Puzzle solving seems to be constantly fashionable, with Phi Brain making solving puzzles a battle, this franchise, Professor Layton, turns puzzle solving into a mystery. With four previous instalments under it’s belt, this very established franchise débuts on the 3DS, aiming to put the shame of the last instalment behind it…so, does it succeed?
I’d like to start by saying something. Professor Layton achieved perfection in the third game, the Unwound Future. Time travelling, an AMAZING mystery and a conclusion that can only be described as jaw-dropping, it was the best that it could ever be, with tunes which send shivers down my spine every time I hear them, remembering the amazing scenes. Then the fourth one came around, starting a new trilogy, and it did it in…rather a lacklustre style. It tried something new, and I commend it for that, but it didn’t do it very well, leaving a rather sour taste in my mouth. This instalment…sets everything right.
After a letter from someone Layton used to go to school with, back when he was living with his parents summons him to a town, saying that someone is causing miracles with a mask that was meant to be long lost to the depths of the earth. This mask has a few miracles up it’s sleeve previously, but the one that Layton finds on his day of arrival is how people are being turned into stone….yep, that’s right! This instalment sees Layton going up against magic, alchemy and miracles, unearthing a tale of his past which was meant to be long forgotten.
It all sounds epic, doesn’t it? Solving the mystery behind it all was really satisfying, with a conclusion that followed all the rules of mystery whilst remaining epic, but this just leads to one of the problems I have with this trilogy. The Eternal Diva, the movie, fits into this trilogy, and the game refers to it several times, with Descole and Ambrosia playing a large role in the big picture for this trilogy. It’s understandable that they want to mention the Last Spectre, but to mention the movie…it just doesn’t feel right, you know?
Anyway, enough about the movie. The fact remains that the presentation is incredible, and the story is also pretty incredible. They’ve also gone all out with the puzzles here, with some of the great ones being reskinned, and a large variety of new ones surfacing. It’s not just the puzzles, too. They have different forms of control, via horseback riding, exploring a dungeon and a revamped exploration method.
All of this just adds onto the big picture, which ultimately means that it’s an amazing game with a pretty good story, and although it may have been predictable, it was well delivered and well executed, fully deserving of it’s title as a mystery. My only complaint is how heavily it depends on the next instalment in the franchise to deliver, which we won’t get our mits on until next year.