November 8, 2019
Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy, besides being a mouthful to say, is a game that came out for the 3DS and mobile platforms in 2017. It’s the 7th main game in the Professor Layton series, but is the first to star a protagonist other than the titular Hershel Layton. Like its predecessors, it follows the heroes as they crack the mystery du joir, and try their hand and every single puzzle that comes their way.
Deluxe Edition brings the game to the Switch, along with some tweaks. The gameplay has been reworked so that it fits neatly inside the Switch’s single screen, and all animations have been ungraded to HD. All previous DLC for the game is included too, consisting of more than 40 puzzles and some cute outfits for Katrielle. It’s a good option for those who missed out on the 3DS to get all possible content in one package.
I never played the original on 3DS, but I have played many in the Layton series. I’ve always wished to be able to watch those beautiful animations on a large screen. It looks great on the Switch, and the ability to play it in docked mode means that the beautifully animated cut-scenes can now be enjoyed as they deserve. Even the in-game models look amazing on a bigger screen. The interface fits inside the Switch’s single screen so neatly that you wouldn’t have thought it had been separated into two at all.
Not a lot has changed since the first Layton game. Go to a new location, prod stuff in the environment until you get a reaction: either you’ll progress the plot, or encounter one of the dozens of optional puzzles each entry offers. This formula has worked for years, and with good reason: the series was built from the ground up with the DS in mind. But now this presents somewhat of a problem, now that the Deluxe Edition is…. not on the DS.
Part of the genius of the series has always been its intuitive control scheme. It’s all built around the DS stylus, which is why taking memos and drawing up solutions with it was such a breeze. The same cannot be said for Layton on the Switch.
What was your stylus is now a reticule, controlled by your joystick. Things like prodding at the environment for hint coins and taking notes for puzzles now feels awkward, not intuitive. It’s finicky, and it can take several tries to get your cursor where it needs to be. Using the D-pad instead cycles through the key points of interest, but doing it that way will miss out optional puzzles and other extras.
It’s a shame, because it puts a damper on what is otherwise the enjoyable Layton experience I know and love. The puzzles are varied and numerous, with a pretty good difficulty range as well. Puzzles you can’t solve (or don’t want to bother with) can most often be shelved for later.
Usually, Layton games tell a single story seperated into chapters. Layton’s Mystery Journey breaks from this tradition by telling several smaller stories that tie together in the end with an overarching plot.
Katrielle, her assistant Ernest, and their mysterious talking dog are thrust into various mysteries surrounding London’s most famous members of high society, the Seven Dragons. Each chapter is seperate, abliet with recurring characters. It creates a more episodic feel than the other entries in the series.
In theory I don’t mind this style of narrative, but it takes too long to get interesting. Katrielle spends her first few chapters solving stolen objects and runaway pets, making me feel like this was intended for an audience far younger than I. There’s certainly a lot for kids to enjoy, with silly yet endearing characters and entertaining dialogue.
“There’s no way you’ll run out of things
to do anytime soon.”
The Deluxe Edition adds more than 40 new puzzles to an already staggering number. Daily puzzles can be downloaded at no extra cost, so there’s no way you’ll run out of things to do anytime soon. In addition are the cute minigames available from the start menu, in case you need to take a break from your current case.
Katrielle now has even more new outfits, and all of them are adorable. I just had to put her in a new outfit for every case. I wish I could have dressed the Professor and Luke up in previous games. Not only is it a hoot, but it will get rid of the professor’s horrible orange shirt.
I’m confident that the main purpose for this port was to determine what kind of reception a brand new Professor Layton game might have on the Switch. And despite my complaints about the controls, I think it’s a series that would do very well – if only it does not continue to rely on DS functions that are no longer there. The World Ends With You: Final Remix is another DS game that had issues with porting the control scheme, so it’s clearly no easy task. It’s far too early to start feeling nostalgic over the 3DS, but time and time again I found myself reaching for a stylus that wasn’t there. If the new round of Layton games are designed with the Switch’s capabilities in mind, it could be a fresh start for the series.
- Good range of puzzle difficulty
- Looks amazing in HD
- All DLC included
- Takes too long to get interesting
- Controls don't translate well to Switch
I’m the wrong demographic to enjoy Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy. The plots and characters are too simple for me to be satisfied with the mystery, but someone younger will probably have a ball with it. As for the puzzles, well, they’re as fun as always. And really, that’s the most important thing.
As for this Deluxe Edition, there’s no particular reason I can recommend it given that Layton’s Mystery Journey is still available on the 3DS and mobile devices. The extra content is a little too light-on for it to make much of a difference. Unless you have a specific reason you’d like to see it on your TV, I would wait until a new Professor Layton game comes out instead. Hopefully when it does, it will bring something that could only be achieved on the Switch, in the same way the original did for the DS.