Layton’s Mystery Journey (NS) – the prof. is back, sort of
The Professor Layton series continues on Nintendo Switch, with a welcome remaster of the brain-teasing 3DS game.
When Nintendo started talking about bringing dormant 3DS franchises to the Switch we immediately thought of games like Ace Attorney and Etrian Odyssey, before realising they were nothing to do with Nintendo. Neither is Professor Layton, even though they distribute the series for Level-5 in the West, but although this is just a remaster of the most recent game from 2017 we’re glad to see it make the jump and hopeful that it will allow the series to continue in a post portable-only world.
Professor Layton is very much a product of the Nintendo DS era of portable games. Its modest production values and puzzle-oriented gameplay make much more sense on a handheld device, for both creators and customers. And so, since the decline of the 3DS the once prominent franchise has been almost forgotten, with the various attempts at mobile spin-offs meeting with little obvious success.
That includes Layton’s Mystery Journey, which despite being half the price on mobile still seems more at home on the 3DS and, now, the Switch. For those not familiar with the franchise it was inspired by a series of Japanese puzzle books and features a wide variety of logic puzzles, maths quizzes, riddles, and other text-based conundrums. Many involve little or no onscreen interaction but for anyone that’s ever enjoyed a game of Sudoku the games are a great way to relax and tease your brain.
Layton’s Mystery Journey doesn’t feature Professor Layton in the lead role but instead his daughter Katrielle, although that makes little practical difference to proceedings. This Deluxe Edition bumps the number of puzzles up to over 500 and while a lot of those are previously released free DLC there are 40 brand new ones as well, and you still get daily puzzles for a full year on top of that.
That’s in addition to 50 new outfits and all the original DLC ones, so you’re certainly not lacking for content. There’s also been an attempt to upgrade the graphics, although given the art style and heavy use of static, hand-drawn artwork that only makes so much difference. At least the Switch version has optional use of the touchscreen though, which curiously many 3DS ports do not.
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All of that is welcome but the main problem with the original is that most of the puzzles were a notch down in cleverness from the earlier entries in the series, seemingly because of the untimely death of contributor Akira Tago.
Even so, this is still a fun puzzle compilation that works particularly well on the Switch Lite. Whether it will help rejuvenate the series we don’t know but a new game starring the Professor is supposed to be underway and after this we’d certainly welcome him and his daughter back to the Switch.
CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL FULL REVIEW OF LAYTON’S MYSTERY JOURNEY
In Short: A welcome return for one of gaming’s greatest puzzle franchises, and while it’s not quite the best in the series it certainly has the most content.
Pros: Enormous amount of content, with hundreds of puzzles of every description and several dozen new ones. Kat is a likeable protagonist and the dialogue and animated cut scenes are a lot of fun.
Cons: The formula is essentially the same as it was back on the DS, let alone 3DS, and yet the overall quality of puzzles isn’t quite as high.
Formats: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 8th November 2019
Age Rating: 7
Layton’s Mystery Journey (NS) – everyone loves a good puzzle
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