By Spencer . October 18, 2012 . 5:55pm
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask should be a grand time for Layton and his young sidekick Luke. The duo arrive in the festive city Monte d’Or during an extravagant parade, but tragedy strikes when suddenly a giant clown balloon falls from the sky and people turn into stone.
Layton traveled to Monte d’Or after receiving a letter from Angela, a long lost friend he hasn’t spoken to in 18 years. Angela tells Layton about the Mask of Chaos curse and pleads for the professor’s help. Being an English gentleman, Professor Layton isn’t the type of guy to abandon an old friend, so he travels to Monte d’Or with Luke and Emmy.
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask sticks with the same formula where you solve brainteasers to move the story forward. In the first puzzle, you help Layton untie balloon strings by tapping panels on the touch screen. Then a little girl comes over to Layton asking where her mommy is, but only gives a vague description about her hair color and purse. You have to pick the correct mom by looking at five clues said by five women.
I was expecting Medusa, but instead a Masked Man took credit for ruining the parade and turning people to stone. Professor Layton hopped on a horse and made chase. This led to a mini-game where I had to slide Layton left or right to dodge crates and grab carrots to get a speed boost. Imagine a riding a horse in Animal Crossing: Wild World, that’s kind of what this was like.
What’s else is new? Aside from the story, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask moves the series into the third dimension with 3D character models. If you turn on the depth slider you’ll see Layton’s finger poke out of the screen when you solve a puzzle and "look into" the town of Monte d’Or. It feels like Level-5 had more places to hide precious hint coins in Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask since you can zoom into parts of the map.
With only two puzzles solved, there is a lot more of Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask for me to see. I suppose there will be a lot to see even after I complete the game since Level-5 will release a free brainteaser everyday for an entire year. That’s 365 more puzzles and bonus content until October 28, 2013. Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask comes out on October 28, 2012.