In Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, thoughtful puzzle design shows that the series is still at the top of its game.
- 3D environment investigation is fantastic, even with the 3D turned off
- Plenty of new puzzles
- Sharp, imaginative visuals
- Logical and rewarding mysteries to solve.
- Some puzzles will be too familiar to series veterans.
Despite the killer robots, masked megalomaniacs, and evil scientists in Professor Layton's universe, there's something endearing about a place in which all problems can be solved with a puzzle. If solving a riddle could defuse any situation, the world might very well be a better place. This kind of whimsical concept, coupled with a charming plot, is one of the largest appeals of the Layton games. And thankfully, that charm remains intact in Professor Layton & The Miracle Mask. The series' shift to 3DS has allowed developer Level-5 to revitalise the top hat-wearing hero, casting him in a bewitching new outing that makes fantastic use of the 3DS hardware with clever, rewarding puzzles and imaginative visuals. Miracle Mask is Layton at his intellectual best, and this thrilling adventure proves that he still has what it takes to crack the toughest of cases.
The plot of Miracle Mask follows on from last year's Spectre's Call (known as Last Specter in the US), with Layton, Luke, and Emmy being summoned to the mysterious tourist town of Monte d'Or, a Las Vegas-like city in the middle of a vast, arid desert in England. Clearly, Level-5 are happy to use some creative license in regards to UK geography, but that's part of the charm. The neon glowing signs and bustling main streets of Monte d'Or stand in stark contrast to Layton's academia and Luke's 19th century Cockney chimney sweep demeanor.
If it seems unusual to wax lyrical about the locations in a Layton game, all becomes clear once you see Monte d'Or rendered in glorious 3D. Gone are the (admittedly gorgeous) 2D backdrops, replaced by bustling three-dimensional areas that are rendered in a way that shows off the 3DS's more subtle capabilities. Areas appear on the top screen while you slide your pointer around using the touch screen, allowing you to peer left and right, up and down in 3D. The magnifying glass cursor pops into and out of the screen, disappearing off into the distance as you examine a building at the end of the street, then jumping to the foreground as you scroll over a character standing by you. At first, the new control method feels inaccurate since you're dragging and not tapping, but very soon it becomes second nature, and the tiny loss in accuracy is a fair trade-off given how great the system is.
This neat system even creates an illusion of depth with the 3D turned off by tilting the image and adjusting the cursor size. You can zoom in on points in the environment, often in order to peer around or behind objects. There's a real feeling of the world coming to life, and the use of 3D space is some of the most impressive to date on the handheld.
Additionally, the characters are now three dimensional models. This change allows for more cinematic moments, with in-engine cutscenes cropping up that enable the characters to interact with each other a little more dynamically than the traditional Layton method of putting conversing characters on either side of the screen, although there's still plenty of that too. Thankfully though, Level-5 hasn't done away with the gorgeous 2D animated cinematics either, and the fabulous Layton art style looks better than ever in subtle 3D.
I had one of these games and I couldn't find the fun in it. put me to sleep and made me try too hard to finish.
Well when I was considering buying a 3ds xl, I had to decide wether enough games had come out or were coming out to warrant buying a 3ds. So I decided to make a list of 3ds games and stop when enough games were on that list to make buying a new 3ds worth it. Ok, pull up a gamespot list of 3ds games. 1. Proffessor layton coming out in under a month....Ok, I think I've come up with a list long enough to make it worth buying, that was easy.
I've only ever played the first Layton game but I'm really interested in picking this one up. I had no idea it was coming out this month.
Wish they had made this for DS. The Layton games are great but not quite good enough to sell the 3ds to me.
Layton is the only reason I'm even entertaining the idea of purchasing a 3DS :P It's one of my favorite franchises.
I wish 3DS wasn't so much because I really want to play this. Isn't worth the cost of the system yet with how few games interest me.
I don't know what type games you like, but in the visual novel/puzzle genre alone the 3DS will be getting Layton, a new Phoenix Wright, Virtue's Last Reward, and hopefully Layton Vs. Wright. Seems like a lot right there.
It can't get here soon enough! Glad to hear it's more logical than the previous game, too. The silliness of the fourth game's ending made me nervous for what the future plots would be like.
Got my first game a few years back.... wow was it ever awesome. And they just keep getting better and better, and i cant wait! Layton rules!
It is hard to get tired of the Professor Layton games given how the puzzles and plot are so great.
Four games into the series, and I am as excited for this one as I was for the first one.