I almost titled this blog post “What IS Layton 7?” because really, why is a card game about fortune-telling and vampires being stamped with the Layton name? When Level-5 said Azran Legacy would be the last to star Hershel Layton, I thought any future games would at least keep a similar gameplay style.
The original Layton 7 announcement sounded bizarre and out of place in the series. This sounds nothing like that… but it still doesn’t feel like a Layton game, especially with the “7” in its title implying it’s the next main-series entry. (Note: if it is, I fully expect the fortune-telling to be an elaborate deception, the vampire to be a normal human, and the explanation for how and why this was accomplished to be so convoluted it makes fortune-telling and vampirism believable in comparison.) Why?
If Level-5 really doesn’t want the next game to have classic Layton gameplay, fine. But why Layton 7? Why not a sequel to Layton Brothers: Mystery Room?
Layton Brothers: Mystery Room came out in 2013. Like Layton 7, it came out only for iOS and Android devices. Like Layton 7, it doesn’t play anything like a Professor Layton game. Like Layton 7, it is often maligned and ignored by fans.
Mystery Room’s gameplay isn’t fantastic. It plays like an ultra-streamlined Ace Attorney game, with no penalties or other consequences. Yet I still named it an Honorable Mention when I listed the best games I played in 2013, even though I acknowledged it as “mediocre.” Despite its flaws, it won a place in my heart–mainly because of its characters.
Mystery Room puts you in the shoes of Lucy Baker, a rookie detective constable at Scotland Yard assigned to work in the “Mystery Room,” where the strangest and most serious crimes are sent to be solved. This makes her the assistant of Alfendi, Professor Layton’s estranged son.
(No, it’s never even hinted at who Alfendi’s mother might be. Some fans even believe he might be adopted, although personally…
It makes so much sense!)
While Lucy is a fun protagonist, Alfendi Layton is the story’s shining glory. The mild-mannered, socially awkward inspector is considered brilliant for his crime-solving skills, but put him in the presence of an evil criminal and another side of him will emerge…
Warning: this video contains spoilers for an early case in the game.
Alfendi’s split personality is one of the most interesting parts of the game and contributes to the overarching plot, which gets stronger in later cases. It seems a shame to consign Alfendi and Lucy to a single game many fans probably haven’t even tried–especially since it ends with a clear sequel hook!
There is so much a sequel could explore: the mystery introduced at the end of the first game, Alfendi’s relationship with his father, his brother (if he even has one), and of course, more delightful interactions between Alfendi, Lucy, and the wacky cast of witnesses and suspects. A sequel could also expand upon the gameplay mechanics to add more depth so it wouldn’t rely so much on the strength of its story.
Ideally, I’d love to see a Layton Brothers: Mystery Room 2 released for the 3DS, maybe with the first game included Bayonetta-style.If it’s mobile-exclusive like its predecessor, I’d still buy it. I just want a sequel–much more than I want Layton 7.
But hey, maybe Layton 7 is a brilliant gem waiting to be uncovered. Maybe the vampire-revealing card game is only the start of a larger mystery. I won’t give up hope just yet.Like this post? Tell your friends!
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