Professor Layton and his self-proclaimed apprentice, Luke, are taking in the splendour and bright lights of Monte D'Or when a scream pierces through all the festivity and chaos erupts, with people running away in every direction.
After the Professor and Luke have dodged a collapsing parade float, they turn around to see that all the tourists in the area have turned into stone.
That is how his fifth adventure, Professor Layton And The Miracle Mask, begins.
As always, our famous and intelligent puzzle-solving archaeologist receives a letter from an old friend pleading for him to come and save her city, Monte D'Or. A mysterious man wearing the Mask of Chaos, naming himself the Masked Gentleman, has been wreaking havoc in the city with his dark "miracles", whether it is turning people into stone or making paintings come alive.
With the Mask of Chaos being an artefact from an ancient civilisation that is rumoured to have magical powers, Layton must set out to find the truth behind these miraculous happenings before the city is completely destroyed.
Plot-wise, it's not the best, but considering how the series tampers with sinister and supernatural incidents, it's totally understandable if they are starting to run out of new explanations for every monster or enchanted box or instance of time travel that comes up.
Professor Layton And The Miracle Mask is now available at local game stores. Try checking the range of stores on the top floor of Siam Digital Gateway, or 6th floor, MBK Center.
Regardless, in this adventure, the Professor is forced to look back into his past to help solve this case and for the very first time, audiences will get acquainted with 17-year-old Hershel Layton. His high school history is not without its dark corners, and to your surprise, Layton actually (gasp!) had no interest at all whatsoever in archaeology back in his younger years.
You'll come to learn what it is that has made him decide to take that path and finally become the champion-fencing, tea-appreciating and established archaeology professor he is today.
As a true gentleman leaves no puzzle unsolved, it should be a no-brainer for fans to run out and grab the fifth Professor Layton game, released in late October in the United States by Level-5. However, with this newest instalment only playable on Nintendo 3DS, owners of Nintendo DS are surely (grumbling and) circling the floor with one main question: is it worth investing in a whole new console for just for this new game?
The answer is definitely. Those familiar with the series can be sure to welcome back the gameplay that revolves around engrossing mysteries, solving puzzles that are intricately woven into the investigation scenes, a moving plotline and lovable, quirky characters. There's a new puzzle to be downloaded every day for a whole year and the sixth game is also in the works. Although the sixth game is rumoured to be the last in the series, fans can still look forward to spin-offs; surely there will still be adventures from this house to help you make the most of the newly bought console.
The 3D capability gives a new depth and dimension to exploring each scene, and with the magnifying glass that turns red when there is something to check out, gone are the days of blindly tapping the whole screen. The 3D rendition of the characters does look a bit choppy, but it grows on you if you view them the way they should be (in 3D!).
The only problem with the 3D is you must look at the screen from a specific angle, or else the picture blurs; luckily, you can always turn the function off. All in all, it gives a whole new breath of fresh air to the series and the transition is seamless.
Although it's the fifth game running, there are still many pleasant surprises that will have you practically wide-eyed (and sleepless) until 2am. A miracle, that Layton still charms and impresses. On top of gaming you'll feel that you've just read a compelling story that won't fail to bring tears (again), plus, the thrill of a good solution never gets old.
About the author
- Writer: Parisa Pichitmarn
Position: Life Writer