Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition Review
Follow the journey of Professor Layton's daughter, this time on the Switch.
The Professor Layton series first made its debut in the West back on the Nintendo DS in 2008 and later extended to 3DS across two trilogies and a crossover game with Phoenix Wright. Following the release of Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy in 2014, the series went on a hiatus until 2017 with a continuation of the series coming to Nintendo 3DS and mobile devices that followed Layton’s daughter Katrielle. While waiting on a new entry with either Katrielle or her father, Level-5 decided to give more players a chance to check out the latest entry in the series by bringing the game to the Nintendo Switch under the name Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition.
Professor Layton as a franchise started off pretty grounded with Professor Layton and the Curious Village before diving into topics like time travel and such, with Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy perhaps being the most fantastical, even as a prequel. Each of these prior games had an overarching plot to follow, with the mysteries throughout typically tying into said plot, but Layton’s Mystery Journey takes a more back to basics approach. After Hershel Layton literally had to help save the world, Level-5 felt he would not be a fitting protagonist for this style of game, which leads to his daughter taking over as the lead.
The game starts off with Katrielle having a strange nightmare about her missing father, Hershel, the day before she opens her own detective agency, following directly in his footsteps. She is accompanied by her assistant Ernest and a strange talking dog that shows up with amnesia, who she names Sherl. Early on, it seems the story is going to start by solving the mystery of Sherl’s amnesia, but that is quickly subverted with the first actual case in the game, which is the first of twelve total in the game. Taking this approach definitely does feel like a step back in some ways, as the game spanning mysteries were always a joy to watch unfold. However, there are still some plots that carry over throughout the game, so this structure is not gone entirely for those who prefer it.
Even as a handheld only series across the Nintendo DS and 3DS, the Professor Layton series still always managed to impress with its animated cutscenes that were found here and there throughout. Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy continues this trend with about 30 minutes or so of animated cutscenes that look like they would be right from a Studio Ghibli movie. Thanks to the ability to play the Nintendo Switch on a TV, this is the first time in the game series that fans have been able to experience these scenes in all their beautiful glory. It would have been nice to have additional scenes added in this version, but the 3DS roots of the game definitely hold the game back from having more of these.
Just like in past Layton games, the rest of the dialogue and storytelling is done through discussions between 3D character models that are superimposed on a static background. These character models are nothing special, but they definitely look better than they did on the 3DS and the mobile versions. As always, these can get a little wordy, though there is a lot of important information sometimes found in these conversations that can help you solve the various mysteries in the game.
The cases themselves found in Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition are fairly distinct from one another, even if you’re sometimes visiting some of the same areas. Each case has six clues for you to uncover, which are found through talking to the different characters or interacting with the correct objects. When you collect a clue, you will have to place the piece in a puzzle based on the theme of that case. This can be very simple to pull off here, making you wish there was a little more to this part. Once all six clues are collected for a case, you have the option to go ahead and solve or hold off and go try to find any missed puzzles or hint coins from this case. Solving the case then provides you with the actual conclusion of the case, including cutscenes and the movement towards the next case.
Alongside the mysteries found in Layton games, the central element are the various puzzles located throughout the game. These are found as always by talking to people or interacting with certain objects, which bring up a puzzle for you to solve. Most of these have you using the analog stick to select something or move items around to try and solve the puzzle. Depending on the difficulty, you will be rewarded with certain amount of Picarats, with this number reducing for subsequent tries if unsuccessful. Picarats are never vital to completing the game, but they can help to unlock things later.
As always, you can also utilize Hint Coins if you get stuck too, so make sure to find them when looking around each area. For the most part, the puzzles are just what you would expect from the series, though they don’t seem to have as much creativity to them as compared to the past. However, with the addition of new puzzles in this version, this game does have the largest collection of puzzles in the series to date, so that is quite an achievement. That is made even better with the return of Daily Puzzles, which you can download online to keep bringing you back to the game.
Professor Layton always felt right at home on the DS and 3DS thanks to the dual-screen setup, which allowed you to solve puzzles and investigate areas using the touchscreen. There is no question that the dual-screen setup was the easiest method, as it was easier to use memos and navigate your menus. Even so, Layton’s Mystery Journey still works quite well on the Nintendo Switch with the one screen setup, whether you are using the touchscreen in the handheld mode or using the analog stick to move in the cursor in docked mode.
The puzzles are just what you would expect from the series
Without the second screen, Layton’s Mystery Journey requires you to press X to open up your bag, which serves as your in-game menu. Katrielle’s bag is very versatile, as it has a lot of things you can select from within it. First and foremost is Kat’s Journal, which houses all of the clues you have collected for each case in the game. Knowing you have six to collect does take a little bit out of the mystery of the past games, but you can still take a look and see everything you have gathered here. Beyond these cases, you can also unlock what are known as Case Codas, which are little side story scenes that help to flesh out some of the other characters in the game.
Katrielle’s bag also houses a few different mini-games that you have to unlock in the game. The first of these is known as Ideal Meal, which has you cooking special meals for characters in the game. You can’t just cook them anything though, as you have to deduce what type of meal they want from clues. Passers Buy is the next mini-game, where you must place items around in a store to attract customers, with the goal obviously being to sell as many as possible. Lastly, you have Hound in the Pound, where you must guide Sherl through mazes by switching around blocks. Each of these are completely unnecessary, but do help to add to the amount of content available in the game.
While missing from the mobile releases of Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy, the Deluxe Edition of the game brings back the wardrobe feature from the 3DS game. This time around, you have not only the costumes that were available in the original base game, but also the ones that were available as DLC previously for free. In addition, there are more than 50 additional outfits that were added to the game that you can acquire by playing. To buy new wardrobe, you have to use the in-game Fashion Farthings to exchange for whichever ones you want, allowing you to dress up Katrielle and Sherl just how you wish.
The Professor Layton games have always been rather formulaic in their structure, with the stories and characters being what really sets it apart. Taking place years after the originals, Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition takes a back to basics approach with new lead Katrielle that focuses more on the individual cases than a large scale story that will keep your invested. There is no doubt that it is definitely a Layton game though, so those looking to scratch that puzzle solving itch will more than likely be satisfied with Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition.
Professor Layton has always targeted a very niche market and Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition also does just that. The lack of an overarching story and any drastic changes in the gameplay is a disappointment, but there’s just something charming about this series that will hopefully continue to grow from here after finally shedding the handheld only roots of the series moving forward.
- Available On: Nintendo Switch
- Published By: Level-5
- Developed By: Level-5
- Genre: Puzzle
- US Release Date: November 8, 2019
- Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch
- Quote: "Professor Layton has always targeted a very niche market and Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires' Conspiracy - Deluxe Edition should fit right in alongside the past games. The lack of an overarching story and any drastic changes in the gameplay is a disappointment, but there's just something charming about this series that hopefully will continue to grow from here after shedding the handheld only roots of the series moving forward."