I think I’m nearly ready to take the cartridge for Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask out of my Nintendo 3DS. It’s been in there for…at least over a month, possibly a month and a half. I know that as soon as I finished off Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion I popped that piece of gunk out and dropped in the professor’s latest adventure, and that was some time early in December 2012. So yeah, a month and a half going by the time of writing. The kicker is that I beat the main game just before the new year hit–so why have I not taken it out of my portable gaming system? Let me tell you, dear readers: daily download puzzles.
That’s right. More puzzles.
Every day since the game’s release, you can connect to WiFi and download a new puzzle. Simple as that. I believe the plan is to do this for one whole year, ending on October 28, 2013. There are twenty puzzle categories, and it seems like you’ll get multiple puzzles within each to ultimately hit a year’s worth. Here’s a list of all the puzzle types and my thoughts for each:
- The Alchemist’s Lair – Connect different colored flasks a specific number of times without overloading the system. Pretty fun, and the later variants get pretty tricky.
- Tile – Match four distinctly different tiles to clear the board. Gravity factors in, with tiles falling into place if you clear ones below them. Not terribly difficult.
- Ghouls and Guards – Similar to The Alchemist’s Lair puzzles, you have to connect light with guards to kill ghosts. Use mirrors to bounce the light around the area. Gets really overwhelming in later difficulty levels.
- Big Block Box – Have to fit a bunch of Tetris-like blocks into a single area, with special rules and limitations in place. A lot of fun though pretty easy to figure out.
- Pen Pals – Have to pen in a bunch of giraffes in a non-breaking fence by moving blocks around in different directions. Can easily solve these through constant trial and error.
- Food Chain – Guide a rabbit to collect all the carrots without getting eaten by the wolf behind it. These are pretty tricky. I used the “undo” button a whole bunch.
- Bewitching Night – Turn on the correct number of lights to guide the witch’s way. With the memo feature, this one is fairly easy to get through.
- Kingdoms – Section of a castle and its grounds from other neighboring castles. Simple and easy, but still enjoyable to solve.
- Vault of the Ancients – Connect one rune to another with a single line, as well as other runes to their respective matches. The larger puzzles are trickier to manage with so many lines everywhere, but one will eventually solve them.
- Perilous Voyage – Guide a boat from start to finish in one single path. Absolutely hate these puzzles, as the inclusion of “invisible” rocks means a lot of guesswork for guiding the boat around obstacles. Have not solved the last four yet.
- Whose Tile Is It Anyway – Place tiles on a board in a specific way to reveal the answer. A bit like Big Block Box, but with new rules to abide by.
- Sweet Truth – Rows and columns of candy must contain only one of each candy type, but no empty spaces next to each other. Nothing terribly mind-breaking to solve.
- A Dish Too Far – Unstack dishes with touching other stacks you’ve cleared out. Just managing space in the end.
- Little Lost Ducklings – Strangely, this puzzle type is nearly exactly like A Dish Too Far, only with ducks and obstacles added on the board.
- St Bronto’s – Lead baby dinosaurs back to mommy dinosaurs. Pretty easy so far, but I suspect later versions will become cluttered and harder to manage.
- Aerial View – Create a runway for the plane to use for takeoff by rotating tiles. Kind of like Pen Pals, but with a few new rules to mix things up.
- Trains and Train Spotters – Direct a train as well as a photographer around a map. Really dislike this as it is not explained very well, and I never much liked that train minigame from The Last Specter to begin with.
- Sun, Sand and Turtles – This one is weird. You have to place water between facing turtles and then also fill in the gaps so the entire board is covered. Not sure if I’m into it or not despite adorable turtles.
- The Barking Beat – Guide a cop along a single path to arrest…animals. It’s okay, but at this point I’ve only gotten to play one puzzle from this category.
- Pipework Patch-up – Connect pipe sections with the exact number of pipes to get the fountain working properly. It’s like The Alchemist’s Lair and Vault of the Ancients, but with water and numbers. Not bad.
Whew. I hope you can see why I’ve struggled with taking Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask out. The content–it just never ends. I don’t remember if there were additional downloadable puzzles in Professor Layton and the Last Specter, but the bonus mini-game London Life kept me more than busy. However, I remember there being additional puzzles for Layton’s first adventure in Professor Layton and the Curious Village, as well as some huff-and-puff over the fact that these puzzles were technically already on the cart and were only being “unlocked” by connecting to the Internet. Also, these were not daily puzzles, but rather one a week, and I got through a few of them, but they were not very exciting. Remember several matchsticks puzzles in there, and nothing more.
Alas, I don’t love every puzzle category, and the second set of categories from Whose Tile Is It Anyway to Pipework Patch-up feel strangely similar. Most use a small nine-by-nine square grid as their play place, which is a bit boring one after the other. Really, the duck and plate puzzles are nearly identical, and maybe that’s showing that the developers have stretched themselves a little too thin and overshot with promises. And since these categories are the ones to get subsequent puzzles for the next few months, I think I can do without my daily fix and just download them all later on when we return to more enjoyable ones, like Kingdoms.
Now, a choice: what to put into my 3DS after Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask has been removed. I have a few candidates. Such as Pokemon White 2, which I’m pretty far along in, but haven’t played since I bought like three 3DS games all at once back in November 2012. Think I’m on my way to the sixth or seventh gym. Also, there’s Paper Mario: Sticker Star still to eat up, especially since I glanced at a walkthrough guide last time I was in GameStop and kind of have a better idea how to knock down those bowling pins. Lastly, there’s Radiant Historia, one of my five games I want to beat in 2013. Decisions, decisions, so stick around and see what game I’m blogging about next for my answer.