Operation Backlog Completion 2017
Jun 192017
 

When Level-5 first revealed that the new Layton game would star Professor Layton’s daughter Katrielle, I was among many fans who wondered what this meant for Flora.

After the events of the first game, Professor Layton presumably adopted Flora Reinhold. If they wanted the new game to star his daughter, why invent a new character instead of using his adopted daughter?

Katrielle Layton also bears a resemblance to Flora, most noticeable in the newly-revealed bonus costume. Players who download the digital 3DS version of Layton’s Mystery Journey when it comes out in Japan will receive a costume for Katrielle that puts her in Flora’s outfit.

If you showed me Katrielle in her costume without context, I’d easily believe she was an older Flora.

But they have different eye colors, so it’s pretty clear Katrielle is not Flora. She also would have no reason to hide her identity, especially if she was still going to call herself Professor Layton’s daughter.

(Unless, of course, someone was after her because she was a Reinhold, but it’s still a stretch.)

So then, is there a connection between Katrielle and Flora?

Theories

Some fans think Katrielle is actually Layton and Flora’s daughter. This is highly unlikely. Yes, Layton and Flora aren’t blood relatives, but I just can’t see Level-5 putting Layton in a relationship with his adopted daughter.

Other people have suggested she might be Flora’s daughter with someone else, maybe even Luke. (Being a blood relative of Luke would explain the talking dog.) Why Katrielle uses the name Layton and considers Professor Layton her father would require an explanation, but it’s a definite possibility.

Finally, the similar appearances might just be a coincidence, and Katrielle’s only connection to Flora is that they’re both Professor Layton’s daughters.

What do you think? Is there a connection between Katrielle Layton and Flora? If so, what do you think it is?

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Mar 202017
 

The Professor Layton games always involve some comedy and humorous situations, but it sounds like the upcoming Lady Layton: The Millionaire Ariadone’s Conspiracy might take it a step further.

A little over a week ago, Famitsu featured an interview with Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino about the upcoming game. While he didn’t reveal a lot, we now know a bit more about Lady Layton from Nintendo Everything’s translation of the information.

(I’m late with the news–I missed the translation when it came out.)

As we discussed in the past, Lady Layton will feature smaller mysteries for the protagonist to solve. The interview described it as a “high-speed comical puzzle solving story.”

He then described the relationship between Kato and Sharo (the talking dog) as similar to “boke and tsukkomi,” which refers to a comedy duo that plays off each other.

(It’s similar to the funny man/straight man comedy used by duos like Abbott and Costello. World of Final Fantasy is an example of a recent game that used boke and tsukkomi character types. Didn’t this come up with Spirit of Justice, too?)

Kat will be the funny character, while Sharo is the more serious character who will explain what she said. This will lead to the story feeling like a comedy.

Curiously, there are a few details Hino refused to give, including its place in the timeline and Luke’s relationship with Kat and Sharo.

We still don’t know a lot about Lady Layton, but I’m looking forward to it! Although I still wish they’d clarify how Kat has a talking dog…

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Sep 262016
 

affordable-space-adventuresIf you have a Wii U, enjoy puzzle games, and haven’t played Affordable Space Adventures yet, you’re missing out.

Affordable Space Adventures was part of the last Nintendo Humble Bundle, and I’m glad I picked it up.

The game begins with an advertisement from UExplore encouraging you to take an affordable trip into space to explore the 100% safe planet known as Spectaculon. It then cuts to the first level, where you’re stranded on Spectaculon in a damaged spacecraft.

This sort of dark humor is present throughout the game. It’s often subtle, just the contrast between UExplore’s cheerful promotion of its safe space adventures while you desperately search for a way to contact them and request evacuation.

It is a 2D puzzle game, and one of the best things about it is how well it integrates the Wii U GamePad.

While the TV screen displays the world and your ship, the GamePad screen is essentially your ship’s dashboard. It displays all the systems you control: engines, landing gear, the scanner, etc.

New systems open up as your ship repairs itself, introduced at a gradual enough pace so that you never feel overwhelmed. You’ll need to carefully manage them to solve puzzles and proceed through each environment…

…and keep from being blown to bits by deadly robots.

Yeah, Spectaculon isn’t nearly as safe as UExplore thinks, and since they’d never outfit your ship with defensive measures for such a peaceful journey, you can’t let the alien “artifacts” detect you.

First you need to scan them to see their detection radius and what alerts them , and then you adjust your systems accordingly. For example, if a robot in your path detects heat, switch to your electric engine. Your sound, heat, and electricity outputs are displayed on the GamePad, and while it starts out simple, it becomes truly challenging by the end.

You can also play with friends in local co-op, where each of you has control of different systems and you must work together to survive. Many players describe it as feeling like you’re on the bridge of a Star Trek ship.

Affordable Space Adventures has a nice degree of difficulty, challenging enough to make you think without being unfair. In later levels, puzzle-solving can get pretty tense, but you’ll always feel a rush of relief and satisfaction when you finally get through.

Click for Affordable Space Adventures spoiler

The game never breaks the fourth wall, either. Messages on your GamePad explain new systems, but always in the context of teaching the pilot more about the ship. Puzzles are left for you to figure out on your own. Overall, the GamePad behaves like the ship’s console would, with nice little touches that increase the immersion.

Whether you play alone or with friends, Affordable Space Adventures is a challenging and immersive puzzle game that I highly recommend to anyone with a Wii U.

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