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Layton Series Starts Anew with Lady Layton (2017)

edited July 2016 in Games
Layton byyyke~ :)



It's not really a secret, but I adore the Layton franchise, and after 2014's double whammy of Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney (originally released in 2012 in Japan) and Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy (2013), we finally have a new entry in the series. The series was originally planned to end after the prequel trilogy completed with Azran Legacy, but fan demand pushed Level-5 CEO and Layton series producer/writer Akhiro Hino into keeping the franchise going.

Earlier this year the series' Puzzle Master, professor Akira Tago, passed away at the age of 90. Tago was a psychologist who published puzzle books for children and helped those with learning disabilities. His work served as the inspiration and foundation for the series, with Tago himself overseeing Level-5's "puzzle camp" in which puzzles that were not taken directly from the books were created. A new protagonist and a new Puzzle Master—a young adult and MENSA scholar named Kuniaki Iwanami—have been chosen to create a new game with respect to his memory.

Katrielle 'Kat' Layton is the Professor's daughter, and her game appears to be designed as a fresh start of sorts, meaning anyone who hasn't played previous titles should be able to play this as their first, which I do encourage! Lady Layton: The Millionaire Ariadone’s Conspiracy is planned to have "a faster tempo and more comical tone," with a shift in emphasis towards solving multiple mysteries (similar to Ace Attorney), likely all to make the game more approachable.

I've always enjoyed puzzles and brain teasers quite a bit, but I don't play any puzzle games other than the Layton series. What hooked me to the series are the aesthetic details and characters. The Laytonverse is a storybook, historical Europe inhabited by queer characters with bittersweet tales. The games are best described as soul soothers, so again I'd recommend them regardless of anyone's apprehension to puzzles.

If you were looking to enter the series, your best bet might actually be to play Lady Layton when it release next year for the aforementioned reasons, but if you'd like a cheap sampler first, I'd recommend Professor Layton and the Last Specter, which is the first title in the prequel trilogy (and thus the first entry chronologically) and the last DS release. You could also go with Professor Layton and the Curious Village, which is the first release and what I'd imagine is cheapest, but I would note that despite its critical acclaim it lacks polish in a fair amount of fields (things like compression, pacing, asset quality), and, iirc, is less forgiving with its puzzle pacing and difficulty.

Fun fact: I'm surprised Level-5 hasn't mentioned it yet, but Lady Layton will be releasing in the franchise's tenth anniversary year. Curious Village was released on February 15th, 2007. Lady Layton will release Spring 2017 in Japan, and fittingly, Lady Layton's first words are "Made it!"

Comments

  • I still haven't played past Diabolical Box, so finding out this one is more or less unattached is kind of a relief, honestly... That said, though, it feels hard to reconcile what I saw in that trailer with even the little bit I know of the series.

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