Mobile Review: Layton Brothers Mystery Room
Posted on Thursday, June 27 @ 16:00:00 Eastern by Daniel Bischoff
Title: Layton Brothers Mystery Room
Professor Layton's been solving cases since 2007, but the series has been relegated to Nintendo's handhelds, cutting off a wide segment of gamers from puzzle-solving bliss. The simple brain-benders and teasers match perfectly with the pace and characterization that have carried the series through five releases in five years. Thankfully, the premise and mechanics are perfectly matched to mobile platforms and now millions of iOS gamers can try the formula for free.
Of the nine different murder cases available in Mystery Room, two are completely free and represent the best of Layton. You can rotate crime scenes with the touchscreen and tap items of interest to get a closer look. Inspecting, logging evidence, and then interrogating suspects provide a nice one-two-three of interactivity and nothing takes too long that you'll miss a bus stop or whatever you're doing on the go.
Plus, I absolutely love the UI and presentation in this iOS release. 3D textures and models might seem a little bland, but the menu buttons, crime-scene controls, and light-hearted dialogue make Layton Brothers one of my favorite iOS games in recent memory. What's more, it's got some stellar character design.
Alfendi Layton and Lucy Baker make up the Mystery Room crew within Scotland Yard and every character they meet seems to push the entertaining and friendly designs from Level-5 further and further. I couldn't help but fall in love with Florence Sich, the team's forensics expert who rides around in an ambulance. Mystery Room's art direction reminds me more of Lupin the Third than it does Layton, but diehard fans of the series will find the same understated lines and primary colors.
Still, the best part of Mystery Room is the fact that you can try the first two cases and get hooked on the characters for zero dollars and zero cents. I'm a relative newcomer to the series, and despite enjoying the most recent 3DS release quite a bit, this makes the water much warmer for anyone wondering exactly what Level-5's puzzle series is all about. It's a completely non-threatening and engaging way to try your hand at this wonderful franchise.
If you love it, great. The remaining seven cases are available in two reasonably prices in-app purchase packs, Cases 3-6 and 7-9. There's also a pretty neat hook in the free cases that will get you engaged with the overarching story. There's no excuse for not trying Level-5's addicting and intriguing gameplay now... um, you know, unless you have an Android device instead.
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