Mystery Solved: ‘Handwich’ Aside, ‘Layton’ Is A Winner

Layton.2Well, here’s a new one. I haven’t done a murder mystery game, probably because this is the only good one I’ve ever found. (Not that I don’t review bad games, but if it’s so bad I tear up after making fun of it… I tend to not publish those). Professor Layton is a new entry to the iOS market after jumping over from the Nintendo DS, to an even smaller handheld device, your iPod/ iPhone. So let’s put on our detective caps, grab our deductive reasoning shoes and delve into the depths of Layton Brothers: Mystery Room!

I’m not going to spoil much on this one, because it’s actually a really sweet game, so all of this review will be based on the first level. I apologize ahead of time that this will not be as much of an in-depth look. But it’s in the name of preventing spoilers. So the game starts out, and you are a brand new detective, and you’ve been assigned to the back, back room of the police station, where all the cases that can’t be solved go. Being the ever-optimist, your character (Lucy Baker), makes the best of it.

Apparently Dora the Explorer grew up. And grew a mustache.

Apparently Dora the Explorer grew up. And grew a mustache.

After a brief conversation with “Dora” and her new found facial hair, you get sent to the back room to meet your new detective partner.

Turns out that your partner is none other than Alfendi Layton, and you get to use his amazing crime scene-rebuilding machine. So not only do you get to be optimistic, you also get to be the laziest detective known to mankind and not even leave the police station. So far I was psyched up. I love murder mysteries and the first real case is some lady sprawled on a table with her hand inside of a sandwich. No typos here folks. Check the below screenshot.

This sandwich tastes like… pain!

This “handwich” tastes like… pain!

After an intro that shows how his machine recreates the crime scene you get to actually interact with the 3D representation of the original crime. I investigated the key points, and the level was fairly easy. PROTIP: Zoom waaaaaaay in on the potted plant if you can’t find the murder weapon.

There was a pretty good twist at the end, so as easy as the level was, it wasn’t who it built up to be. All of the information leads you in one direction, but there are subtle clues to the other. If you catch all of the key points and listen to the evidence as it is explicitly given to you, it points to none other than… MR. T!

I PITY THE FOOL WHO ACCUSES ME OF MURDAH!

I PITY THE FOOL WHO ACCUSES ME OF MURDAH!

After nearly choking on my lunch after seeing this guy pop on screen, in all his parody glory, I further investigated the scene. Searching through the sandwich… yes, literally looking at the contents inside the sandwich. And by using my incredible deductive powers… who am I kidding? The game FORCES the answer down your throat…

Oh well, all right, thanks game. I could have hinted at the answer just a little lighter; I still would have caught what you’re trying to get me to see. But in all truthfulness, I fell for the trap. I took the obvious evidence bait, and missed the little details.

Who decided “hey our first mystery should involve a lady with a hand in a sandwich”?

Who decided “hey our first mystery should involve a lady with a hand in a sandwich”?

All of the little pieces finally taken into account, I figured it out, it wasn’t MR. T, but  <SPOILER>! How could I have been so silly?! So, first case down, and many to go. I was really surprised with the high quality on this title. I felt very much at home playing this, it could have very well been a $19.99 Nintendo DS game, and instead, it’s for the iOS, for free! So go snag it, and enjoy!

Graphics: Rating-Bar5

I would swear this was a Nintendo DS title. No it’s not high polygon counts, or amazing raster effects, but it’s solid. A real great example of what gaming should look like on phones.

Gameplay:

A bit on the easy side at first and hopefully it fleshes itself out as the game goes on, but the content is great. Lots of things to look at and investigate and the user interface is flawless. While I wished for more multiple dialog stems, I assume that will come in future missions.

Audio:

Fair for what I would expect out of a title of this type. However there is way more than enough room for improvement. Ambient audio is also fair and the music can get a bit annoying. This could have been done much better.

Innovation:Rating-Bar2

Well it’s been done before, but there’s nothing wrong with that. As usual, a low score in this category does not indicate a bad game.

Overall:

It’s an interesting game, and right up my alley, I urge anyone who enjoys mysteries, to grab this and give it a go, it might not be for everyone, but I was really glad I found this gem. Please do note that only the first two levels of this game are free, and the remainder of the game is an in-app purchase.


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