Sep 17, 2013
Layton Brothers Mystery Room is a fun game from Level-5 Inc. that serves as a spin-off of the lovable Professor Layton series.
Off the bat, fans of the original franchise will notice that it isn’t a strict Layton saga. The game doesn’t work too hard to force the association, but does have some elements that arguably make it worthy enough to carry the name.
The format of the mysteries is interesting. The two I tried are rated as being relatively easy, and start off with suspicious murders. There were a few suspects, and a bit of story attached to explain why and how the suspect is determined to be such; the crime and the characters feel quite reasonable.
Interactive discussion stills between Inspector (Professor) Layton and rookie Lucy Baker move the deductions along, and there are several points when user interaction is needed. For example, after the crime is described and main players are revealed, it becomes time to drill down and isolate a viable perpetrator. Based off of the info given, Prof Layton pushes for an educated guessed, at which point it is time to guess. The answer to this determines how quickly the murder can be solved.
The game eventually progresses to a crime scene re-creation. Using the zooming feature, it’s possible to examine and collect pertinent clues from pre-highlighted areas. In some cases, items invisible at first glance are shown when closer up.
By using these crime scene tools, a relaxed interrogation process and allowing the ever-sharp Inspector Layton to troubleshoot the deductive process, one should inevitably close in on the guilty party. And then the real battle begins. The back and forth to elicit a confession is like something out of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. The cheeky action component is cool; the suspect has a shielded heart, and every valid accusation chips away at the shield and heart until the suspect is defenseless against the weight if the dastardly act and confesses, solving the case.
For a chapter-based mystery game, he format is refreshing; it’s not possible to go far past the two initial cases because of a pay wall. The dialogue is a bit stilted and protracted in places, but overall, it’s definitely worth trying out.