat and even decorate her office, if that is your thing. There is a lot to unlock here, and so completionists will be kept busy way beyond the core game. Once all of the mysteries are solved, the player will still have daily puzzles to try and solve, and they can go back into areas in order to find anything that they missed.

 
But what makes this a Deluxe Edition? Well, to be honest, not that much. There are some 40 new puzzles for this edition, but with a puzzle count already in the hundreds that is not so much of a big deal. There are also 50 odd new outfits, extending that area of the game. Of course, the Deluxe Edition also includes all of the DLC previously released for the game on other platforms, and the visuals have been refined to look better on the larger Switch screen, although the difference is minimal.

 


 
Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition is a difficult one. The game is great and for puzzle fans will be an easy recommendation, but fans of the series will have already played the game on 3DS, or mobile, and the extra content is not that enticing. However, it has been a couple of years since the mobile and 3DS version launched, so maybe now is the time to jump back in? For players who have never had the pleasure of spending time with Layton’s daughter and fancy some puzzle solving fun, Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition is a substantial title that will keep them entertained for many hours.

 

 ★★★★★★★½☆☆ 



 

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