Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask Review
You will once again get to jump back into the shoes of the world famous Professor Layton as you go on yet another mysterious adventure, this time to a town built on an Oasis where dreams are made, and miracles are witnessed. You have received a letter from an old childhood friend who asks, cryptically, for help. You'll be tasked with going to that city, having to relive some of Layton's most private memories of his youth, and stop a masked man who is performing "Dark Miracles" around the city.
Graphically this is the first time that Layton has stepped into the 3DS handheld. I have to say that even though it was fun to have the 3D on, I enjoyed the game much more in the traditional 2D. When you had characters striking up a conversation, it was fun to see 3D models of them, but at the same time I didn't find it an improvement that made me want to use the 3D of the 3DS. I do have to say that having the 3D on while searching a room did have an interesting effect as different layers of the background moved at different speeds that allowed the user to definitely feel more depth when it came to the different locations you were going to be searching, however there are times where you'll be switching layers without realizing it and it can be quite disorienting if you try to move your stylus around too fast on the screen.
I always enjoy the dialogue spoken in the game, and I'm always left wishing that they didn't drop into text only at sometimes what seems random intervals. The music of course is the sounds that you've heard from Layton games forever now (well maybe not forever, but they are the same tunes you've heard before).
The controls are an interesting thing in this Professor Layton game. There's more of a variety when it comes to solving puzzles or exploring the ruins (you'll see when you get to that part).
So you've been tasked with getting to the bottom of what is going on in this desert town raised out of nothing by an old childhood friend. When you arrive there you'll be interacting with quite a few people that Layton remembers from his past. You'll also get to interact in his past to give you a truly unique view of how Layton became the man he is today, as well as what his hairstyle was before he donned his recognizable hat. There are a ton of different puzzles sprinkled throughout the game, and one of my favorite features is that you can always go back and play the puzzles you missed while you're progressing through the game. There were definitely some puzzles where I had to practically use all my hint coins to beat, but at the end of the day I loved the complexity that some of the puzzles gave, as well as the feeling of not overdoing a specific type of puzzle. You're going to have your two trusty assistants to help you out, and you're definitely going to find that there is much more to this place than first meets the eye. I feel like that's always the case when it comes to Layton games, but I have to say I wouldn't have it any other way. The thing that's always impressed me about Layton games is that even though its on a handheld and is labelled a puzzle game, there's true depth to the game and it always hooks me from start to finish. This is something that I find rarely in the games that I play. With this game I was always looking for an excuse to get one more puzzle in, or to discover one more hidden secret of the game.
If you're looking for a solid game to play on the 3DS that features a solid story, challenging puzzles, and the ability to have you coming back for more, than this is the game for you. I do have to say that I figured out one of the twists of the game early, but at the same time the game is good enough that it didn't truly ruin it for me. This game gets a 9.4 out of 10.