I’ve always been a big fan of Level-5’s Professor Layton series. First released in 2007 on the DS, Professor Layton and the Curious Village introduced gamers to Hershel Layton and his assistant Luke. Boasting a Studio Ghibli aesthetic with a quaint and charming version of England viewed through a Japanese lens, Professor Layton was instantly likeable and an excellent addition to the DS’ library. It was also one of the first games I remember playing that made good use of the touchscreen feature.
Fast forward to 2019 and we’ve seen a handful of sequels, an awesome Ace Attorney crossover and releases on smartphones and tablets. The Professor Layton series has certainly made a lasting impression and this latest (re)release is no exception.
Falling under the newer Layton’s Mystery Journey umbrella and starring Katrielle, Hershel’s daughter, this Switch version Katrielle And The Millionaire’s Conspiracy is every bit as good as it was on 3DS and then some.
Katrielle And The Millionaire’s Conspiracy Review
Like every other game in the series, Katrielle And The Millionaire’s Conspiracy is a mystery, visual novel packed with memorable characters, wonderful anime visuals, great voice acting and a whole lot of puzzles.
Puzzle-solving has always been the at the crux of the series. Even when the puzzles make little sense, or have little to no bearing on what is actually happening in the story, they’re a way to drive gameplay and break up the walls of text. Sure, they may be non-sequiturs but they somehow work.
One issue I have and have always had with the puzzles in Professor Layton, is that often, the answer is a trick or unfair based on the clues given. This is a hallmark of brain-teasers and puzzles, but at least in most cases you can ask additional questions or you’re given more information. In Katrielle And The Millionaire’s Conspiracy what you’re given is all you have.
When you come across a puzzle that you just can’t seem to solve, even when using logic and reasoning, try thinking about it in a different, “cheaper” way. Nine times out of 10, you’ll get the right answer.
While the puzzles in Katrielle And The Millionaire’s Conspiracy are par for the course, the story gets a bit of a different treatment. In other Layton games, there’s an overarching mystery that encompasses the entire game. In Katrielle And The Millionaire’s Conspiracy, each chapter is a different case.
This adds a bit of variety to the story, though I do miss the twists and turns of the old investigations. You still get that in these cases, but given the much shorter length of each one, there aren’t as many reveals or insane left-turns to keep you guessing.
When it comes to performance, Katrielle And The Millionaire’s Conspiracy runs like an absolute dream on Switch. It looks great and it sounds great too. The improved resolution, thanks to the Switch’s screen means that everything looks better than ever, characters and animations are sharper and finding clues and puzzles is a lot easier.
The Professor Layton games have always been visually impressive, even though they’re largely flat, static paintings. Now, on Switch, the scenes all come to life, even if it’s just a little. 3D models for the characters stand out from the background and draw you in with their quirky designs.
Switch it up
Playing on Switch is great too. At least, playing in handheld mode is. Playing on the TV works fine, but it’s just not the best way to experience this game. When you play in TV mode, you need to use your controller to drag the onscreen hand around to look for clues.
It’s much more intuitive to play in handheld mode and use the touchscreen. You can use a single Joy-Con and pointer controls, but this too is a little off. For me, the best way to play is to use your finger or even a Switch stylus to search the scene for clues and to solve puzzles.
With a tonne of puzzles included in the campaign, daily puzzles available to download, secrets to find and a story to unravel, Katrielle And The Millionaire’s Conspiracy is a great Switch game and a worthy addition to the Layton franchise.
Katrielle And The Millionaire’s Conspiracy was reviewed on Switch using a digital copy provided by Nintendo.
Game Title: Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle And The Millionaire's Conspiracy
- Charming, visual novel - 8/108/10
- Great voice acting - 9/109/10
- Lots and Lots of puzzles and brain teasers - 8.5/108.5/10
- Engaging and absorbing - 9/109/10