Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy Review
The Professor Layton series has been around for a little over a decade pioneering as one of the more well-known puzzle adventure game series on Nintendo handheld consoles. With the focus always being on Professor Layton and his apprentice Luke Triton, they’ve held the spotlight for a solid amount of time but that all changes with this newest installment. This time around Katrielle Layton, Professor Layton’s daughter, takes center stage as she continues the detective work and puzzle solving her father was well-known for all while searching for him as he’s gone missing.
The game itself is not as linear as past installments and doesn’t feel like there is a strong overarching story holding it all together aside from the reoccurring characters and search for Professor Layton. Instead, the game is broken up into a number of cases with varying puzzles that feel like bite-sized chunks perfect for the on-the-go nature of mobile devices. It’s suitable for quickly jumping in and out of the game, but for those who want to sit down and truly take it in may find it a tad bit lacking.
“The game itself is not as linear as past installments and doesn’t feel like there is a strong overarching story holding it all together”
Due to the long-running previous cast, Katrielle and her friends have big shoes to fill but manage to do it effortlessly as they do a superb job in bringing the lively detective work and puzzle solving energy the series is known for. While puzzles are usually hit-or-miss from person to person, this installment’s puzzles were mostly enjoyable, logical, and satisfying while others were just downright frustrating or much too simple. Nonetheless, there are numerous puzzles to solve so that no matter who plays it will find at least one puzzle they were somewhat satisfied with – even if just a little. With a mix of riddles, problem-solving, and logic, there’s an abundance of puzzle types that’ll keep you busy. Acquiring puzzles within the story was largely random as it would usually be handed to Katrielle by the people within the city leading to clues for solving the case at hand.
Navigating through the story is a mix of visual novel dialogues, animated cutscenes, and interactive searching for evidence and clues in the immediate environment. The dialogue does go on for a tad bit too long and quite slowly at times, but if you’re used to the visual novel setting with loads of fluff text to read through, this will be a walk in the park. Katrielle and her friends will go to a handful of places to search for hints and evidence to solve the current case they are tasked with. This is dependent on the player in which clicking and navigating through the environment will trigger events and story progression. While some of the navigating was rather tedious, it fits into the adventure portion the series is known for.
While the game was set up to launch on mobile devices first then the Nintendo 3DS console a few months later, it’s interesting to consider how the game will fare on the two different devices. While this review was performed on an iOS device, I can tell you now that it is a fitting game for mobile devices as not only does the game’s pacing and structure feel natural, but also the interface itself with its touchscreen capabilities. It’s superb for an on-the-go mobile setting and 3DS as well but feels more like an app game than a full-fledged 3DS game. It’s something to easily exit and return to without feeling like you’ve missed out or forgot too much, but could also decently be something to sit through and enjoy for a good chunk of time.
“Katrielle Layton and her friends do a superb job in bringing this newest installment to life on mobile screens.”
Aside from the adventure and puzzle solving, there are other features in the game that allow you to do things like change Katrielle’s outfit or even decorate her office. There’s also quite a bit to explore in the game as you utilize a map to return to places or discover new ones. Having the opportunity to do things unrelated to the mystery being investigated between cases is a nice escape and way to get to know the world of this new Layton.
Visually the game looks great with the full range of colors, 3D models, and cutscenes truly showing the charms of the series. Voice acting is also equally as superb providing humour and life to the characters.
Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy is a solid entry in the Professor Layton series as it continues to bring the charming and loveable worlds of puzzle solving and detective work together. While nearly all aspects of the game shine, it’s the collective story that is supposed to bring the cases together that is lacking. That said, the game is suitable for mobile devices in the sense that individual cases are quick and easy to exit and jump back into, which is perfect for quick puzzle solving sessions. Nonetheless, Katrielle Layton and her friends do a superb job in bringing this newest installment to life on mobile screens.
**A mobile code was provided by the publisher**
- Cases are quick and easy to return to
- Solid interface for mobile
- Visually pleasing
- Quirky and loveable characters
- Puzzles are mostly satisfying
- Some puzzles are frustrating
- No strong overarching story
- Dialogue runs too long at times