Operation Backlog Completion 2017
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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Jul 292016

Layton-Detective-AgencyLevel-5 has revealed new details about Lady Layton: The Millionaire Ariadone’s Conspiracy.

First, the protagonist’s name is Katrielle, or Kat for short.

Second, the title has also been confirmed as The Millionaire Ariadone’s Conspiracy.

Third, it sounds like the game’s structure will be different from previous main-series Layton titles:

The story will focus less on dynamic problem-solving and more on solving multiple mystery cases observed in the everyday lives of Londoners, which will bring a faster tempo and more comical tone to the series.”

The Professor Layton games always sent the professor on a mission to learn the truth behind some strange, large-scale mystery. Since Katrielle runs a detective agency, it makes sense that she will be in London solving cases.

The game’s title and Kat’s search for her father suggest it still has an overarching mystery. It will be interesting to see how the game is structured. Layton Brothers: Mystery Room structured its cases similarly to Ace Attorney, with individual mysteries tied into the main plot.

The official description also says “The creators of the puzzles and brain-teasers, the core element of the series, will also be new.”

This could be great (the later titles already took steps toward adding new types of puzzles), but it’s also worrying. However, the trailer does show a few puzzles, all of which look like fair Layton material.

Speaking of which, Bolt2nd uploaded a subtitled version of the trailer. Let’s take a look.

The dog’s reactions to Kat’s deductions might be the best part of this trailer, especially given the crazy stuff Professor Layton figured out in the past.

Why are your ridiculous ideas always right on the mark?”

However, the subtitles also make it seem like Noah, at least, can also understand him, so it’s not just Kat. Is he really a talking dog? Do they both have Luke’s power? It feels rather odd, but the series has always done some odd things.

Lady Layton: The Millionaire Ariadone’s Conspiracy is definitely making changes to the Professor Layton formula, but I’m excited for what sounds like a great new entry in the series. Best of all, Level-5 also confirmed they’re targeting a 2017 release for Lady Layton in the West, which might make it the quickest localization of any Layton game.

What are your thoughts on Lady Layton’s multiple mysteries and other changes?

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