Layton’s Mystery Journey was actively disappointing. Following Layton’s daughter was a nice enough change of pace, I suppose, and the series is a good fit for the iPad; but the game didn’t have soul, and the puzzles weren’t enough for me.

For example, you start off by meeting a dog who tries to hire you to figure out why he can talk: but then another, more urgent case comes along, you do that instead, and the question of how the dog can speak never comes up again. And you have some boy who follows you around making puppy-dog eyes: I guess it’s still an improvement on the gender politics of the earlier games in the series, but only barely. The main other person whom you regularly interact with has their personality filled out in very broad, stereotypical strokes; all the other characters have one distinguishing feature and zero depth.

The puzzles are fine, but nothing at all new compared to other games in the series. The visual art isn’t awful, but it isn’t good: the dog always seems like he’s floating off the ground, and characters wave their arms or recoil in shock in ham-fisted ways. And breaking the game up into lots of different cases with only a vague hint at an overall story isn’t particularly effective plot-wise, and makes it harder for you to get to really like the city. So I think I’m done with the series unless something changes.


The other game I played recently on my iPad is WhackaMon. Which I started on the laptop, but it involves fast clicking on different areas of the screen, and doing that with touch is a lot easier. This game the only reason why I’ve ever logged into Facebook Messenger, and I’m certainly not going to continue to do so now that I’m done with the game, but if it’s the only way to play an Eyezmaze game, then I’ll put up with that.

Unfortunately, WhackaMon isn’t one of my favorite Eyezmaze games: too much clicking, not enough thinking, and not quite charming enough. Though there is some thinking involved in the clicking, and there is some charm in the standard Eyezmaze building up of a more and more settled area; it’s too bad that there’s not more thought involved in the building, though. And Facebook Messenger actively gets in your way: I accept some amount of being asked to spam your friends, but being asked to do so immediately after building a new structure is not only probably too often, it actively gets in the way of your enjoying that new structure.

Having said that, I’m glad I played it: I spent a pleasant enough three or so hours tapping on stuff and figuring out systems. And I’m certainly glad that Eyezmaze is continuing to make new games.

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