For a while people have joked about how the Nintendo Switch is slowly making the Wii U totally and completely irrelevant. This is probably for the best, given how many great games would go unplayed, something that is seemingly happening for the 3DS too. Among the first is Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition, a choice that makes a lot of sense. With it opening the door to a new series of games and being part of the beloved Layton series, it makes sense to bring the first game forward. However, given the changes over the past two years, is it worth checking out or does it rely too heavily on previous titles?
Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition starts with a rather intriguing premise. Katrielle, the daughter of the revered Hershel Layton, chooses to follow in her father’s footsteps of solving puzzles and mysteries by opening her own detective agency. She is more than willing to accept any mystery, resulting in a rather curious one by a talking dog named Sherl. All she has to do is figure out who Sherl is, but before she can do that Scotland Yard needs her.
Like most overarching stories, less important things, such as finding Big Ben’s missing hand, take precedence over larger stories like Sherl and finding Hershel Layton. While some progress is made in both cases, this adventure largely focuses on the Seven Dragons and figuring out their secrets. It’s an interesting story that is largely sold by the colorful cast of characters and charming puzzles.
Gameplay comes down to two modes. There is one where you investigate and another that involves solving puzzles. Investigation is largely looking around an area and questioning people or examining things. Sometimes an investigation will lead to a puzzle or a potential clue to solve the case. In the event you get a puzzle, these test various parts of your brain.
What stands out about Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition and really the Layton series in general is offering a diverse range of challenges. Nothing is beyond the grasp of a child, though there are optional hints you can unlock by spending tokens, making it fairly accessible. What makes these puzzles nice is their willingness to explain the trick or go with an obvious but not exactly obvious solution. A fantastic example of this is actually the second puzzle.
All Katrielle needs to do is figure out the least number of times you need to touch a clock to turn 3:30 into midnight. There are a lot of rather obvious solutions that likely pop into your head. You can move the minute and hour hand for two, maybe you move the minute hand so many times you actually only need to do it once, perhaps you calculated it a weird way given you can go up to 99 but the solution is actually zero. The clock moves on its own, so eventually it will get there without anyone touching it.
Other puzzles rely on reading the rules carefully or thinking outside of the box. I don’t think there was a single puzzle that is obvious without taking a step back to think about it. Sometimes it’s just a simple misdirect, like wanting to change the clock, where as other times it’s about figuring out what is really being asked of you. This is part of what made the series so engaging and it’s awesome to see it and hundreds of little brain teasers being included in this port.
Between gameplay sections are rather lovely cutscenes. Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition is not shy about using unique designs for the world and its characters. Be it a rather boxy cop or lanky guard, these designs stand out and add so much to the experience. Even the cutscenes are wonderfully animated giving Katrielle a fair amount of depth.
Despite all the things Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition does well, it falls short in a couple areas. The downfall to any static puzzle game is, once you know the solution, it holds no challenge. If I read this review and know the clock doesn’t need to be touched, I’ll either instantly go zero or remember there is a trick and find it because that is what happened before. Investigation mode is a tad on the linear side. Most of the time you look around, find every option and repeat until something unlocks. This is fine for younger kids, though anyone looking for a little more of an independent adventure might be disappointed.
Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition Verdict
There is a fair amount of charm to Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition. Characters stand out, it doesn’t take long to warm up to Katrielle and the animated scenes make the experience so much better. Toss in a wide variety of challenging, yet accessible, puzzles and you have a fun adventure that is sure to delight kids of all ages.
[Editor’s Note: Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition was reviewed on Switch platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]