Reviewed On: Nintendo 3DS
Available For: Nintendo 3DS
Age: 7 (PEGI)
It puzzles me how professor Layton's puzzling puzzle games manage to remain so full of puzzles. Surely developers Level-5 are all puzzled out by now?
It's a spectacular feat how the awesome minds at Level-5 keep our attentions captivated and our minds imprisoned in the cognitive mazes that are the Professor Layton games. Miracle Mask is the fifth of his adventures we've seen here in Old Blighty, yet every second of play is as fresh and compelling as it's ever been.
Layton, Luke and Emmy venture off to another part of the world, this time Monte d'Or - which I believe to be a variety of cheese. There's a masked wrongun who's scaring people and causing all kinds of agro, but as usual, it's too much for the bumbling local plod to sort out, and so people turn to Layton's crew for answers.
The story is harmless, fun, intriguing and mysterious. However, it still only plays support to the headliner of the gig - you've guessed it - the puzzles.
Working as a digital puzzle book of sorts, Miracle Mask boasts a decent variety of puzzles, and although some ideas are repeated a few times, they always remain engaging.
With a new platform comes a new look. Characters look better, animations more fluid, and there are fewer static shots hogging the limelight. It's all a little more 21st century.
There are slightly odd additions which can only be described as 'mini-games', and whilst these aren't particularly bad, they haven't got the magic or the pizzazz of the rest of the game. They don't dampen the experience in any way, but they don't enrich it either.
Stepping away from the confines of his usual 2D world, Professor Layton is in eye-popping 3D for the very first time. It works well and looks good - not half baked nor over cooked. Just the right amount.
Aside from the 3D and the animations, there's one element to Miracle Mask that's truly unique and quite remarkable - the incoming downloadable content. A new puzzle will be available for download each day for an entire year. That's an incredible 354 puzzles on top of the hundreds on the cartridge itself, and at no extra cost.
Although the second part of a prequel trilogy, Miracle Mask is still a self contained story, and therefore just as suitable for newcomers as it is for veterans.
It’s no puzzle as to how people are still puzzled by Level-5's puzzling puzzles - it's because they're the best puzzling puzzlers to get people puzzled.
SCORE: 8 / 10
PROS: Better graphics than ever before and puzzles which are still as fresh as the day Layton was born.
CONS: Mini-game moments are a little, well, meh.