Layton Brothers Mystery Room

layton

I’m a bit late to the party, I know. Layton Brothers Mystery Room was released in 2012 in Japan, and 2013 in the US. However, it’s new to me because I didn’t get an iPad until May of 2014, and it took me a few months to realize that the game was actually available in the English language. Better late than never, right?

I’ve found Level-5 games to be a bit quirky, and this game is no exception. On one hand, you’re in the Professor Layton universe. On the other, you’re not an archaeologist solving puzzles, but a new detective constable assigned to work the toughest murder cases with Alfendi Layton, son of Professor Hershel Layton.

The game feels more like Ace Attorney to me than like Professor Layton, due to the clicking about, examining clues, and comparing the evidence to witness statements. It’s perfect for tablets. The main difference is that there are no attorneys involved. It’s Order without Law. It’s difficult to go into much detail without spoiling the story, but it’s pretty true to the Layton formula. Another plus is that there’s no penalty for incorrect deductions, which is good because some of the leaps in logic didn’t make much sense to me.

It’s a short game; I finished in under 10 hours. The first third of the game is free, while the rest is split into two inexpensive DLC packs that cost a total of $4.98 US. I can’t help but notice that this format leaves a great opening for more add-on content. At the end of the game thus far, there are still mysteries left unsolved, such as:

  • Who is Alfendi’s mother?
  • Where’s the other Layton Brother?
  • What’s the Professor up to now?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Layton Brothers Mystery Room official site

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I didn’t choose the Fantasy Life; the Fantasy Life chose me.

Fantasy Life logo

Fantasy Life is the latest role-playing game (PRG) from Level-5 for the Nintendo 3DS. I noticed, while trying to come up with stuff to say for this post, that I have a lot of brand loyalty when it comes to game developers. The name Fantasy Life didn’t mean much to me, but one look at the Level-5-esque characters had me intrigued. It’s not that the characters are exceptionally drawn or anything, it’s just that they have that distinctive style that evokes Professor Layton and Ni No Kuni, both of which I love.

Fantasy Life Witch
How can you say “no” to those beady little eyes?

 

Anyway, I bought this game on a whim, or perhaps it was a double-whim. First, I thought I had pre-ordered it on Amazon, but this past Monday, I realized that the release day had come and gone, which meant that I hadn’t ordered it after all. I immediately ordered my copy.

The short story: this game has everything I like about MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online RPGs), but without the MMO part, if that makes any sense. You have the option of calling your Nintendo DS friends over to play with you, but it’s not required in any way (that I know of). However, it does note which of your friends has the game and integrates them into your game. For example, it placed the house of one of my friends, complete with his interior décor, next door to mine. (I was confused – one of my DS buddies has a similar name to one of the NPCs. It’s the NPC’s house that’s next door to mine. Steele vs. Stele, it’s an easy mistake to make, right?)

This game has one major thing that most single-player PRGs does not: crafting! Along with the standard combat classes (known in this game as “lives”) such as paladin, mercenary, hunter, and wizard, you can also choose a gathering “life,” such as a miner, or a crafting one, such as blacksmith.

I started out as an alchemist, a crafter of potions and charms, and boy did my character need them! Alchemists can use daggers in battle, but aren’t very good at defense, so those potions come in handy. However, you can change your “life” often, and without penalty, so long as you’re not in the middle of a main story quest. This means that you can mine, chop wood, gather herbs, fish, and fight in the same area, without having to run back and forth to switch lives! Admittedly, it took me about eight in-game hours to realize that, so I did have some back-and-forth to do, but now I know, and now you know, too!

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle
Courtesy of G.I. Joe (and thethingswesay.com)

 

I don’t think I’m anywhere near finished with the story yet (I just unlocked the third city), and it’s obvious that Butterfly is hiding something, but this game will have me wasting many an hour trying to become a god in all lives.

Bravely Default: (where the) (f)airy (f)lies
Thanks to Airy, I still have trust issues with winged guides.

 

If only it were as easy to master skills in real life. Oh, well. Those fish aren’t going to catch themselves, so I’ll catch you later!

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Holy Sugar, It’s Candy Corn Season!

With a blog named Sugar Palace, I figure I should talk about candy. It’s been autumn (in the Northern Hemisphere) for a few days now, so candy corn is ubiquitous. I first noticed it at Stop & Shop in late July.

Stop and Shop had Halloween candy in July
Stop & Shop Halloween candy display. Photo taken by Dee on July 27, 2014.

Now, I’m a self-confessed sugar addict. My blog is named after a fictional doughnut shop named in a Dar Williams song (“Party Generation”). In my mind, the four seasons are Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas. I get cranky when there’s too much blood in my glucose stream. TL;DR version: I f*cking love Halloween candy. However, that being said, even I have standards.

There has been a disturbing trend over the past couple of years of candy companies making different varieties of candy corn. First, there was the awkwardly-named Indian Corn. Then came the pumpkins, followed by the all-star combo known as the Harvest Mix. All of these are pretty yummy, if you’re in the mood for candy corn.

However. Last year, I noticed Candy Corn M&Ms, and Starburst Candy corn. They were a bit odd. I could tolerate the Starburst variety; if I ignored the candy corn-like texture, they were pretty tasty.

This year, I have to draw the line.

Brace Yourselves: Pumpkin flavored everything is coming
Listen to Ned Stark. Unless he tells you to trust Littlefinger.

Brach’s is now selling Pumpkin Spice flavored candy corn. Being an intrepid candy lover, I decided to try it.

Never again. It was reminiscent of cinnamon, if you swallowed a spoonful of powdered cinnamon that had been left out for a year and a half. Seriously, it had the powdery feel to it, without much of the taste. I could smell the pumpkin, but I couldn’t taste it.

I am loath to throw candy away, but I had to spit this stuff out and throw the rest of the bag away. Ick!

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