Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (Gamefly.com)
After finding the city of Ambrosia, Professor Layton receives a letter from an old friend to come to Monte d’Or. It turns out a man called the Masked Gentleman has been using an artifact known as the Mask of Chaos to cause incidents all over the town. Now Professor Layton must face his past in order to save the future of himself and those closest to him.
The game alternates between playing in the past and playing in the present. In the past story line, we discover how Layton became interested in archaeology in the first place. That and Layton has one screwed up past. I don’t want to give anything away but can you imagine forever living with the knowledge that if you had agreed to leave a dangerous place, your friend would still be alive? However, I will admit that his friend, Randall, does seem a bit self-absorbed. He constantly tries to get Layton interested in archaeology despite his repeated claims that he has absolutely no interest in it. Yes, I am aware that Layton does get an interest in it later on, but the fact remains that Randall tries to push his interests on other people. He also wants to go on a dangerous mission despite his girlfriend, Angela’s, concern for him. I’m not saying that he deserved what happened to him. I’m just saying that if you want to go on adventures you can’t have a family that’s constantly worried for your safety waiting for you at home. In the present, Layton travels the city with Luke and Emmy looking for information about the Masked Gentleman and trying to discover the secrets behind his dark miracles. Again, I don’t want to give anything away but I felt that Professor Layton forgave the Masked Gentleman way too easily.
The game play is the same as any other in the series. You travel around the city solving puzzles. Each one you solve awards you with a point system called picarats. The more you collect the more bonuses you can unlock. You also have to complete three mini-games in order to unlock more puzzles in the bonus section. Oh, and you can participate in a horse racing mini-game which I actually enjoyed even though it had no point. There are also these puzzles in the past where Layton and Randall explore the ruins of an ancient civilization while avoiding mummies and giant boulders. This was my favorite part of the game because we truly get to see Layton in his natural habitat. Yes, I am well aware that archaeologists in real life don’t avoid mummies and run away from giant boulders but for once, the game came across as less like Sherlock Holmes and more like Indiana Jones.
This game is exciting and challenging. I give it 7 out of 10; despite a few plot issues, I truly enjoyed it.