Offering a few tweaks to the formula rather than completely rewriting the rulebook, Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle is the fifth game in the series, which, thanks to its almost perfect blend of logic based puzzling and a winding story, has won over millions of fans since its first outing back in 2008.
The puzzles are what makes the whole series unique – not just simple match three games orTetris-style stacking, instead you're solving all manner of riddles, logic problems and brain-teasers. They're the sort of problems that'll keep you up all night trying to figure them out, whether it's working out the ages of siblings, sharing out land or sliding blocks around to move a ball from one end to the other - which makes that final eureka moment all the more rewarding when you get there.
Catching up with Layton, Luke and Emmy some time after the events of Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call, the trio happen upon a mysterious Masked Gentlemen who's been terrorising the peaceful city of Monte d'Or by turning unsuspecting citizens into stone statues. Suspecting the involvement of the Mask of Chaos, which bestows great power to whomever wears it, a revelation takes you on a journey back to when the Professor was just seventeen, in an attempt to unravel the mystery...
Packed with some 150 new brainteasers, the game promises plenty to keep puzzle fans ticking over - but things won't just come to an end when you've finished the story, as Nintendo are providing a year's worth of puzzles to download after release, completely free of charge - that's one a day for a whole year, or some 365 free puzzles! Outside the story, there's also a variety of minigames to keep you busy, including navigating a wind up robot to the a goal, avoiding a series of contraptions along the way; stacking shop shelves in such a way that your customers buy everything you've got; and helping Luke teach a circus rabbit some new tricks. Much like the last iteration's London Life extra that we missed out on in Europe, Layton and the Mask of Miracle also comes with an extra mode that lets you control a young Professor Layton as he explores ancient ruins, trying to reach the exit of a series of puzzling chambers littered with obstacles and enemies.
Coming to the 3DS on the 26th of October, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask will be available both in stores and to download via the Nintendo eShop. We're dusting our top hats off now.