A Letter to Layton: Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask Review
My Dear Friend Hershel, I am writing to thank you for coming to my aid this past week. I was most grateful when I heard you would be visiting to help me solve the mystery of the Mask of Chaos. As usual, your signature combination of thoughtful puzzles and intrepid storytelling were able to save me from both mental atrophy, and most fearsome of all, boredom. Right from the start, you whisked me off to the festive city of Monte d’Or, a most colorful place with equally colorful characters. Not the least of which was the mysterious and dapper Masked Gentleman who antagonized the citizenry with his “Dark Miracles.” I was at once pulled into the story of this character as we witnessed him turning parade spectators to stone, and we took chase on horseback while the Masked Gent glided away on feathery wings. It was as exciting as it was unusual for your tales. The intrigue only grew thereafter. Many suspects arose who could be the face behind the mask, all of which had plausible motives and means to carry out the Masked Gentleman’s plot. I was even caught off guard by how much foreshadowing and allegory there was to be found. It was a mature change of pace as compared to your previous stories, which I must confess, seem almost too far-fetched and random by comparison. However, what compelled me onward with the adventure most, was how you shared a chapter of your tragic first archaeological expedition each night of the investigation. Learning about your college years, getting a puzzle from your parents, and meeting Randall, the incredibly likable friend who first pushed you into archaeology: It was all so bitter sweet, for we knew from the start that your friend does not survive the tale. I am always entertained by your variety of puzzles, be they simple riddles or challenging geometry problems. But the sheer volume I encountered in Monte d’Or was staggering. I completed over 120 by the end of the adventure, and there were still dozens more to discover (not to mention the daily puzzles you promised to send me for a year!). There was certainly a lot more context behind your puzzles in this adventure as well, which blended them into the story neatly. Particularly enjoyable was when you recounted your expedition to the ruins of Akbadain, and I got to play along as you explored rooms, unlocked doors, and disarmed ancient traps with more finesse than Indiana Jones himself. I did look forward to seeing 3D elements incorporated into the puzzles, but it was limited to some animated representations of the puzzles. However, seeing you, good Professor Layton, as well as the rest of your entourage in three dimensions was a treat. I was afraid that it would look strange after years of only seeing you in two-dimensional pictures, but the transition was quite smooth. I thought the many full-motion action sequences I witnessed were also splendid. Now that this adventure is over I am satisfied by the grand and dramatic conclusion, yet anxious to find out what happens next. It is clear this story was just a prelude of what is to come. There was also a sliver of a connection to your previous tale regarding “The Last Specter.” I wonder if this will all come together like an epic trilogy, or simply feel like three separate adventures. Until we meet again,
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