This isn't the Professor Layton I'm used to.
The Professor Layton series has seen global success through it's winning combination of mystery and brain-teasing puzzles. With Professor Layton and the Century of the Seven Phantom Thieves, the series finally arrives on your smartphone, but in a style slightly different from what you may have been expecting (catch the iOS version here).
Here's the official trailer shown at TGS2012:
The greatest detectives vs. the Seven Phantom Thieves sounds like a pretty awesome premise sure to catch the attention of any Layton fan, but how does it play?
And here are the Seven Phantom Thieves. I count 8 people (?), but maybe that's actually part of the mystery...
This installment was developed by Mobage, and if you're familiar with their style of gaming, you may already get the sense that Seven Phantom Thieves is going to be a different experience from past Professor Layton games.
- Detective work via board game? RPG-style battles?
This looks a little different from what you may have been expecting. Let me explain the basic flow of the game.
- Spin the roulette wheel and move your piece to get info on the criminal from the townspeople
- Take this info and narrow down the suspects in order to figure out who the real criminal is
- Once you find your man (or woman), you enter an RPG-style battle with a limited number of turns and must capture them
This is completely different from previous Professor Layton games. If you were looking forward to mind-bending puzzles and the like, you're going to find this game a bit of a letdown. But I can assure you that, even with its completely different style, Seven Phantom Thieves is still pretty fun on its own.
Seven Phantom Thieves features collectible digital cards that can be purchased with coins. Using the roulette eats up your movement points, and the number of times you can make an accusation against a suspect is also limited. These are replenished gradually over time, or by using special items or landing on the same space as a friend.
When you are attempting to capture the criminal, the suspect is covered by a fog and you have to use your detective points to bring them out and catch them. If you run out of detective points, you can't make the arrest. So how does one get more detective points, you ask?
- Gain detective points by buying new clothes and furniture
This part of the game works like this: you buy furniture to get fame, which unlocks clothes, which then increase your detective points. It's a robust system and works well. I was a bit taken aback that this is how the first Professor Layton smartphone game turned out, but it actually makes for a pretty good game.
This version lets you play for shorter periods at a time, has well-done boardgame elements, and some social networking aspects, such as outfitting your room and buying clothes, all of which end up making for a solid game.
The tutorial explains everything simply and in an easy-to-understand manner, making this game appropriate for all types of game players. You also get a random shot at a prize each day, meaning this game can easily be played for free if the player is willing to take their time and proceed slowly.
In conclusion, Professor Layton and the Century of the Seven Phantom Thieves makes for a quality entertaining game, but I still wish I could do some good-ol' puzzle-solving.
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Time played: about 30 mins
Device used: Galaxy Note (SC-05D)
Last updated: 11/14/2012
Price: free (in-app purchases available)
Compatibility: Android 2.0 or higher
Translation by Jason Morgan