Genre: Puzzle, Adventure
Platform: iPhone[Reviewed], Android, 3DS
Release Date: July 20th, 2017 (Mobile), October 6th, 2017 (3DS)
Although some might deny it (or choose to cover their eyes), the gaming industry have changed dramatically since 2007 – when the first iPhone launched worldwide. Portable gaming as we knew it reformed and shifted towards mobiles, pushing the already smaller market of the PSP and DS.
As of today, almost every AAA release gets a so-called companion app to expand the experience of the base game on the go. With that said, developing for Android and iOS does have a couple disadvantages; Most notably is the lack of proper controls, and the requirement to use the touch screen for moving and camera control. Additionally, both the Google Store and the App Store are filled with “rip-off” games that are not worth a mere penny.
That’s why Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy has completely caught me off guard. First, it’s a fully new Layton game release designed for mobile. Second, Level-5 released it on iOS/Android before its scheduled 3DS release. And last – the pricing structure is flexible and beneficial for gamers, almost to a fault.
Layton’s Mystery Journey unlike its predecessors, is a complete brand new experience in the Layton universe. The game follows Katrielle Layton, the daughter of the famous professor, who’s decided to open a private detective shop in the midst of London. Pretty soon she finds herself tangled in various police investigations. To match its portability appeal, the game is divided into multiple sequences, each with their own mystery to solve and set of puzzles. This implantation allows gamers to easily jump and return to action, even in quick bus rides.
Layton fans would be delighted to know that the puzzles featured in this game, which are the core mechanism in the series, are very similar to what we’ve came to know so far. The gameplay has been tweaked for mobile which isn’t too different considering the game’s point-and-click nature. Speaking about its content, each puzzle is followed with a colorful introduction that helps you visually understand the task at hand. With that said, I have to admit that some riddles were too obvious to solve, while other had an absurd answer that would have never crossed my mind even after spending all my hints.
To justify its 16$ MSRP, Level-5 have implanted an in app purchase (IAP) plan in the game. The base game which follows the main storyline is fully unlocked at purchase, but any additional puzzles and customs would require you to spend 2 dollars each. The 3DS version, scheduled for October of this year, would come with everything on board, but with a hefty 40$ price tag. In my opinion this structure was formed in order to make the game more appealing to the mass market, since a full priced app would have a hard time to compete with games in the 2$-10$ range. Moreover, this pricing method allows for flexibility, considering some of us would likely just want the base game to begin with.
In conclusion, Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy is a great game for its asking price (16$) and in my opinion should be a must-buy for any avid gamer or puzzle loving. I would even go as far and say that it stands at the same quality level of Rockstar’s iPhone releases – should I say more…
- Console quality on mobile
- Pricing structure
- Vivid animations
- Unique presentation
- Same as most Layton games
- Some puzzles are absurd