A Professor Layton game is coming to the Nintendo Switch in 2019! However, it is one people may already know about, as it is a port of Katrielle Layton’s first adventure. This might get folks to thinking, “How can I start solving mysteries with members of the Layton family?” Well, Michibiku is on the case!
Who is Professor Layton?
Professor Hershel Layton tends to be the star of almost every game in the series. He’s an archeology professor with quite a reputation. He’s known for being able to solve any puzzle, and his extensive social network is often calling upon him to solve mysteries that initially seem supernatural. He’s almost always accompanied by Luke, his assistant, though a few of the games also have a young woman named Emmy aiding the duo.
The thing about Professor Layton games now is that they tend to follow a family of gifted individuals, rather than one person. While the initial games focused on the professor, later ones have introduced other members of his family. Alfendi, his son, has one game to his name so far. Meanwhile, Katrielle has a game and an anime series. While Professor Layton is an educator, both of his children are investigators.
What are the main Professor Layton games like?
The primary Professor Layton games all follow a certain pattern. They are adventure games with lots of logic puzzles tossed into them. You need to solve the puzzles to keep on going through the story. There are seven games so far.
However, these games weren’t released in chronological order. The initial trilogy follows the most recent adventures of Professor Layton. The second trilogy is set before them. The most recent game, Layton’s Mystery Journey, takes place after all of Professor Layton’s escapades and stars Katrielle.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS, 2007)
The first game in the series and the first entry in the main trilogy, this story follows Professor Layton and Luke after they come to St. Mystere to find its Golden Apple. If players help them solve everyone’s riddles, they’ll inherit the Golden Apple. An HD version was eventually released on mobile devices in 2018.
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (DS, 2007)
The Elysian Box is supposed to kill the people who open it. Professor Layton and Luke are called to investigate it, but find it is missing and Layton’s mentor dead. The duo end up going on a train trip to chase after the box and investigate its history. It directly follows the events of Curious Village. Also, like its predecessor, it received an HD mobile port.
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future (DS, 2008)
This entry is the most recent game, in terms of the series’ storyline, to star Professor Layton. After Layton and Luke witness an alleged time machine demonstration (which goes wrong), the two are supposedly contacted by Luke from the future. He enlists their aid to stop an evil, future version of Professor Layton.
Professor Layton and the Last Specter (DS, 2009)
Professor Layton and the Last Specter is notable for two reasons. First, it is the first entry in the prequel trilogy and follows Layton, Emmy and Luke as they investigate a town with a guardian “specter” gone rogue. More importantly, it includes Professor Layton’s London Life, a full RPG set in Layton’s version of London. You get to make your own avatar and take on quests.
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (3DS, 2011)
The first 3DS entry in the series is the second in the prequel trilogy. Layton, Emmy and Luke happen upon Monte d’Or, a town cursed by a Masked Gentleman. The best version of this game is only available on the eShop in Japan and can be under the name Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask Plus. It included all daily puzzles, extra cutscenes, more regular puzzles, new hints and even more save files.
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy (3DS, 2013)
This was the most recently released game to star Layton, and it is the last prequel trilogy installment. Targent is after the ancient Azran Legacy relics, and it is up to Layton, Emmy and Luke to attempt to stop the group and help a mysterious woman named Aurora. It is the only game (so far) to have the trio going to multiple locations around the world. Its ending also directly leads into the events of Curious Village.
Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaire’s Conspiracy (3DS and Mobile, 2017)
The most recent Professor Layton game in every sense of the world, Layton’s Mystery Journey follows Katrielle Layton as she founds her own detective agency. She ends up solving cases around London, many involving a group of millionaires known as the Seven Dragons, while also trying to find her missing father.
How do the spin-offs work?
There are two Professor Layton spin-offs so far. One pairs the professor with another gaming icon, while the other is like Layton’s Mystery Journey and turns to the next generation.
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (3DS, 2012)
In this mash-up, Professor Layton and Luke investigate while Phoenix Wright and Maya Fey head to witch trials. All four have been pulled into a mystery involving a woman being accused of witchcraft and a strange town run by a Storyteller. The truth can only be discovered by solving puzzles.
Layton Brothers: Mystery Room (Mobile, 2012)
While Layton Brothers: Mystery Room is an adventure game with puzzles to solve, it’s more about uncovering the truth behind more criminal endeavors. People follow Alfendi Layton, an investigator with Scotland Yard’s Mystery Room. With the help of Lucy Baker, his assistant, he investigates crimes and interrogates suspects.
Are there any other Professor Layton-related things I should know about?
Actually, yes! You should keep the anime adaptations in mind. Both Professor Layton and Katrielle Layton have had their moment in the limelight. However, only one is currently available in English.
Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva is an animated movie available worldwide. It is set after Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, but people don’t need to have any knowledge of the events of the game to appreciate it. As long as a viewer knows who Professor Layton and Luke are, they’ll be fine. A former student asks the professor to visit and see her performance after witnessing some suspicious activities. Puzzles ensue!
Unfortunately, Katrielle’s story isn’t available outside of Japan. Layton Mystery Tanteisha: Katori no Nazotoki File is a 50-episode series that follows her as she sets up her own Layton Detective Agency and solves cases. Each episode involves a new client to help and mystery to solve. Since the story eventually ends up involving the same Seven Dragons from her game, it ends up sharing some story beats. No localization has been announced.