I wouldn’t consider myself the go-to person for mobile games, but Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy is not the typical game you’d find on the app store. For the most part, mobile games are usually free-to-play and offer incentives to those who binge for hours or extra power to those who are willing to put money into the game. I applaud Level-5 for doing something a bit different with Layton’s Mystery Journey, but sadly they may have tapped the wrong market — this game has more potential on other platforms.
Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy begins by introducing the player to Katrielle Layton, the daughter of the famous Professor Layton who has popularized the franchise over the years. She has recently opened up her own detective agency to assist Londoner’s with any mystery they need solving.
From the opening scene, it’s evident that Level-5 put a lot of work into setting up this new cast of characters for the game’s story. The writing is clever and witty, giving each character a role to play throughout the game as well as fleshing out their respected personalities early on. Katrielle is an ambitious detective who strives to be the best. She lacks a filter and pretty much just says whatever comes to the top of her head. She brings a great deal of charm to the game which adds to the enjoyable experience of the story.
Additionally, Katrielle’s first case is a rather interesting one that involves a talking dog named Sherl who has amnesia. However, Katrielle puts his case on the backburner to take on other cases, only because they seem “more interesting.” Sherl ends up accompanying Katrielle on her other cases as an aid as well as a means to balance out her ambitious attitude. Also joining along, we have Ernest Greeves who is Katrielle’s self appointed assistant and is around if only to help the detective… but mostly slip in a chance to slyly flirt with her, with the most innocent of intentions.
Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy has some great animations and voice overs which makes it so much more than a typical mobile game in my opinion. Gameplay allows players to travel around town and search through crime scenes as well as interrogate citizens about the primary case. During these scenes it’s possible to find extra dialogue between the characters, small souvenir items, and “Hint Coins.”
Furthermore, this is where the player will be offered primary and secondary puzzles, the latter of which can be skipped and taken on at a later time. Sadly, this may be where the game lacks the most because puzzles are the core element of the Layton series. Instead of focusing on a one long case, Layton’s Mystery Journey has the player participate in multiple small puzzles throughout the course of the game. Some of which can feel shoehorned in as an attempt to beef up the game.
Specifically, secondary puzzles often just repeat themselves and serve no common theme with the case at hand. Granted they can be skipped over, but in order to receive all the points available the player needs to solve them.
That’s not to say that the primary puzzles aren’t as charming as the story itself; the ones encountered in the later parts of game can be quite difficult. In all honesty, I had a lot of fun following the primary cases from beginning to end. However, in the case of Layton’s Mystery Journey’s secondary puzzles can come off as a distraction that kept me from the more interesting story.
Over the game, the player will unlock “Picarats,” a point system that is given for completing difficult puzzles. These points are then used to unlock special top secret files which offer an incentive to those who go out of their way to complete both primary and secondary puzzles. Additionally, there are daily puzzles that can be downloaded and completed for “Museum Points” which are used to unlock scenes from the previous Layton titles.
I’d like to add that the music in Layton’s Mystery Journey’s is awesome. Each scene is accompanied by a wonderful soundtrack that sets the mood perfectly. This added to the quality of the game and made it a requirement to take my phone off on silent in order to hear all the wonderful music this game has to offer.
I feel like Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy’s amazing story quality makes it fail as a mobile game because I can’t play it when I’m standing in line at Starbucks or sitting in the back of Lyft. The game requires the full attention of the player as it presents long scenes of dialog, sometimes deep puzzle descriptions, and set pieces that are full of areas to interact with. As for in-app purchases, the game offers new dresses for Katrielle to wear as she hits the streets to look for clues.
There’s is so much content in Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy which justifies the one-time purchase. Even though this is clearly a game for another platform, it can pass as a console quality game on your mobile phone. With the less interesting puzzles aside, the difference between the two series is clear and I appreciate Level-5 for making something different that can potentially begin a new series of games in this universe, albeit more light hearted than the original Layton series. The question fans need to ask themselves is: do they purchase the game now or wait for the Nintendo 3DS version, which might cost a little more.