The Professor Layton franchise is a long running series of puzzle games for the Nintendo DS platform which combines deep gripping plot, a creative art style, and a variety of clever puzzles that make full use of the touch screen. When a spin off was announced and quite unceremoniously released for the iOS platform, I was looking forward to solving similar puzzles on the go. But that wasn't the game I should have been expecting apparently. Layton Brothers Mystery Room is something a little different.
Our spin off begins in New Scotland Yard as a new detective recruit who is taken under the wing of Professor Not Layton, who solves unsolvable crimes with his massive intellect. There are several purchase able chapters, each containing a linear story arc revolving around bizarre mysteries. While it may have the Layton name and art style attached, the gameplay definitely takes more after the Ace Attorney games. There's nothing wrong with the visual novel approach but the only gameplay element is practically 'find the objective to continue the story' with the occasional multiple choice question.
So the gameplay is extremely weak unfortunately, with a 3D crime to explore via single tapping or swiping to swivel and rotate. Luckily the mysteries are strong enough to hold gamers interest although the structure of each mystery is pretty cut and dry. Basically you're told the case, presented with several suspects and narrow it down by picking one out initially or progressing through the plot. It doesn't matter either way seeing how the game holds your hand the entire time so the freedom of choice is pretty irrelevant.
What keeps me coming back and continuing are the stories coupled with the entertaining narrative and the Laytonesque art style. I want to know what happens and can digest the tales in bite sized chunks via my iPhone when on the go like a mystery novel. There's no fear of screwing up and having to start all over like in the Attorney Ace games so it's pretty easy going.