Layton Brothers: Mystery Room

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Layton Brothers: Mystery Room
Mystery Room Logo.png
English logotype
Developer(s)Matrix Software
Publisher(s)Level-5
Director(s)Tatsuya Shinkai
Producer(s)Akihiro Hino
Designer(s)Tatsuya Shinkai
Composer(s)Yuzo Koshiro[1]
Takeshi Yanagawa[2]
Takeshi Arai
SeriesProfessor Layton
Platform(s)iOS,[3] Android[4]
ReleaseiOS
  • JP: September 21, 2012[5]
  • NA: June 27, 2013
  • EU: June 27, 2013
Android
  • WW: September 9, 2013
Genre(s)Adventure, Puzzles
Mode(s)Single-player

Layton Brothers: Mystery Room[a][6][7] is a puzzle adventure video game for iOS and Android,[4] published by Level-5.[3] It is a spin-off of the Professor Layton series, following rookie investigator Lucy Baker, who works with genius detective Alfendi Layton, son of Hershel Layton, in a special department of Scotland Yard's crime investigation unit known as the "Mystery Room".[3] The game was released in Japan on September 21, 2012,[8] and in English on June 27, 2013. An Android version was released on September 5, 2013.[4]

Story[edit]

The game is told from the perspective of newly minted detective constable Lucy Baker, who begins her new job at New Scotland Yard's "Mystery Room", a department of the Serious Crime Division that solves the cases no one else can. Working with Alfendi Layton, a brilliant but reportedly "unstable" investigator, Lucy discovers that he has a dissociative identity disorder over which he has no control. His alternate persona, which Lucy nicknames "Potty Prof", exhibits a largely uninhibited and sometimes vicious personality with a performative flair, professing an admiration of skilful criminals and the "beauty" of a clever murder, but holding a cold and unforgiving attitude towards the fates of perpetrators.

Plot[edit]

Arriving at Scotland Yard on her first day, detective constable Lucy Baker is advised by the Commissioner and his Deputy of her posting to a department of the Serious Crime Division nicknamed the "Mystery Room" as assistant to inspector Alfendi Layton, an apparent genius investigator. Upon their meeting, Alfendi has Lucy work alongside him to solve the murder of a young woman at a seaside resort as a test. Managing to prove herself, the pair begin work together in earnest, solving a new case involving the death of a stay-at-home husband. During their inquiries, Lucy discovers that Alfendi has a "split personality", encountering his "deranged persona" for the first time in the middle of a climactic interrogation.

After investigating the public shooting of a popular stage actress at the request of Alfendi's old partner, Justin Lawson, the duo begin their fourth case, an alleged "supernatural" locked room murder of an archaeologist in South America, who was rumored to been the target of the curse of a (now stolen) stone idol he had uncovered. They discover that the killer is actually Chico Careta, a local guide, and that he was manipulated into the crime, and used as a scapegoat, by his fiancée, Mariana Etista. When she discovered Scotland Yard were reopening the case, she sent Chico to England to take the fall, and is currently on the run. After solving another murder, that of a popular DJ at a radio station, the Commissioner personally requests Alfendi and Lucy investigate the deaths of a group of mafia members. Their deaths all seem to be copycat murders based on the "Jigsaw Puzzle Killings", a 26 victim serial killing from four years ago that was never made public knowledge. Alfendi and Lucy ultimately deduce that one of the mafia members killed the others alongside an unknown female accomplice, before being back-stabbed and killed by her himself.

Some time later, Alfendi is alerted by Hilda Pertinax, an Interpol investigator he has history with, that Mariana Etista's location has been tracked down to a safe house in England. Upon uncovering Mariana's hiding place, it is revealed that her true identity is that of Diane Makepeace, the daughter of the Jigsaw Puzzle serial killer, Keelan Makepeace, who has followed in her father's footsteps and become an equally brutal murderer. She reveals herself as the one who orchestrated the mafia murders, and expresses a deep hatred for Alfendi, accusing him of "murdering" her father during a confrontation four years ago.

Diane manages to escape, and sends an invitation to Alfendi to visit Forbodium Castle, where Al and her father had their fateful showdown four years ago. Arriving in pursuit of Alfendi, Lucy and Hilda are separated, and Lucy is locked in a room by Diane, who forces her to solve a reenactment of a murder in order to escape. Upon solving it, Diane tells Lucy that this was her father's first killing; Keelan had once told her he had help inside the police, someone who destroyed vital evidence in that particular case. Lucy is shocked to discover the investigator in charge of the case was Alfendi.

As Lucy makes her way deeper into the castle, a gunshot rings out, and she and Hilda arrive on the scene to find Diane has been fatally shot, with Alfendi, who was being held captive by her, the only plausible culprit. Despite this, his "Potty Prof" personality asserts that the one who killed Diane is the same person that killed her father four years ago, proclaiming his own innocence in both slayings. He asserts that Hilda, Justin Lawson, and Commissioner Barton are all to be considered suspects, as they were the only people involved in the Forbodium Castle incident four years ago.

Upon investigation of the two incidents by the trio and a newly arrived Justin, the impossibility of a culprit other than Alfendi appears irrefutable, and, despite every new fact brought to light, Lucy is gutted when the "Placid Prof" asserts his own guilt. Despairing, Lucy is told by Hilda that "Potty Prof" is actually the Alfendi she and Lawson worked alongside, and that his gentle, "normal" personality is the so-called "fake one" that formed four years ago. In spite of this shock, Lucy resolves to keep believing in Alfendi, and conducts a final investigation, through which she unveils Justin as the mastermind behind the murders of Keelan and Diana Makepeace. He had found out about Keelan being the Jigsaw Puzzle Killer four years ago, and made him a deal, allowing him his liberty so long as he eliminated certain people at Lawson's request. He also took advantage of the Jigsaw Puzzle Killings to disguise other unrelated murders, placing jigsaw pieces at their crime scenes. Lawson killed Keelan to silence him, and killed Diane out of a fear that questions about the incident were resurfacing, especially surrounding the increasingly frequent fronting of "Potty Prof". However, even after confessing, he refuses to elaborate on his original motives, simply stating that some bad people had become too powerful.

Some time later, Alfendi visits an incarcerated Justin, who claims that the origins of Alfendi's "placid personality" are in brainwashing efforts made on Al by Lawson while he was in a coma following the Forbodium incident, in the hope of ensuring Al kept his mouth shut. Both of Alfendi's personalities and Lucy are all unconvinced that such a cheap trick could work, and vow that between the "three of them" they'll solve the "mystery of Placid Prof". In a final scene, the Commissioner is seen talking on the phone about recent events with an old friend named Hershel.

Gameplay[edit]

The game is split between two distinct and alternating portions: investigation sections, and interrogations. Most of the cases follow the same routine, in which the player is given the basic facts of the case by Alfendi Layton, then must investigate the crime scene using the Mystery Room's crime scene recreation device. At the start of the case, the player is typically given a set amount of time to do a cursory sweep of the crime scene, and then must say who they think the murderer is based on their first impressions. Following this, the investigation proper commences, with further time spent examining the circumstances surrounding the crime (such as the means, motive, or certain puzzling aspects of the murder itself), finding evidence to back up points, and answering certain multiple choice questions.

Once all the points of an investigation sequence have been cleared up, the player is then able to interrogate a main suspect. During interrogations, the suspect's defense against accusations is represented by a casing around a beating heart. As the player presents the correct evidence to back up their accusations and prove the suspect's guilt, the casing slowly breaks apart. When the suspect's exposed heart turns to stone and breaks in two, the player has beaten the suspect, although on some occasions the casing reforms (entirely or partially) after breaking when the suspect attempts to offer (seemingly) contradictory information or refutes the presented evidence, only to break again if they can be proven wrong. If the suspect is innocent or the evidence insufficient, the characters return to their investigation refocused, making further study of new points of interest to clarify the incident before another confrontation.

Development[edit]

The main protagonists of Layton Brothers: Mystery Room. Lucy Baker is on the left, Alfendi Layton on the right.

Layton Brothers: Mystery Room was first announced at Level-5 Vision 2009 as Mystery Room, the first entirely original title in Level-5's Atamania series.[9] In Mystery Room, the players would team up with detectives Poccho and Sly to solve crimes sent to their "Mystery Room" by other detectives.[9] A player could select which crime they would like to investigate from a list of crime reports. The game was originally designed for the Nintendo DS and was planned to be released in 2010.[9] Level-5 initially announced plans to bring a demo of the game to the 2010 Tokyo Game Show, but removed it from their schedule soon before the event, throwing the game's status into question.[1] In May 2010, the developer published an update on the game's progress and announced that the game would be delayed until Spring 2011.[1] Finally, on October 15, 2011, the title resurfaced at Level-5 World 2011 as an iOS game titled Layton Brothers: Mystery Room. Though the game was now rebranded as a Layton series title, many of its original elements remained intact, including the titular premise and the focus on solving discrete cases using remote investigative techniques.[3]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic75/100[10]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Adventure Gamers4/5 stars[11]
Destructoid8.5/10[12]
Edge7/10[13]
Game Informer7/10[14]
GamesMaster88%[15]
VideoGamer.com7/10[16]
Digital Spy4/5 stars[17]

The iOS version received "generally favorable reviews" according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.[10]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Japanese: Reiton Burazāzu Misuterī Rūmu (レイトンブラザーズ・ミステリールーム)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Gantayat, Anoop (October 20, 2010). "Level-5's Mystery Room Resurfaces". Andriasang. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
  2. ^ "Works of Takeshi". Ancient Inc. Archived from the original on March 6, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d Gantayat, Anoop (October 15, 2011). "Level-5's Mystery Room Reborn as a Layton Title for iPhone". Andriasang. Archived from the original on October 17, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c LEVEL5_IA (September 5, 2013). "Level5_IA: Layton Brothers: Mystery Room ..." Twitter. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  5. ^ "Tokyo Game Show 2012". Level-5. Archived from the original on 2012-09-01.
  6. ^ "Level-5 Vision 2011 Recap". Level-5 America. October 15, 2011. Archived from the original on October 17, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  7. ^ "Layton Brothers Mystery Room" (in Japanese). Level-5. Archived from the original on October 18, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  8. ^ Ishaan (October 15, 2011). "Professor Layton Has A Son Starring In His Own New Game". Siliconera. Archived from the original on October 18, 2011. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  9. ^ a b c Gantayat, Anoop (August 26, 2009). "Level-5 Continues with Brain Teasing Atamania Games". Andriasang. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Layton Brothers: Mystery Room for iOS Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on April 10, 2016. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
  11. ^ Medina, Claudio (August 19, 2013). "Layton Brothers: Mystery Room review". Adventure Gamers. Archived from the original on March 25, 2016. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  12. ^ Ponce, Tony (August 19, 2013). "Review: Layton Brothers: Mystery Room". Destructoid. Archived from the original on April 12, 2016. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  13. ^ Edge staff (July 2, 2013). "Layton Brothers: Mystery Room". Edge.
  14. ^ Juba, Joe (July 11, 2013). "Layton Brothers Mystery Room: Not Following In Daddy's Footsteps". Game Informer. Archived from the original on March 13, 2014. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
  15. ^ "Layton Brothers: Mystery Room". GamesMaster: 79. October 2013.
  16. ^ Miller, Simon (July 2, 2013). "Layton Brothers: Mystery Room Review". VideoGamer.com. Archived from the original on March 16, 2016. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  17. ^ Nichols, Scott (July 2, 2013). "Mobile reviews: 'Layton Brothers', 'Colin McRae Rally', more". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on August 6, 2014. Retrieved April 13, 2016.

External links[edit]