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No GravatarFirst released back in 2008 for the Nintendo DS, Professor Layton and The Curious Village became a hit with owners in America, and since then, has released a subsequent game every year with great success, and after 4 games on the original DS, the series finally moves to the Nintendo 3DS.

Professor Layton and The Miracle Mask is the latest game in the series, and with the move to the 3DS, the presentation has taken an obvious upgrade/downgrade depending of the point of view of the person.

The game begins when the Professor himself , accompanied by self-appointed assistants Luke Triton and Emmy Altava, visit the desert oasis of Monte d’Or, where strange incidents have been occurring. Soon after their arrival, they are greeted by the mysterious Masked Gentleman, who apparently has turned many of the carnival attendants into stone, he soon flees and is followed by the trio, only managing to escape in a cloud of smoke, this puts everyone on a journey for the truth, where even the past might have some answers.


The presentation in the Professor Layton games is always top notch, right from the opening anime video sequence (the game contains many of them for your viewing pleasure) the art style is very distinct and charming, the music in the game (just as before) is some of the most “classy” sounding from any videogame, it’s soothing and can help you concentrate on the puzzles, and even it can be downright beautiful at times, as shown in this video.

The gameplay in this game is simple, yet difficult. You spend your time touching things on the screen, finding characters to talk to, searching for collectable items and hint coins (more on that later), and finding puzzles. The hard part (to many) comes from the puzzles themselves, and this is the meat and bones of the game, there are over 150 different puzzles that are found at different points in the game, some are optional, and many are required to advance, the puzzles are varied, and range from arithmetic problems, to use of logic, to observational puzzles that when solved, give out points.

Speaking of points, puzzles are given rank with points dubbed “picarats“, the more picarats it’s worth, the more difficult it is, the value of the picarats decreases if the player gets it wrong, but you can get a hint in the form of “Hint Coins” that give tips ranging from minor, to “this is the answer” in order to conserve picarats. And some may ask; what is the point of picarats? Well, picarats are used for post-game content, ranging from character profiles to in-game movies.

The game adds variety to the mix by introducing some minigames in the form of a Robot (lead it to the right spot using a limited assorted of movements) a Shop (arrange items in the correct pattern to make an efficient sale) and finally, Rabbit, (help a rabbit become a great actor in order to be allowed back on the circus). These mini-games aren’t necessary for game completion, but each can give bonuses, one of such is the rabbit, which helps you find Hint Coins, Treasures, and even Hidden Puzzles in other areas.

The story keeps you immersed, switching between the past version of Layton and his present self in order unlock the mysteries surrounding the Masked Gentleman, the mask, and the city of Monte d’Or itself, as the Professor, the player will come across many colorful characters that may help, or most of the time, hinder you, not with violence mind you, but with puzzles, since that seems to be the answer to 90% of your problems in this game.

This game also has some replay value, that’s right, replay value, because from the day of release for one year, players will be able to download a different puzzle a day, testing the limits of your intelligence each and every day, the difficulty varies from puzzle to puzzle, but some might leave you stomped.

One of the complaints in the game comes from the graphics, while not my personal complaint (this comes more from other fans) is one of the most controversial to longtime fans. The character designs being changed from static images to all out 3D models was a low blow to purists, who think it makes the characters to be clunky looking and somehow removes the charm found in the previous games.

Another complaint personally, is that the series has not shied away from the usual fare, it still works mind you, but there will be a time when it just won’t cut it, thankfully, Level 5 is a dependable company and I’m confident they will give us gamers something new in the future..

I give this game an 8 out of 10. It is a great game that will appeal to those who enjoy text based games with an interesting story, or those who enjoy a good puzzle. But those who are trigger happy keep away, most of the gameplay involves poiningt and clicking.

To those whose interest has been piqued, here is a video with the first 15 minutes of the game.

By ericyo On 26 Oct, 2012 At 03:02 AM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Previews, ROG News | With 1 Comment

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Reggie Fils-Aime today was once again the host for today’s Nintendo Direct, he introduced all of Nintendo’s holiday goodies along with some teasers to early 2013. Nintendo along with many 3rd party publishers have a great deal of games to satisfy hardcore Nintendo games as well as casual gamers. I certainly was not left disappointed with the amount information gathered from today’s presentation.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star is due to be released on November 11th in North America, and December 7th in Europe. Reggie explained over and over again that Nintendo will have the game available both in hard copy at the stores and digital copy via e-Shop. Nate Bildorf gave us a bit more details about the game as well. With Mario in this game there is no XP all you do is collect stickers to fight your opponents. Now remember once the sticker is use the sticker is gone. Coins and battles will be key to buy and win stickers. The battle spinner in battle will be key for winning battles.

Next, Reggie spoke about the Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask that comes out this Sunday. Reggie recommends anyone and everyone, even if you have played the game to give it a shot. The game comes with more puzzles than ever before. In addition to all the puzzles though story mode, the game adds 365 downloadable puzzles at no extra charge. One for everyday of the year.

DLC was released for New Super Mario Bros 2 today, 2 new course packs along with a leader board on the games official website. The Gold Mushroom pack is exactly as you read it, a level full of Golden mushrooms for you to collect. Challenge pack B, will challenge you to get a high score and share it with others.

Also talked about a few of the smaller games, one of those games was crosswords plus. The game has endless puzzles that come through SpotPass at no extra charge. Not much further info was reveled about the game. The next game is Art Academy Lessons for everyone. The game has a lot to offer for artist and beginning artist, the game is available now in the eshop and in stores, along with DLC coming soon. 2 packs are available now and 10 more lessons coming later. Finally Style Savvy Trendsetters was talked about for those who like to run a virtual store. There a Fashion Contest demo available now for download and another one Shopping Spree coming this December.

e-Shop starts to be the talk of the show with a few more adds to the library. Pushmo’s equal is talked about with Crashmo. The trick with this game is gravity with new gadgets such as floating blocks doors and move switches. This game will available November 2nd. Fluidity Spin Cycle is another game talked about that uses the full Nintendo 3DS as the controller. The game features an all story book setting and levels are designed for repetitive play. Some area require items to complete puzzles. The game will be available December 27nd.

New trilogy of games coming from Level-5 are also coming, Liberation Maiden from Suda-51. The game is available today. Also due this year the second 2 part trilogy. Aeroporter and Chrimson Shroud are coming soon.

From the creators of Cave Story, Nicalism, Night Sky and later this year Ikachan are coming to the 3DS as well.

If you love Mutant Mudds from Renegade Kid there is 20 new bonus levels also available today.

Reggie also revealed a new trailer for a game that was leaked accidentally by Reggie at E3, the only thing we know about this game so far is that it will include some DLC for new maps and story lines to along with it. Also Reggie Fils-Aime stated in the latest Nintendo Direct that the game will be coming to North America during the first half of 2013.

Now finally for one of my favorite games coming in early 2013 is Animal Crossing New Leaf. The game is now allowing you to choose your shops and hours. How and why? well because you are now the major. You now have the ability to design your outfits from head to toe, that includes socks as well. People will have the chance to share the creations and designs via QR code. As major you will also have control of what major land marks to place in your town, thus letting you mold your city to your desire.

I certainly have open arms for all the upcoming Nintendo 3DS games coming up Animal Crossing and Sitcker Star being my main choices. I have a very very busy schedule the next couple of months filled with video game playing!

Source: Nintedo Direct