Layton’s Mystery Journey: Deluxe Edition – REVIEW (Nintendo Switch)

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The Layton series has always been one of my
absolute favorite franchises for puzzle games. I’ve played every main installment to the
point that Hershel and Luke almost feel like family. So when I heard about this new Layton
game, and that it was going to star a female detective, his daughter… I was immediately
excited and intrigued. Already I had so many questions about who she was and where she
came from. Perfect for a game focused on solving mysteries! The Layton series doesn’t shy
away from crazy over-the-top stories so I was ready to dive back into the gentlemanly
(and gentlewomanly) world of London, England. This time around, we solve mysteries with
the titular character, Katrielle Layton, and her lovestruck assistant, Ernest. We first
meet Katrielle on the day she opens her detective agency and takes on her first case. She also
happens to meet a mysterious new dog companion Sherl- as in Sherl O.C. Kholmes (don’t worry,
the puns and silly jokes don’t stop there!). In fact, he joins the group before the office
is even officially opened. But unfortunately, Kat completely disregards the mystery of this
talking dog with amnesia–convinced he’s not really a dog– and goes on to accept every
other case she is presented with. These cases play out similarly to an episodic cartoon,
with each one mostly being a self-contained mystery instead of the typical chapters of
a single large narrative like past installments. The cases do occasionally intertwine with
characters mentioning things that have happened previously, and backgrounds showing different
variations like the time of day or decoration changes; kind of like each case being a new
day. There is a point in the game where Kat has gained some momentum and receives a batch
of cases at once. From there, you’re free to choose what order you want to solve them
in. You can even pause one case and start on a new one if you’d like but I enjoyed
sticking to one at a time until each case was complete. After you complete this batch
of cases, they go back to one at a time and the overall narrative comes to a close. On your journey, you are presented with charming
animations and dialog scenes to build up the story surrounding the particular case you’re
working on. Then you’re set loose to explore the world and find clues. You do this by moving
a magnifying glass cursor around different locations and finding all kinds of things
including people you can talk to, party dialog text about certain objects, hint coins to
help with puzzles, fashion farthings (which we’ll get to in a moment), and hidden puzzles
and collectables. Most of the time you’ll be talking with people and solving puzzles
the likes of which the series is famous for, though they do feel slightly easier to solve
overall. But there were still a handful of times that I was completely stumped and I
did need to use hint coins on the puzzles that could have used better instructions.
Once you get a feel for the puzzles cheeky “out of the box” mentality, it can be
a lot of fun and I found a couple of very enjoyable, almost mini-game-like puzzles.
Finding the right solution can be an extremely gratifying and rewarding experience! There are a few ways to control the game including
full touchscreen capabilities when undocked which is a very welcome feature. However,
searching for clues using touch controls wasn’t my favorite due to not being able to see the
magnifying glass at all while sweeping the scene. My finger (or stylus) just kept getting
in the way of what I wanted to precisely examine. I had to rely solely on audio cues which isn’t
easy for those playing with low or no sound. For the majority of the time, I was using
TV mode with the pro controller. However, the analog stick isn’t great for jotting
down notes during the puzzle sections. There are stamps which help with analog control,
but if you want to write or draw with any accuracy or efficiency, touch controls and
a stylus are your best bet. While unintuitive at first, using detached joy cons and gyro
controls is absolutely my preferred way to play. I say unintuitive because in order to
activate the motion control, you need to hold down the ZR or ZL button which I kind of forgot
about until very late in the game. Since I enjoyed playing in TV mode, I just kept a
sheet of paper and pencil with me which worked well. Along with her own paper and pencil, Katrielle
has a bag even Mary-Poppins would approve of with all sorts of goodies and extras. Here
you can read up on what you’ve accomplished so far in the story, revisit the clues of
your cases, replay puzzles, check out extra daily puzzles, save, view collectibles, follow
up on side stories, change Kat’s outfit and more! Fashion Farthings are required to purchase
new outfits and her look can be changed any time you can access her bag. I changed her
look for each case and enjoyed seeing all the fun outfits and cosplay-type costumes
calling back to staples like Luke, Layton, and Emmy to name a few. Although I have to
admit, dressing up as Hershel definitely made me miss him being around and hearing that
lovely voice! Farthings can be found throughout the world and are awarded every real-word
day. This is a nice bonus for those that play shorter sessions over the course of several
days. True to Layton games, Katrielle’s bag also
offers up bonus games when you’re ready to take a break from solving cases. These
were quite fun for the most part, but I found the Ideal Meal mini-game a bit lacking due
to poor feedback from the customers. It was incredibly frustrating getting vague responses
like “it doesn’t put me in a party mood”. I was hoping for something a bit closer to
the game Mastermind. It reminded me of the Tea Set mini game from Diabolical Box, but
I much preferred that to the Ideal Meal. One other bonus not found in Kat’s bag is
the Fengshui section of Kat’s office. You can earn decor dockets by solving set amounts
of puzzles and changing up the decor of the office while choosing which case to work on
next. It only affects the game while you’re in the office, but it’s pretty fun to see
your changes during dialog scenes. “Speaking” of which, there are a lot of
these scenes throughout your journey and getting to see and know the characters is always a
treat. Katrielle herself is quite a fun protagonist and is definitely a unique character rather
than just a Hershel Layton clone. She is a smart, strong, spunky, self-assured, independent
woman, who incorporates intuition and logic to solve mysteries. I also loved how she turned
her passion into a business and is actively trying to grow a dependable income source!
I wasn’t too sure about Ernest and Sherl at first, but as I got to know them better
I quite enjoyed their banter and friendship. You’ll also find many Layton staple characters
have returned along with several new faces. My personal favorite is the cutesy couple
Bess and Benji who surprisingly have a slightly larger presence than most NPCs if you’re
willing to look into the extra dialogue. The characters’ names are always a blast to
discover. A few notables are: Grant Sloans from the bank, Eddie Tore the editor, and
Sherl O.C. Kholmes the dog from Barker Street whose name gets quite the pun treatment. The sense of humor here is quite fun. Not
only is it chock full of puns and dad jokes, but you can find funny references to real
world pop culture like WALL-O from the post-apocalyptic Earth, Leonardo DiCameo, and even a Taylor
Swift song! I had a blast reading some of these and it helped immerse me into Katrielle’s
world. I even learned a few things too like how Big Ben is actually the bell, and the
structure itself is Elizabeth Tower and that a lot of people mistake Tower Bridge for London
Bridge. Yep, including past me! So how does this typically handheld series
hold up on the big screen? Quite well with a lovely visual style with lots of vibrant
colors and charming details – similar to an illustrated picture book. It fits right in
with the existing Layton world and some scenes are really pretty to behold. The music is
also pleasant and never overtook the scenes or felt too repetitive. The new scores fit
in well with the opening song being my absolute favorite of the game and the returning melodies
gave me a cozy familiarity like visiting an old friend and picking right back up as if
no time had passed. Level 5 has done a great job with making the
world and characters feel fun and alive, however I felt that the cases themselves were a bit
shallow and easy to figure out. It just felt like the stakes were never that high or serious.
Sometimes I welcomed this more casual approach when I wasn’t able to play for long amounts
of time, but I did miss the more outlandish and grandiose stories of the past. It felt
too easy to pick out who the culprit was and in most cases, I figured it out before getting
to the midway point. These stories are definitely lighter and more of an “everybody wins”
mentality. The final case had me hooked and even got me a bit emotional, and served as
an interesting -but kind of left field- conclusion. Overall, I liked Layton’s Mystery Journey.
Layton fans will feel right at home with familiar controls, characters, fun callbacks, and obvious
love for the source material but may not be completely happy with the simpler case style
of gameplay. It’s a fine way for newcomers to get into the series as no prior knowledge
of Layton is needed to enjoy the game. Compared to the grand adventure narratives of past
Layton games, Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy is more like a slice of life. It’s
fun and you enjoy the characters, but it never reaches the exciting heights of the older
games. Still, all the puns and silly dad jokes were
a blast and kept me smiling and laughing throughout and due to it’s more bite-sized nature,
it never felt overwhelming to keep track of things and is quite easy to jump right back
in after a break in playing. Thanks to the extra content, you’ll have plenty to do
during and even after the main campaign. Completionists can rejoice thanks to a wonderfully easy way
to check if everything has been collected or completed. While Katrielle’s journey isn’t as grand
or deep as previous entries, and not all the questions I asked at the start of the game
were addressed, I had an enjoyable time running around London solving cases with her and happily
include this lighter jaunt with the rest of the Layton series. Welcome to the family,
Katrielle. Thanks for watching and be sure to subscribe to GameXplain for more on Layton
and other things gaming.

 

100 Responses

  1. N T

    November 7, 2019 2:10 pm

    Can't wait for a full Layton game omfg hype up. Layton x Pheonix Wright 2 pleaseee (side note: either one of these for smash?)

    Reply
  2. Ivan Cordeiro Braga

    November 7, 2019 2:16 pm

    What game should I play on the Layton series, after I completed Last Specter and played the demo for LMJ?

    Reply
  3. WarLycan

    November 7, 2019 2:18 pm

    Before video: Oh cool, they’re reviewing the newest Layton game.

    As soon as the video starts: IS THAT BELLEAIM?!

    Reply
  4. NekoKuroNeko

    November 7, 2019 2:19 pm

    I don't want to be that person BUT I hope they didn't dumb it down to appeal more to a female audience. That would be insulting.

    Reply
  5. Amy Campbell

    November 7, 2019 2:21 pm

    this was a great review! I feel like the game got way too much undeserved criticism on the 3DS, purely because it was trying to do something different.

    I've played every game in the Layton series, and I'll be happily be replaying this one on switch at some point! ☕

    Reply
  6. Jesper Willems

    November 7, 2019 2:22 pm

    This review acts as if the game were brand new and not almost 2,5 years old. A proper review of a remake should’ve included what’s different in this version (almost nothing), how it compares (game didn’t deserve a remake) and whether it is worth the price increase (or rebuy value) (absolutely not). This full game is playable on your phone for less than $30,-
    Besides, for a self-proclaimed layton lover, BelleAim hadn’t played the original when it came out?
    Still; the review would have been great on the original version, just doesn’t feel suited for the deluxe variant

    Reply
  7. criskiss500

    November 7, 2019 2:37 pm

    I think it was a meh game. in a Layton game i look for story and puzzles. The story was…not quite good, except the last mission and the there were too many out side the box puzzles that i was like hmmm this is too complicated for what they are going for in this game and that means there is a catch to it. indeed maybe there were 10 puzzles that i got stuck but comparing to the other 100 i solved it really seems like i small number of challenging puzzles. i would say to skip this version of layton and instead watch the anime. it has all the cases from this game (with a small twist) and more

    Reply
  8. Matt Murray

    November 7, 2019 2:46 pm

    I played this game on my iPhone and I just loved its charm definitely going to check out the Switch version.

    Reply
  9. Patricko Eid

    November 7, 2019 2:56 pm

    Can someone explain to me please the differences between this switch version and the 3ds and iOS versions? (If possible even I’d like to know the differences between the 3ds and iOS versions if there are any)

    Reply
  10. Danielle Crowder

    November 7, 2019 2:57 pm

    Thank you Belle for the review. I do enjoy the series this makes me hope that we get a new Layton game. It is a shame that the controls for handheld mode especially since this was a series like Animal Crossing, Pokemon, and Fire Emblem that has been on handheld systems. But nice to know that the controls in docked mode are great. I do hope we get the other Layton games brought to Switch

    Reply
  11. Jesse Marin

    November 7, 2019 3:04 pm

    Hi Amy! I enjoyed hearing your thoughts in this review. I think this is your first review on this channel, right? Congrats! 😊

    Reply
  12. Max Mustermann

    November 7, 2019 3:05 pm

    Friendly reminder that this is a port from the 3DS. Additionally, there is also a 50 episode anime series for this particular entry in the series, which is somehow overall better than this game. It includes every case from the game, but most of the episodes are 100% original, including a MUCH more appropriate conclusion. The cases that were already in the game were changed in the anime to fit the 20 minutes per episode pacing, but in my opinion most of them actually got improved in some ways.

    Reply
  13. SonicShenmue

    November 7, 2019 3:15 pm

    I played every Layton game including VS Phoenix Wright but I stopped playing this after about 4 hours…

    Reply
  14. John B aka Smooth Chocolate

    November 7, 2019 3:19 pm

    I hope that we get more games like this; they were a great time-killer on the DS & 3DS, and I hope they make a brand new Professor Layton game on this platform other than this one.

    Reply
  15. Tentacle bukkake

    November 7, 2019 3:22 pm

    I gotta say I really enjoyed this review.

    Feels like Belle articulated her feelings for the game in a nice and calming manner which I dug. She definitley has her own unique voice which is a nice mix up with the usual GX veteran's.

    Only complaint I will say is that I wish the music was a little bit quieter. Made it hard to hear the review at times and got a little repetitive with how prevalent it was. Other than that good job Bellaime! Loved it! And I hope to see more reviews from you on this channel!

    Reply
  16. Mego's Hideout

    November 7, 2019 3:37 pm

    I just love Professor Layton series. The art style is so great…! Really glad to see this review.

    Reply
  17. Rich Parkinson

    November 7, 2019 3:47 pm

    I have zero knowledge of the game series, and am not sure I ever will have a desire to play any of the games in the series. I do have to say that this is a wonderfully written, read, and produce review of the game. Definitely appreciated!

    Reply
  18. Jorge Aguirre

    November 7, 2019 3:51 pm

    Loved this enhanced remaster, looks good. Maybe Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright can have this treatment?

    Reply
  19. André Corazza Miguens

    November 7, 2019 4:29 pm

    Great review! And what a pleasant voice 🙂 Hope she gets to do more reviews

    Also hope we get the two Layton trilogies on Switch, and if possible, the crossover game with Phoenix Wright

    Reply
  20. Marie-France Fortin

    November 7, 2019 4:30 pm

    I wanted to know how or if this version was different from the 3ds version… Sadly you didn't mention the older version.

    The flaws mention, easier puzzles and lacking in urgency, is probably because originally this was a mobile game. This is the Switch port of the 3ds port of the mobile game.

    Reply
  21. Zarbi Xii

    November 7, 2019 4:38 pm

    Seeing all the cool bonuses they added, I kinda wish I held out for the Switch version. I don't know if it would have saved the game from being so underwhelming, but I could have dressed up as Hershel, which is something.

    Reply
  22. Tommy Deonauth's Archives

    November 7, 2019 4:38 pm

    Since you mentioned Taylor Swift, that actually reminds me of a reply I made to a comment back in 2017, when the Lady Layton game was only a Japan exclusive game. I basically made a false prediction that there was gonna be a meme where Kat was voiced by Ariana Grande of all people and then there was going to be a petition to get the singer to be the voice of Kat and then they year would go by without any word on the petition. Yep, that didn't happen. Fast forward to 2019 and I see the switch port of the Lady Layton game being demoed at an expo (can't remember which one exactly) via a GX video. I decided to jokingly write in the comments: "They're porting over the Lady Layton game? And Kat still isn't voiced by Ariana Grande!?". To which I got a reply, thinking "Did that really happen?". I probably should have replied back, telling him that it was a jokey nod to a comment I made two years back. But man, was that a wild prediction to make for a Layton game… but to be honest, I don't know why Ariana Grande came to mind when it came to that false prediction… Perhaps it has something to do with a certain mobile game she's in… hmmmmmm…

    Reply
  23. Lisandro Reynoso

    November 7, 2019 5:09 pm

    This has been the easiest and the most boring Layton game I've played. And that's hard to say about a Layton game. I was disappointed

    Reply
  24. garfreeek

    November 7, 2019 5:46 pm

    This review really showed me why people disliked the game, but I kind of like short, fluffy stories (that's why I liked Azran Legacy too!) So this sounds right up my Alley!

    Reply
  25. Digizel the Bui

    November 7, 2019 6:07 pm

    Great review! It sounds like a decent puzzle game, but as someone who really liked the Layton story more than the puzzles, I’ll have to pass.

    Reply
  26. Nicktendo 1

    November 7, 2019 6:30 pm

    This is the newest “Deluxe” edition of the game…yet the review treated it as if it was brand new. Would’ve really liked to hear how it differed/improved on earlier versions if at all

    Reply
  27. Queereon

    November 7, 2019 6:40 pm

    I was honestly really disappointed with this game when it originally came to 3DS, not even beating it (although I did get pretty far). This was because of the easier puzzles and focus on humor instead of serious mystery solving with light humor. But I might give it second try with this Switch version. Hopefully we get the main six games on the platform at some point. Great review by the way!!

    Reply
  28. Kingpinn02

    November 7, 2019 8:02 pm

    To any Layton fans that finished this game and were unsatisfied with the unanswered questions, the anime "Layton Mystery Tanteisha: Katori no Nazotoki File" episodes 10, 20, 34, 35, 49 and 50 all concentrate on Hershel's disappearance. The rest of the episodes are pretty much filler in the same way that the cases in the game felt, so I promise you won't miss out on anything necessary or important save for one or two callbacks to events in a previous yet not relevant episode. The show hasn't been localized, so the only way to watch is with fan subs atm.

    Reply
  29. Rin

    November 7, 2019 8:27 pm

    I could never get into these games. I rage quiet early on in the first game. I just can't do math. Also I remember one of the puzzles had you draw a roadkill DOG which was pretty fucked up.

    Reply
  30. Jordan3D

    November 7, 2019 9:32 pm

    I just beat this game on the 3DS two days ago, so I'll give my thoughts for those who might be interested. The game is fine, but it falls flat as a Layton game. The soundtrack, puzzles, mysteries, and characters are all very mediocre, to the point that I was on auto-pilot for most of the game (which never happened to me with any of the other Layton games). It doesn't help that the game was originally made for phones before being ported to the 3DS and now the Switch, and so the structure involves a collection of small cases with no payoff rather than one big, interesting mystery like in the other Layton games. The game is fine, but it simply doesn't have any of the quality or charm of the rest of the series. Honestly, you'd probably be better off buying it on phones than the Switch, as at least it'd be much cheaper, and you could slowly chip away at it while out and about (the way I think it was intended to be played) rather than in longer play sessions.

    Reply
  31. Jordan3D

    November 7, 2019 9:33 pm

    I just beat this game on the 3DS two days ago, so I'll give my thoughts for those who might be interested. The game is fine, but it falls flat as a Layton game. The soundtrack, puzzles, mysteries, and characters are all very mediocre, to the point that I was on auto-pilot for most of the game (which never happened to me with any of the other Layton games). It doesn't help that the game was originally made for phones before being ported to the 3DS and now the Switch, and so the structure involves a collection of small cases with no payoff rather than one big, interesting mystery like in the other Layton games. The game is fine, but it simply doesn't have any of the quality or charm of the rest of the series. Honestly, you'd probably be better off buying it on phones than the Switch, as at least it'd be much cheaper, and you could slowly chip away at it while out and about (the way I think it was intended to be played) rather than in longer play sessions.

    Reply
  32. TheComicRelief9001

    November 7, 2019 9:45 pm

    I haven't played any of the Layton games since Unwound Future, should probably get back into it

    Reply
  33. Fidodo

    November 8, 2019 12:36 am

    I liked the grand scale of the previous Layton games, but many of them had what I felt were unsatisfying conclusions that I don't think lived up to the mystery of the story. The endings were just too out there and felt too contrived. So I think I might actually enjoy the smaller scale mysteries as long as the conclusions actually make sense.

    Reply
  34. John Lai

    November 8, 2019 2:53 am

    Please hire BelleAim if you haven't already you could hear her excitement for the game hear. Plus she did a great job great review.

    Reply
  35. Prince R

    November 8, 2019 5:14 am

    This was a really relaxing review =) Can you guys add Belleaim to discussions as well. Also more reviews !! You go girl !!!!

    Reply

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