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What parents need to know
Parents need to know Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires' Conspiracy - Deluxe Edition is a mystery adventure exclusively for the Nintendo Switch filled with puzzles starring a strong female protagonist. This is the latest chapter in the Professor Layton franchise. Players take on the role of Katrielle, a smart, confident, and playfully sassy young woman who has opened a detective agency in London. She and her friends -- including a starry-eyed assistant and a talking dog -- take on a series of mysterious cases, each of which involves a variety of puzzles. Some conundrums involve shifting shapes, others involve basic math skills, and still more focus on identifying clues within cleverly worded blocks of text. Players are rewarded for thinking both analytically and creatively, using a mix of logic and red-herring-detection skills to riddle out the truth. Some puzzles can be pretty hard, but players earn coins through play that can be spent on hints that can help tame even the toughest brainteasers. While characters don't engage in violence, they do discuss murder and suicide as the explanation for a death they investigate.
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What's it about?
LAYTON'S MYSTERY JOURNEY: KATRIELLE AND THE MILLIONAIRES' CONSPIRACY - DELUXE EDITION is an upgraded Switch version of a game originally released for Nintendo 3DS. The seventh main entry in Level 5's series of story-driven Professor Layton puzzle games, this is the first to star Katrielle, Professor Layton's quick-witted daughter. She's just opened a new detective agency in London, and is flooded by requests to help solve mysteries before she even opens the door. A talking dog wants her help finding out who he really is, a boy shows up unexpectedly to assume the role of an assistant Katrielle never asked for, and the Scotland Yard stops by requesting her help with cases such as a missing hand on Big Ben and an unexplained death. Between lengthy animated sequences and scenes of text dialogue that tell pieces of a larger story, players are confronted with a diverse array of puzzles that force them to analyze clues that come in the form of text, numbers, pictures, and shapes in order to figure out solutions. Some of these puzzles end with players earning a piece of evidence key to the case they're working on, and when they have enough evidence, Katrielle can bring the case to a close with a series of brilliant deductions. The puzzles players encounter -- plus a series of daily bonus puzzles -- can be accessed from a menu that pops up within Katrielle's seemingly bottomless bag of wonders, which also contains a handful of mini-games, various outfits that players can purchase and Katrielle can change into, and brief story recaps.
Is it any good?
No violence, loads of clever brainteasers, beautiful art, and a great role model. Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires' Conspiracy -- Deluxe Edition is the sort of game that's hard not to love. Professor Layton's daughter, Katrielle, is instantly likeable. Super smart, quick with jokes, and a keen eye for fashion to boot, she wins players' hearts right from the opening movie. And the quality of the game's presentation -- which has received an instantly noticeable HD graphical upgrade since its original release on Nintendo 3DS -- is delightful. At times it feels as though you've been thrown inside an anime film, complete with memorable characters, locations, and a dramatic, uplifting score. And with ample bonus activities tucked away in Katrielle's bag, there's always something else to explore should the player begin to tire of the main adventure.
There is a minor issue with some of the puzzles, though. While the bulk of them are wily and entertaining, they aren't quite at the consistent level of excellence seen in other Layton games. Like a good IQ test, they're wonderfully diverse, testing the player's ability to reason and catch hidden clues in a variety of ways. And, thanks to the daily puzzles set to be doled out over the game's first year, there are perhaps more here than in any previous Layton game. That said, some of the puzzle descriptions could be more clearly written. There are a handful of cases in which it feels almost impossible to understand precisely what's being asked of the player without resorting to hints, which any serious puzzle solver is hesitant to do. Puzzles should be challenging, but they should also be fair and not rely on ambiguity to stump the player. Setting this one problem aside, Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires' Conspiracy - Deluxe Edition is another fantastic experience within this oft-overlooked franchise, and a fine introduction to the next generation of Layton.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time. Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires' Conspiracy - Deluxe Edition breaks the game into cases that typically consist of around a dozen individual puzzles broken up by plenty of exposition, so what points in the game feel like natural opportunities to take a break from playing?
Katrielle is a positive, intelligent, no-nonsense protagonist always on equal footing with characters around her, regardless of age, gender, or profession, but what other female characters have you encountered in games that fit this description?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading, reading comprehension
Math: geometry, numbers, patterns, sequences, shapes
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, defining problems, logic, problem solving, solving puzzles, spatial reasoning
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Nintendo of America
- Release date: November 8, 2019
- Genre: Puzzle
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Comic Mischief, Mild Language, Mild Violence
- Last updated: November 13, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.