The iconic Professor Layton’s daughter, Katrielle, has set up a Detective Agency all of her own in a fictionalised version of London. With her assistant Ernest and a talking dog called Sherl, she pledges to help anyone who walks through their door with the mantra “Any Mystery Solved”. But Katrielle barely has time to recover from a dog talking to her before an Inspector from Scotland Yard arrives …
This initial not-so-simple case begins a disjointed plot involving the Dragons, a group of impossibly wealthy individuals in London, as well as a couple of extra mysteries thrown in for good measure. With story fleshed out by a clutch of fantastic and likeable support characters, including a couple of familiar faces, the end result is a charming enough little romp through London.
Layton’s Mystery Journey is laid out as a set of Cases, each with an absurdly obscure conundrum to solve including – but not limited to – missing pets, potential murder, and impossible robberies. You likely know how to solve these by now, but you do this by exploring the surrounding areas, talking to the various denizens of London, and solving the array of puzzles that are hidden absolutely everywhere.
Much like previous of the game, all of the puzzles are worth a certain amount of Picarats, an amount which drops a little with each failed attempt to overcome the puzzle. Also returning are the Layton Hint Coins that can be found by tapping on literally every single thing in the background, and which can be traded in for often entirely unhelpful hints to the solutions for the puzzles.
Quick aside, but doesn’t anyone wonder why there are puzzles just hidden in chimneys, bank vaults, and carried around by random people in his world? Just me? Alright.
The puzzles themselves are varied, if sometimes a little insulting in their solutions. This is especially true when the wording of the puzzles is off just enough to cloud the answer. Sadly, this is common across puzzles throughout the game; they’re not quite as inspired or creative or even as clever as they have been in the series prior, and it drags the whole thing down.
Something that the game does very well is the sheer amount of additional nonsense you can indulge in, with plenty of mini-games to distract yourself. These mostly take the form of smaller puzzle boxes that have similar theming. So, if you need a break from all of the high stakes investigations and more serious puzzling, check out Passers By or Hound in the Pound.
There are also daily puzzles that can be downloaded, should the copious amounts hidden in the main game and mini-games not satisfy your need for brainteasers. They’re grouped by type of puzzle, and get steadily more difficult to solve as you progress. They suffer from similar frustrations that most of the other puzzles have, but more content is great, I guess.
Or you can just spend altogether too much time redecorating the office and buying new clothes for Katrielle and Sherl to wear like I did. It’s really up to you.
One area the game definitely doesn’t disappoint is with in the visuals, because this is one gorgeous game. The animated cutscenes that the series is known for are present and correct and look better than ever – especially with a docked Switch throwing them up on the big screen. The voice acting is phenomenal too, bringing a lot of character and humour to the dialogue, especially with the delightful Katrielle herself.
Sadly, the music in Layton’s Mystery Journey doesn’t live up to the standards set by the excellent visuals, with a bland set of songs providing the backing to our London investigations. Coupled with the beautifully drawn, but ultimately uninspired backgrounds, it just seems disappointingly far from the creativity of the world design we saw earlier in this series.
Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy is more Layton, but with a host of endearing new characters and a healthy dollop of puzzles. Unfortunately, they’re weaker, more contrived tests of your mind than previously. Katrielle and the stellar supporting cast really boost the experience, as do those stunning cutscenes, but the sum of its parts is less than I expect from a Layton title.