* Prices may differ from that shown
Ah perhaps I'm biased, but I adore the series - and what a fantastic addition this was on the new console. Essentially, you start in a city name Monte d'Or, where a mysterious man in a golden mask (the Masked Gentleman) is terrorising the city with what seems to be magic on almost a Messiah scale. You are accompanied by your apprentice Luke and your friend Emmy to solve the Mystery of Monte d'Or. The 3d works exceptionally well in this game for the cut scenes, and the graphics are indeed a step up from the earlier games (without losing any of it's charm).
Fans of the game will appreciate going back to Laytons (playable) past and finding out about where the protagonists fascination for archaeology - you will perhaps be startled by what you find out. However, the game is certainly not solely for those who have played it before, and is indeed accessible for newbies.
The puzzles (150 in game, plus 365 daily puzzles and additional bonuses/mini games) are challenging, but also simple enough in premise for the whole family to take a stab at. Finding 'hint coins' and navigating is easier than ever, and the world feels bigger than any earlier game. The game is still overflowing with the same charm and humour Layton fans have grown accustomed to.
If you're worried about buying this before any other Layton game, they are not entirely in chronological order, so all the games are fine to start with. This one I believe is one of the 'prequel' games to the first.
~*~*~ Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask ~*~*~
~~~~~ What is it? ~~~~~
This is the fouth game in the Professor Layton series following on from Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Professor Layton and Pandora's Box and Professor Layton and the Lost Future.
This game Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask has only been released on Nintendo 3DS which means it can be played in 3D.
They have all followed their own story lines and this is no different.
It was released on 26th October 2012.
~~~~~ Why did I buy it? ~~~~~
I am a massive fan of the Professor Layton series and have bought and played all of the other so far. I was disappointed to find that this one was being released on the 3DS only as my hubby bought me a DSi for Christmas and I was hoping to use that again but my son has a 3DS which he has so kindly leant to me for the time being.
I have to confess that I do not play the game in 3D mode as you are supposed to limit this but I have put it on 3D and it is very effective and looks really good. The graphics are fantastic for an animation type game.
~~~~~ Gameplay ~~~~~
If you are unaware of the Professor Layton games you will not know that the games follow a storyline and along the way you have to solve puzzles, some are for fun and others allow you to progress through the game. They are adventure games where you travel through the story finding out all the information you need to know.
The games go through chapters much like a book, but through the chapters you will see small films showing clips of whatever we need to know. This makes it really easy to follow and keeps me interested until the very end.
The characters do not speak all of the time sometimes you will simply get the speech bubbles that you need to click through but now and again the characters will talk.
Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle is set in the city of Monte d'Or. Professor Layton and his apprentice Luke have travelled there after Hershal Layton receives a letter from an old high school friend Angela Ledore. Layton and Luke are also joined by his assistant Emmy who we met in the last game.
There are strange happenings going on in Monte d'Or and Angela has invited Layton to solve the problems.
In the game we see Layton eighteen years before in his high school days where we meet Angela and his friend Randall.
I have to say I was captivated and drawn in straight away and I have completed the game already but I still have puzzles to download everyday for a whole year and also little missions to complete.
Arriving in Monte d'Or we have to guide Layton, Luke and Emmy through the streets meeting various people along the way, as we meet and greet we are given puzzles to solve, some puzzles are easy, some hard but thats they way it works.
Angela has called upon Layton to solve the mystery that is terrorising the city, the mystery of the Masked Gentleman who has prophesied dustruction!
The city holds a daily parade and during one we see panic and madness as people are assumingly turned into stone statues. The Masked Gentleman appears taunting the people of the city and Layton, Luke and Emmy take off after him on horseback where you have to guide the horse around the obstacles by swiping at the touchscreen with your stylus.
As time goes on you will come across the Masked Gentleman more and it becomes your aim to find out the truths of Monte d'Or.
~~~~~ My thoughts ~~~~~
This is excellent. I am really pleased with this game and the storyline is quite gripping, it's almost like reading a book or watching a film where you get sucked in and want to know more and more, but in order to find out more you have to keep playing the game and make your way through the city. As you walk through you will meet various people, just people of the city and tourists who will give you puzzles to complete. You know when you have a puzzle task as the object or person tapped will show a large red exclamation mark. To move through the city you have to use the bottom touch screen on the 3DS console and touch the magnifying glass in the top right corner, this will allow you to tap objects and people, some objects will give you 'hint coins' these are coins that you can spend to get clues to puzzles. Clues 1, 2 and 3 will cost you 1 coin each, the fourth Super Hint will cost 2 coins so bear that in mind as you are playing as the more you use the less coins you have for harder puzzles!
Yellow directional arrows will pop up on the screen which is how you move around, just tap where you want to go.
You can save the game at any point throughout by simply tapping on the trunk you will see various tabs including save, it also invites you to save the game at the end of every chapter.
As you tap your way around you will also find a host of ' Collectable Items ' these will be stored in the trunk.
The game has brilliant short cut scenes which make it all the more realistic. I don't feel like I am playing a game as the stories always suck me in!
Layton, Luke and Emmy each have their own 'things' to do. Opening up the trunk will show you the things and you can click on these at any point to do something different. Luke for example has to train a rabbit. You get to choose between two bunnies and then pick a name, after that you have to teach him/her tricks to perform in the circus. All will become more apparent as you progress through the game. I really don't want to spoil the story for anyone but I have to add how superb the game is. I have found them all to be excellent and I cannot pick a favourite between them as they all have something special about them.
This game has 150 puzzles in the main game and it also offers a spectacular 365 daily puzzles to download. This is done via the main menu where you choose the ' Bonus ' tab and pick Daily Puzzles from that screen, it's a very simple and easy procedure to follow.
This game does offer all new puzzles and all are just excellent. I have completed some with no problems and others I have struggled with but I love it all the same.
If you like puzzle games then this is a definate for you as it's packed full of them.
Puzzles offer Picarats and if you get the puzzle on the first attempt you will get the full amount, if you need to keep trying the picarat value will drop until the third attempt and then it will just stick at the lower value, picarats are points and the more you get the better, this allows you to unlock extras in the Bonuses.
~ Character List ~
* Taken from web - List of main character through game *
*Professor Hershel Layton - His skill in mastering puzzles and solving mysteries has earned the professor popularity all around the world. He is a professor of archeology in London at Gressenheller University. This professor didn't always have an interest in archaeology.
*Luke Triton - Layton's apprentice and son of Layton's good friend, Clark Triton. He accompanies Layton throughout his adventures. He is 11 years old, and is more than a help when it comes to solving puzzles.
*Emmy Altava - This 26 year old assistant to Professor Layton has quite the fighting spirit. She is able to defend the party, and is described as a heroine.
*Randall Ascot - This rich young man was the professor's best friend. He sparked Layton's interest in archaeology.
*Mrs. Ascot - She was Randall's mother. She lives with Angela and Henry at Ledore mansion.
*Angela Ledore - Writes a letter to Professor Layton asking for his assistance. Her true age of 35 is masked by her beauty. She married one of Monte d'Or's millionaires, Henry Ledore.
*Bronev Reinel - This man is shrouded in mystery. He knows the relationship between Layton and Jean Descole.
*Jean Descole - This scientist's true motives are unknown. He knows Layton, but how?
*Henry Ledore - The 35 year old man helped create the Monte d'Or it is today. Through the town's success, he is now a millionaire, though when he was younger, he was a servant for the Ascot family.
*Alphonse Dalston - Another millionaire resident of Monte d'Or, and somewhat of a rival to Henry Ledore. He attended high school with Hershel, Angela, and Randall.
*Clamp Grosky - Inspector from Scotland Yard. He is very strong and energetic, though he lacks many proper reasoning skills. He is the inspector that appears in the games before Inspector Chelmey-who appears in the games later in the series.
*Sheffield - Monte d'Or's chief of police. He has a lot of respect, despite not being a native to the city. He lacks the many qualities of a detective.
*Leonard Bloom - One of Scotland Yard's most prominent and experienced inspectors. He was sent to Monte d'Or along with Grosky to investigate the supernatural events. He has the ability to see through criminal's tricks and deception.
~ Price & Availability ~
This game is priced at between £30 - £40. I bought mine in Argos for £29.99 but it is available in supermarkets and any other places where games are available. You'll also find it at many places online.
~ Is it worth it? ~
It's like a sequel in films, if you enjoyed the others then of course it is more than worth it. This one has it's own storyline, it has new items, new puzzles and I do like the story line. I do think it is worth it but if you haven't liked the others then I wouldn't bother as it does have the same principle but different story and different puzzles. I really loved them all so this is something I said I wanted as soon as I saw it mentioned online. My hubby bought it for me as he knows how much I loved the others.
~ The look ~
To avoid any confusion the boxes have all been different colours, this box is mainly coloured in purple, the front shows Layton, Luke and Emmy in circle and above them sits the mask.
~ Any bad points? ~
I have nothing bad to say about the game at all, my only disappointment is that it is only available for the 3DS's which I think is quite wrong. I was bought a DSi for Christmas so I could have the Professor Layton games but I now cannot use it for this as the cartridge doesn't fit it. I do hope they decide to bring it out on the DS format as I would expect that other people are in the same predicament. I am lucky that my son has a 3DS here for me to use but I don't suppose people want to go out and spend £100+ on a console to play one game when they already have a perfectly good DS.
Other than that everything is perfect, and what I really love is that they still have the same voices and look and it's all following on very nicely indeed.
*** I am tempted to mark it down a star due to the fact it is available for 3DS only but I am so impressed with the game I don't think that would be being totally fair so I will give it 5/5 but based on the game only. This does not hide my disappointment that it isn't available in every DS format. ***
Thanks for reading :o) x