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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 4, 2012
Professor Layton received a letter from an old friend, Angela Ledore, that he haven't seen in 18 years. In her town of Monte d'Or, a mysterious man called "The Masked Gentleman" have been creating havoc, by turning people to stone and burning people alive. But there was more than meets the eye and by using his deductive puzzling skills and delving into his own past, the mystery of the "Mask of Chaos" can be finally be solved.

There are a few things to note that are slightly different from its DS counterpart:

1) The characters are now outlined 3D figures on the screen. They are now moving! It can be a bit awkward though. Their outlines are jagged and wholly incomplete. But the background is superbly done. Even without using the 3D function, you can still gain an illusion of distance and movement. I still kind of preferred the 2D graphics but these new graphics have their charm.

2) It was easier to find things on screen. Remember tapping the screen all over the place to find 3-4 hidden hint coins? Now, that pain is over. There is a magnifying glass function that you use on the screen to search for clues. When it turned orange, there were either hint coins, comments, character interactions or puzzles. So there is less chance of missing anything.

3) There are a couple of parts of the games that are not exactly puzzles per se. At the beginning, you are chasing down the Masked Gentleman on horseback. You have to dodge barrels by moving side to side. The other will occur in chapter 6. Similar to Dr. Lautrec, Layton navigated an underground labyrinth, while avoiding ancient mummies and solving puzzles, to find the final goal. The creators were definitely trying to add an element of role-play.

4) And a slight difference is the navigation screen. This time around, you will have a map on the bottom screen that have location points. Instead of using arrows on the side of the screen, you hit the locations points. Instead of just hitting characters on screen right away to talk to them, you will have to use the magnifying glass to do so. If you want to move again, you have to exit back onto the map. Even after finishing the game, I still haven't gotten use to this new feature.

5) In the Layton games, there are always different mini games located in the briefcase:

a) Robot - There will be obstacle courses and with a maximum of 30 steps, you have to navigate a way for your robot to reach the designated red square.
b) Store - You will be given a 6-10 items to place on shelf. You have the place these items in a certain order so that a customer will impulsively buy it all.
c) Rabbit - Luke rescued an adorable rabbit from the circus. It wants to go back but the ringmaster will only take it back when it works really hard and learn new tricks. Luke will teach the rabbit some new moves and used these skills in a play.

Hooray for the long awaited return of our beloved Professor Layton. The plot and puzzles still maintained the utmost quality to tease your brain. For the returning fans of Layton, you will not be disappointed with the mystery and the difficulty and variety of the puzzles. And I noticed that the puzzles appeared to be more interactive than just calculating and writing down an answer this time around. You will be using your stylus a bit more. The only learning curve is getting use to the new controls. It can get annoying when you forget you're still in magnifying mode and vice versa.

The plot was decent. It lacked the mysteriousness of the previous games. I'm usually slow on the uptake and I pretty much figured out the tricks and 'miracles' right from the start. So, there wasn't that elusive twist that I usual expect from a Layton game. I even figured out the villain with apparent ease. However, the ending was great. It brought a tear to my eye. What an amazing ending that shows the power of love, friendship and loyalty. Also, there will be a FMV that will reveal a new villain that may put Layton to the test in future games.

For first timers, you are Professor Layton. Your help is needed in solving a strange mystery that revolves around a town. You will talk to people scatter throughout the town for clues but you won't get these easily. You will have to solve a puzzle to earn them. You earn picarats for each puzzle depending on the difficulty. Picarats are mostly used for the bonus section. If you are having problems, there are 3 hints and 1 super hint. I suggest using them sparingly since you have a limited amount of hint coins (I accrued 245). However, a few of the puzzles can be still be difficult and an online guide is pretty helpful. As you gather clues and solve puzzles, you get closer to solving the mystery. Should you play the other games before? You should, but not necessary. You still will enjoy the plot without knowing the other games. But it does help with the history of guest characters and inside jokes.

The voice actors were the same and perfect in their roles as usual. There was a nice amount of dubbed scenes. The music is nostalgic but not memorable. I managed to finish the main game within 18 hours. And there is an additional 10-20 hours of extra puzzles to solve and bonuses to see. Layton and puzzle fans will find another winner in "Miracle Mask." If you are not into puzzles, then I don't think you should start here. If you are currently a fan of Layton's or just into mindbending games, pick this up. You won't be disappointed. I really got into this game and definitely couldn't put it down. The only reason I gave this game a 4 star was that the plot was predictable, navigation was an issue and maybe the puzzles were a tad easier. However, the game offered me hours of entertainment. Another win from Level-5. Can't wait for the next one.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2012
I thought the first one was a timeless classic and the best of the series. I have completed all of the Layton games completely. I have enjoyed all of them - fun stories and great puzzles to solve - as good as adventure games get. This game is my favorite now - even over the first one which is almost perfect. This game has 3D graphics which make it more enjoyable and a bit different from the previous ones. Also much more voice acting as well.

The same qualities that make a Layton game a Layton game are still here however - beautiful hand drawn graphics and interesting characters to meet and interact with. So, if you loved any of the DS Layton outings, you'll love this one - better graphics, more voice acting and the best story since The Curious Village - all in 3D too - just the perfect mix for Layton's first 3DS outing.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2013
Multiple choice time. Please choose the option that best fits you.

a. I am die-hard fan of the Professor Layton series.

b. I tried the Professor Layton series but didn't like it. What's with all the puzzles?

c. What's a Professor Layton?

d. I used to love the Professor Layton series, but it got kind of stale.

If you answered a, get this game. Go get it now.

If you answered b, move along. This game is still about solving puzzles, and you probably won't like it.

If you answered c, well, do you like puzzles--brain teasers, word puzzles, simple math puzzles, logic puzzles, etc.? If so, go get this game. You'll love it. Playing previous games in the series is a bonus, but not necessary. If you don't like puzzles, see option b.

If you answered d, this game *might* be fresh enough to get you back into this wonderful series.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask marks the series debut on the 3DS, and this really should have been the start of a new trilogy, instead of the lackluster Last Spectre.

The graphics POP. The scenery is deep and gorgeous, and, thanks to a new for the series 3D modeling technique, bustling with activity. Exploring the city feels more like exploring and less like pointing and clicking a Where's Waldo book.

The puzzles are varied and fun. Hint coins are in abundance if you get stumped.

The mini-games are great. There's a robot game where you have to move your little robot to the end square. It requires a lot of planning and logic, and there are a lot of levels. It's very fun. There's a shopkeeper game where you have to logically lay out items. It's a blast, and makes some funny commentary on impulsive capitalistic culture. Finally, there's a bunny game that's like a lame combination of Nintenbunny meets the play mini-game from the last Layton. It's a bore and a chore, and I wanted to boil the bunny and eat it.

The game breaks from the formula in a few places. It adds an action mini-game (it's not very good, but it's not bad either. It just is.) And it adds an extensive dungeon-crawl type puzzle about halfway through the game. I enjoyed it, although depending on your tolerance for block-pushing, YMMV. The best parts feel like PopCap's Mummy Maze game. While it isn't exactly original, it fits into the Layton universe and creates a more varied experience.

Finally, the plot is great. It delves into Layton's backstory, which instead of being stupid ends up adding some depth to his character. Plus, it isn't as bat-poop insane as some of the previous games have been. Things do go a little off the rails at the end, but by the point it's been such an entertaining ride, I didn't care.

I cannot wait for the next Layton game to see how this plot arc ends.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2012
This is the first Professor Layton game that is exclusively for the 3DS, and it looks amazing. The 3DS upper screen has about twice the pixels of the DS and DSi, resulting in sharp vibrant graphics, and noticeably better text as well. The 3D effects are also well done.

The graphics, cut scenes, voice acting and music are all first-rate, as we have come to expect from Professor Layton games.

I'm about 20 puzzles in and having a great time, except one complaint concerning the controls.

With older Layton games, you would touch the stylus on objects and people on the lower screen to interact with them. Now, the people and street scenes are shown on the upper screen, and the lower screen shows a grey rectangle where you have to DRAG the stylus around to move a pointer or magnifying glass on the upper screen.

So on every street scene you encounter, to look for coins and secret puzzles, you have to DRAG the stylus all over the grey rectangle on the lower screen. This is tedious and I fear could damage the lower touch screen over time.

It would have been much better to use the analog stick to move the cursor around the upper screen. Or at least the option to do so would have been nice.

So far I have encountered two puzzles that also require the stylus, but would have been MUCH better with the analog stick instead.

For example, in one puzzle you have to pursue someone thru the streets on horseback, frequently avoiding obstacles and taking the correct fork in the road. With the stylus this is sketchy, but the analog stick would have been perfect.

Another puzzle shows a 3D corn-on-the-cob with kernels missing, forming a maze on the surface of the cob. You have to guide one ladybug thru the maze to locate her friend. This looks very cool in 3D and requires the stylus for direction control. Again, the analog stick would have been MUCH better for this.

Those are my only complaints, in all other respects the game is great and the hi-res screens and 3D effects really make this Professor Layton game stand out!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2012
Professor Layton returns in this 5th game of the series. In this story, Layton receives a letter from an old friend requesting him to solve the mystery of a masked man who is terrorizing her city. Layton, along with his apprentice (Luke) and his assistant (Emmy) accompany him on their journey to the city of Monte d'Or. Once there, they almost immediately witness one of the Masked Gentleman's "dark miracles." The player is pulled along into the story from the very beginning; there is never a dull moment.

The game length is perfect. It is not too short, nor does it drag on. There are 150 puzzles to solve within the story mode and bonus section, plus a free daily downloadable puzzle for one year. I look forward to downloading a new puzzle every day. As time goes on, these puzzles increase in difficulty.

One of my favorite features of the game is the bonus section. If you manage to get enough Picarats (points you receive for solving puzzles; the more picarats a puzzle is worth, the more challenging it is) throughout the game, you can unlock character profiles, artwork, dialogue, music, and the cutscenes. It is really cool to have these rewards for solving all of the puzzles. The music is even live! Much better quality than the previous games, and even those are hard to call less than perfect.

Children around 10 would enjoy this game, but might need some help from an adult to solve some of the puzzles (if you've seen puzzle 149, you'd probably agree).

Overall, the story is brilliant as always, and could engage people of all ages. You never want to put the game down; but when you must, the game will recap what you did last and what you need to do next when you start the game up again. I would recommend this to returning fans and new players who love great stories and music, charming characters, and puzzles.

However, if you just discovered the Layton series, I would recommend starting with the chronologically first game, The Last Specter (game 4, and the first in the prequel trilogy). It gives back story on how Layton, Luke, and Emmy met.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2013
I received this game for free from Club Nintendo in a promotion they were having. You could get a free 3DS game when you bought a 3DSXL and Mystery Dungeon/Luigi's Mansion.

ANYWAYS! I loved this game! It's full of really fun puzzles. Some are hard and some are easy but you always feel really good when you solve one on your first try without using any hint coins! The cut scenes look absolutely wonderful in 3D. There is an incredible amount of depth and I really love the characters :)

Maybe I am slow or stupid but I didn't think this was very predictable. (I'm not the sharpest knife in the rack) So I found this game really enjoyable all the way until the end! I'm happy I stumbled upon Professor Layton and I will get more of these games in the future.

I give this 4 stars because overall, it was a great game, but I swear, the music was driving me insane. I had to turn off the sound halfway through the game. It was making me want to gag because of just how repetitive it was. It might not be a big deal for most, but for me, I wish there was some sort of variety to the soundtrack.

By the way, the bunny mini game.... is the best thing ever! I squealed!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2012
I think with this being the first Prof. Layton on the 3DS system, they have done very well in the graphic's and implementing some of the puzzle's with that 3D effect. The Miracle Mask was probably one of my most favorite and memorable Prof. Layton. I haven't seen one done as well since #1 Professor Layton and the Curious Village.

Although most of you will be looking for con's in the game. Honestly even with the game the story is amazing and keep's you captivated since the start of it. Puzzle interaction is really good. Although they're are a few of those puzzle's that have a trick in the wording but those are always fun.

All in all this is one amazing game, got it Oct. 31 beat it Nov. 3 toke 15hrs. Also the downloadable puzzle's theirs 20 different categories and each day you get 1 puzzle from 1 of the categories and the first one in each category is fairly simple and then they progressively get harder. Good job on that Level-5 and Nintendo.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2012
The 3d seems akward at first but you get used to it. It looks so much prettier! i especially like the fact that you don't need to be constantly tapping for hint coins anymore because you just need to slide the pen around the touch screen and hint coins will be highlighted. Great puzzles and a great story plus puzzles every day for a whole year! What more can you ask for? This is a must buy for puzzle lovers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2012
I would recommend this to anyone who has ever played Professor Layton. The mini-games are fun, and the puzzles are not to hard. Some of them require some math and heavy thinking. I am not quite finished it yet and am enjoying it. I had to go on the internet to work some mini-games out with the robot. The other mini-games with the rabbit and the shop are really fun to do. Buy it and enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2012
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask is the fifth game in the Layton series, and it's a great starting point for newcomers. This is the second game in the prequel story arc, and it goes into great detail about the past games. The 3DS adds a greater deapth to the game, and the free puzzles for a year is awesome! Well worth the money!
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