“Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask” Review
If you’ve played one “Professor Layton” game, you know what you’re getting yourself into. Puzzles, eccentric characters, and a town full of mysteries all await you in the newest outing, “Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask”. With the Professor making the transition to 3D, does this latest entry live up to the series standards?
Having experienced all of the prior games in the Layton series, I will start by saying the “Miracle Mask” is not the best entry in the series’ story, but might be the most well-developed entry. The main storyline takes a similar path as prior entries – the Professor receives a letter asking for his assistance in a pressing matter plaguing a town. A series of mysteries appear to be solved, and the Professor is always up to the task. The one downside to this entry’s plot is that the answer to the main mystery becomes quite apparent early on, with you having figured out the answer while the rest of the cast is still unsure. Yet, the other mysteries remain surprising when the answers are revealed, and even though the main mystery is not a shocker, it is still very well done. This is mainly a result of the great relationships developed between the characters over the course of the game, and the more personal nature of this entry.
As the story follows the usual Layton formula, so does the gameplay. Many puzzles await to be solved, though this collection of puzzles is one of the easier sets in the series. To complement these puzzles is an array of side activities to do, from robot mazes, to rabbit training, to running a shop. This leaves a good amount of gameplay to be enjoyed outside of the main story. One nice change made to the series in this entry is the addition of new gameplay elements. For example, one section has you chasing the main villain on horseback, dodging obstacles, while another section controls like a top-down dungeon crawler. These additions break the pace of the usual point-and-click style sequence and are a nice evolution of the classic Layton gameplay.
As far as the graphics go, Layton has made the leap to three-dimensional character models. At most points, the standard 2D models and hand-drawn backdrops are still there, but certain scenes allow these 3D figures to take stage. The series could benefit from using more of these 3D models, as they look great amidst the carefully crafted city.
Lastly, the sound work must be mentioned. The Layton series has always had top-notch voice work, and this entry is no exception. The main cast sound great, and all the eccentric characters have voices to match their quirks. As far as the soundtrack goes, “Miracle Mask” features more high quality compositions alongside some standard Layton tunes that, together with the nicely crafted story, make the experience even better.
As usual, the latest Professor Layton entry is a high quality puzzle game with a great story.
Final Score: 8.5/10