Developer: Level-5 Inc
Price: FREE
Version: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

laytonbrothers03Oh, look, Layton Brothers Mystery Room. Sounds interesting. The name Layton has pretty much become synonymous with puzzle-solving brilliance. The Professor had a knack for solving most of the world’s problems with a little logic, and that talent has apparently been passed on to his progeny. Alfendi Layton, however, is not his father.

Mysteries are still a key feature for this particular Layton’s adventures, however Alfendi and his new assistant Lucy Baker (Detective Constable) are out to solve murder mysteries. Two of which are available for free right from the start and seven more that can be purchased for an additional $5. The each case involves mulling over suspects, inspecting a recreated crime scene (because Alfendi is something of a shut-in), questioning suspects/witnesses, and piecing it all together until a solid accusation can be made. In fact, aside from the world and characters Layton Brothers Mystery Room actually bears little resemblance to earlier games in the series.

The lack of similarities is actually a good thing. Layton Brothers Mystery Room is far more Ace Attorney than Curious Village, which is awesome as far as I’m concerned. The characters are interesting, the suspects suspicious, and there’s just enough deduction left up to the player that it all manages to feel less coddling than I’d have expected. The game doesn’t come down too hard on failures, either, so there’s a lot less pressure when trying to figure out whodunnit and a lot more time to analyze the clues.

laytonbrothers05Some of the tasks can be a little obtuse at times, though. It’s not that I have a problem with the lack of hand-holding, but that sometimes it can be a bit of a battle to figure out just what exactly Layton Brothers Mystery Room wants me to do next. It resulted in several minutes of simply trying every single object at the scene until one of them worked, which is about as much fun as it sounds. Thankfully these moments, while unfortunate, are few and far between. Conversely, figuring out the “who” is a lot easier than the “how.” At least it is in the two free cases. That’s not to say it isn’t a challenge to put the entire puzzle together, of course.

First we get a courtroom drama trilogy in HD, now Layton Brothers Mystery Room. It’s a big departure from the rest of the series, and it’s not without its frustrating moments, but regardless it’s a wonderful series of interactive head-scratchers that shouldn’t be missed. I’d say this a fantastic time to be a mystery loving iOS gamer.

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