Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

Common Sense Media says

Superb puzzler is a smart treat for kids and their parents.

Age(i)

2
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5
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9
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12
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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game encourages kids to use their brains to solve problems. It suggests that most of the crises and mysteries in our lives can be solved through careful investigation followed by rational and creative thought. One of the mini-games is about retail strategy. It doesn't try to sell kids anything, but instead makes players think about how stores arrange their wares to entice people to buy more. It's simplistic, but it could get kids to consider how stores they visit in real life strategically arrange products to make them want to buy additional things, such as cheap candies near a cashier.

Positive role models

The calm, wise, congenial, and reasonable Professor Layton makes for a great role model for kids. He never loses his cool, is always kind, and repeatedly illustrates that logic is one's greatest tool when it comes to solving tough problems. His young assistant Emmy and apprentice Luke embody many of the same qualities as the professor, and may be even more relatable for boys and girls.

Ease of play

The game requires a minimum 3rd or 4th grade reading level. The concepts involved in some puzzles are suitable for younger tweens, but the bulk of these conundrums are most appropriate for ages 12 and up. Many will challenge parents, too. Luckily, the game employs a fine hint system that provides bits of information that act as valuable clues (and teaching tutorials) without solving puzzles outright. 

Violence

Players don't engage in violence themselves, but animated movie scenes later in the game contain mild frights and depict characters in danger.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask is collection of more than 100 puzzles that puts kids' thinkers to the test. It forces players to use logic, employ spatial reasoning skills, think hard about tricky word problems, and apply basic math skills. There's virtually no violence, and the game's generous, smart, and helpful heroes make for terrific role models, acting as proof that calm reasoning and kindness are our best tools when tackling tough mysteries. Parents need to remember that Nintendo is warning all parents not to allow kids age six and under to view the graphics in 3D because that viewing "may cause vision damage." The Nintendo 3DS offers parents the ability to lock out the use of 3D graphics in the system's Parental Controls.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • reading comprehension

Math

  • algebra
  • patterns
  • sequences

Hobbies

  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • deduction
  • logic
  • solving puzzles

Creativity

  • imagination

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Puzzle-loving kids will eat up this broad collection of brain breakers, presented within a charming story and rich with interesting characters and twists.

Learning Approach

The puzzles here span a wide range, from word-based and logic problems to spatial relations to math conundrums. With more than 100 brainteasers and several mysteries, kids' brains will come away satisfyingly stretched.

Support

Each puzzle comes with its own set of instructions and hints, providing all the support necessary to be solved. And if they still fail to solve it, they can keep moving forward in the story, looking for the next puzzle.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • reading comprehension

Math

  • algebra
  • patterns
  • sequences

Hobbies

  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • deduction
  • logic
  • solving puzzles

Creativity

  • imagination

Kids can learn about puzzle solving, practice reading comprehension, and think about math in this challenging and satisfying collection of conundrums. Some puzzles test kids' abilities to recognize patterns and sequences, while other tricky riddles force them to carefully analyze what they read to properly understand what's being asked of them. Most puzzles involve some degree of lateral thinking, forcing kids to examine problems in unusual ways. With more than 100 brainteasers and several mysteries, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask provides many ways for kids to practice logical thinking and to learn by experimenting.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

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Kids say

What's it about?

The first 3DS game to star Nintendo's dapper doctor, PROFESSOR LAYTON AND THE MIRACLE MASK is another entry in the series' current string of prequels. Layton, his assistant Emmy, and his apprentice Luke travel to the city of Monte d'Or to investigate a series of incidents caused by a mysterious "Masked Gentleman," who is wreaking havoc and scaring tourists. As in past Professor Layton games, players journey from one scene to another, combing for clues by searching around the screen. They'll initiate conversations with peculiar locals -- a clown, a policeman, a shopkeeper -- who often offer our intrepid trio a puzzle of some sort. The bulk of the game is spent solving these puzzles, allowing the story to progress and its many mysteries one-by-one to be resolved. Outside the main narrative lie side-story episodes, loads of interesting virtual objects to collect, and three mini-games that have players guiding a robot through mazes, helping a store owner sell her wares, and training a bunny so he can rejoin his friends in the circus.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask looks a bit different than its precursors. The story is presented in 3D on the top screen, with players able to shift perspective by scrolling around using their stylus. However, the rest of the game is, by and large, business as usual -- which is just fine. No other franchise delivers such a broad array of enjoyable brain breakers accessible enough that 6th and 7th graders should be able to work through them without too much trouble yet sufficiently challenging so that even adults can feel a sense of satisfaction upon completing them.

Returning fans will recognize the style of many of the game's puzzles. Some force you to carefully analyze images, others are tricky riddles, and still others involve clever application of basic math skills -- but each one is different enough from the last that boredom never sets in. Add in yet another engaging story filled with quirky personalities and several seemingly unsolvable grand mysteries, and you have a recipe for a very memorable Professor Layton adventure. Don't miss it.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the fun involved in solving puzzles. What sorts of real-world puzzles have you recently solved? How do you feel when you figure out the answer to a tricky riddle?

  • Families can also discuss the strategies stores employ to sell us things. Did this game's shop mini-game make you think about the tactics real-world stores use to make you buy more stuff? Can you think of any instances in which you purchased things you later realized you didn't really need or even want? How can you avoid this in the future?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo 3DS
Price:$39.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Nintendo
Release date:October 25, 2012
Genre:Puzzle
Topics:Friendship, Great boy role models, Great girl role models
ESRB rating:E10+ for Mild Violence (Nintendo 3DS)

This review of Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 8 years old January 27, 2013
AGE
6
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

csm

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ see my rating^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ for tweens
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byprofessorlayton2 April 29, 2013
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Best Education Game Ever

The Professor Layton series, and especially Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask are great brain teasing video games. The thought-provoking puzzles and interesting storyline makes the game great for all ages. The only set back in this game is the 3D display, because if you use it for long periods of time (one or more hours), it will make your head hurt. Other than that, 6 out of 5 stars!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written byNASCAR101 March 22, 2013
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Prof. Layton

Awesome game. buy it. great for kids 10+, iffy for kids 6-9, and not appropriate for 5 & under
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much consumerism

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