Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition Review — A Case Worth Solving
Layton’s Mystery Journey for Nintendo Switch is the latest foray into the Layton franchise, but is this brand new port worth investigating?
First released for iOS and Android back in 2017 with a Nintendo 3DS release several months later, Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy was a return of Level-5’s once popular puzzle franchise.
The change in protagonist from Professor Hershel Layton to his daughter Detective Katrielle Layton breathes new life into the series — in both the cast of characters themselves and the way gameplay and story are approached. Along with the simple yet enjoyable new puzzles, the updated graphics, and improved UI, the Deluxe Edition on Switch is not only a great way for old fans to return to the franchise, but an excellent jumping-on point for new players to dive into the Layton series.
Layton’s Mystery Journey follows Katrielle Layton, the daughter of the famous Professor Layton, as she starts her own detective agency to assist Londoners with any mysteries they may need solving.
As she opens up for business, a curious talking dog approaches her and asks for her help in retrieving his lost memories. Katrielle, who takes the whole ordeal in stride, names him Sherl and decides to aid him along with her self-appointed assistant, Ernest Greeves. Along the way, Katrielle solves a number of other cases that she hilariously deems more important and interesting than “just” a talking dog, while uncovering secrets from a long lost and more personal mystery of her own.
Unlike previous entries, the plot is broken up into several shorter cases versus having a single overarching storyline. It’s a unique way to freshen up the formula while matching perfectly with Katrielle’s chosen profession.
There are still plenty of well-entrenched series trademarks that give longtime players plenty of familiarities to cling too, however. The gameplay is comprised solely of puzzles to solve that are either directly related to the case at hand or minor side puzzles that may be presented to you. In Layton’s Mystery Journey, this is broken up into Primary and Secondary puzzles; the former is related to case-relevant puzzles while the latter deal with any optional puzzles you come across.
Each successful puzzle solved rewards you with points called Picarats, which can be used to unlock special case files that reveal secret information concerning a certain mystery. Scattered around the various background environments are Hint Coins, which grant hints to players who may be stumped by a particular puzzle.
The puzzles themselves are creative and balance their straightforward premises with clever and unexpected solutions, without forgoing logic or reason in the process. Primary puzzles are by and large the best ones in the game, as the added plot relevancy makes them far more enjoyable. For some players, the Secondary puzzles might seem bland or even tacked-on, as they have little bearing on the overall story. But for past Layton fans, as well as puzzle fans in general, the opportunity to challenge yourself on so many unique puzzles is more than addictive on its own.
Naturally, this wouldn’t be a proper Layton title if it didn’t feature outstanding visuals, a gorgeous soundtrack, and quick-witted dialogue. Thankfully, Layton’s Mystery Journey delivers on all three areas in spades.
The graphics are a mix of 3D character models and hand-drawn backgrounds, which blend together to form a distinctive yet striking style that suits the quaint and charming atmosphere of the title. Each puzzle also features unique and adorable illustrations that portray the scenario in that puzzle’s synopsis — a small but lovely little touch.
There are also cutscenes sprinkled throughout the game and they are wonderfully animated, with a fluidity and liveliness that embodies the personality of the characters and world within each frame. It always reminds me of classic French animation and it’s one of my favorite aspects of the franchise.
The soundtrack is, as usual, an absolute standout. I’ve always been a huge fan of the music in the series and Layton’s Mystery Journey continues to deliver on that front with pieces perfectly molded to any given moment of the game while also being so well crafted they can be listened to independently. Not to mention, any soundtrack that can balance traditional instruments with an accordion deserves nothing but praise.
Layton’s Mystery Journey‘s writing is excellent all around. The characters are expressive, possess distinctive personalities and speech patterns, and have a fun sense of humor to boot. Not to mention how intriguing both the overall story and individual cases are with an almost magical ability to keep you thoroughly hooked from start to finish.
Now for the important question: what makes this version so special from any other release? Well, if you’re torn between all the different versions, the Nintendo Switch iteration is the best way to play Layton’s Mystery Journey. Not only are there more than 40 brand new puzzles to play through, there are also more than 50 unique outfits to collect as rewards through gameplay. Players also have access to two DLC outfits, “Daddy’s Girl” and “Luke Lookalike,” which were released as paid content in the original version.
The Deluxe Edition of the game has also been redesigned with an improved layout and enhanced graphics that have been remastered in HD. Said enhancements make the already impressive 3D models, painted backgrounds, and beautifully animated cutscenes pop even more. Not to mention,simply having a larger display for these visuals does them far more justice than a smaller phone screen or an equally tiny 3DS screen with an abysmal 240p resolution.
And since the Nintendo Switch offers a much larger screen, key clues and essential information for each puzzle are now viewable on one screen. This streamlines the interface and makes it both easier and faster to reference said information. The best part is that players get all these improvements and yet it’s still completely portable so you can indulge on the go with the best graphics possible.
All around, Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition is an easy recommendation for those new to either the series or game as the new puzzles, added content, upgraded visuals, and improved UI make this an excellent buy. For those who may have already purchased it, however, it’s much harder to recommend a repurchase due to a lack of compelling new features that would better differentiate between versions.
For those who do decide to indulge in the Nintendo Switch version, you’ll be getting a well-rounded and incredibly charming foray into a brand new adventure.