Quick Review: Layton’s Mystery Journey Real World Puzzle Solving

Game developer: Level 5

Systems: http://layton.world (online puzzle hub/hype factory); actual full release of the game: iOS and Android (initial release; July 20th), Nintendo 3DS (early August)

 

RealWorldPuzzle

As a way of hyping up the release of the latest Layton game, “Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy”, Level 5 has come up with a neat little way to draw attention worldwide: every few days or so, they have public events in different countries where they post a puzzle out in the open, photograph it and upload that puzzle online for the Layton-loving community to tackle alone or with the cooperative efforts of thousands of fans internationally. There are different language options for the site as a whole and a translation option in the forums. As you try to solve each puzzle, released periodically (about every 2 or so days), you can check with other puzzle nuts and compare answers (or, just look up the answer, period; sometimes the puzzles are hard, okay?!). Once you’ve solved a puzzle, you receive picarats (the series’ in-game point system that allows the unlocking of certain bonus features. No word on what these do on the site, though) and virtual tickets, which are used for a roulette game that grants prizes you can use in-game (supposedly?). Each puzzle is posted in a different country and the instructions are written in that country’s native language, but the answers are always in English, so it’s more a matter of just using Google translate to figure out the instructions before you tackle it on your own. For now, there doesn’t seem to be a clear rating on each puzzle’s difficulty; I personally found some more confusing than others, but that was due more to translation issues than my own brain failing me (Japanese is especially tricky in its wording, so if you find someone in the forums who can clearly give you a helpful hint, it’s best to keep an eye out for them in the other puzzles’ discussions). At the time I’m writing this, there are only 16 puzzles out, with another 34 (at least) scheduled to come out as far into the future as Sept 20th. I’m definitely planning on coming back for more, and I look forward to buying a copy (most likely digital and on the 3DS) of the full game when it comes out.

 

Pros:

  • It’s like a virtual tour the world, but with top hats!
  • There’s always someone there willing to help
  • The puzzles are easy to intermediate in difficulty
  • The roulette prizes are a fun little incentive
  • It’s really wonderful seeing how many people worldwide are as excited as I am for another Layton game

Cons:

  • Translations are a bit of a crap-shoot, and while you’ll looking for a definitive answer for WHY your answer is incorrect, you might accidentally find the answer and spoil the fun for yourself
  • Seeing Katrielle congratulate you on a job well done is fun and all, but the awarding of the picarats and tickets are unskippable and I’m awfully impatient today for some reason…
  • Some of the puzzles are time-sensitive, so you need to check the forums below for the full puzzle if you missed the 4 or so days it was available, or you can’t answer it at all; this can be annoying if you’re trying to avoid going to the forum for any reason
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