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Review: Layton Brothers: Mystery Room photo
Review: Layton Brothers: Mystery Room
by Tony Ponce

Despite my affection towards the Professor Layton series, I felt no compulsion to download Layton Brothers: Mystery Room when it released a couple months back. I'm not against mobile gaming, nor do I believe it's impossible for a traditionally home / handheld console franchise to make a successful leap into the mobile space. But I'm not so proud that I can't admit to still being somewhat biased.

And so weeks passed. While flipping through the App Store just the other day, I noticed that the first few chapters of Mystery Room were free. I figured it wouldn't hurt to give the game a quick spin to see if it deserved my money. Okay game, I thought, convince me!

Mystery Room does exactly what a good spin-off ought to do, which is to craft an experience distinct from yet complementary to the mainline series. With a focus on solving murders rather than "I haff twelve metchsteek" puzzles, it's less Professor Layton and more Detective Conan -- a blend of anime antics and crime drama that works perfectly on a mobile platform.

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Review: Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale photo
Review: Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale
by Jonathan Holmes

Children see the world from a lower vantage point than adults. They're closer to the smaller things, the things they're more able to control. They're also more able to stand back and see the bigger picture in ways that adults may be too preoccupied to notice. The catch is, they may not have the life experience needed to put that picture in proper perspective.

What may feel like a tiny inconvenience to an adult may be a huge problem to a child. If Mom and Dad have a argument about laundry, the child may feel like they are witnessing a battle between giants. Likewise, larger problems like World Wars, the destruction of the environment, or a floundering economy may not feel that big to a kid if they're kept far enough away from their day-to-day experience. How big something feels compared with how big it actually is can be tough for the child to determine.

This space where children exist allows for concrete reality and unintentional fantasy to co-mingle without hesitation, allowing for the unfathomable to become everyday routine. Not coincidentally, videogames exist in a similar space, which is why some say that they are as close as we can currently get to entering each other's dreams. 

These ideas are what make Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale an emotionally and intellectually engaging, mostly-adorable narrative vacation game.

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Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney announced for US, EU photo
Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney announced for US, EU
by Chris Carter

[Update: European release also confirmed.]

Late last year, Japan got an amazing crossover in Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney -- leaving everyone else in the dark as to when it would be announced worldwide. But due to today's Nintendo Direct, we now have full confirmation -- Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney will be hitting the Nintendo 3DS in 2014.

This is one of the biggest releases on the 3DS, so it's a huge win for portable fans everywhere. I can't wait to dig into it!

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9:00 AM on 07.23.2013

Fantasy Life Link gets an adorable new trailer

Last we heard, Fantasy Life wasn't up for an international release just yet, but that didn't stop the game from being insanely popular in Japan, and with the newest "Link" expansion, it's only getting bigger. Link offers up ...

Chris Carter

9:30 AM on 06.27.2013

Layton Brothers: Mystery Room hits iOS today

At some point Professor Layton had a child. We don't know how it was conceived, or whether or not it was through natural or unnatural means, but lo and behold, Alfendi Layton is a real thing, and he's starring in his own iOS ...

Chris Carter

5:00 PM on 06.26.2013

Level-5's most famous character is... the Aero Porter?

To celebrate their 15th anniversary, Level-5 held a fan poll to find out what the current favorite was amongst their colorful stable of characters. As many people know, Professor Layton is a popular Level-5 franchise, alongsi...

Chris Carter



Review: BUGS vs. TANKS! photo
Review: BUGS vs. TANKS!
by Chris Carter

The idea of shrinking objects and placing them into ridiculous situations is not new. But in the case of Comcept and Keiji Inafune's BUGS vs. TANKS!, it's somehow fitting to pit a tiny World War II German tank battalion against an endless swarm of insects because of ... well ... reasons.

BUGS vs. TANKS! is one part survival horror, one part arcade style action, and one part historically accurate (wait, what?). Yep, it's a pretty wacky game, which is why it works as an entry in Level-5's Guild02 collection.

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3:30 PM on 05.30.2013

Level-5 announces a trio of mobile role-playing games

Ni no Kuni studio Level-5 is developing a set of three role-playing games for mobile platforms, Weekly Famitsu reports. Part of the company's 15th anniversary celebrations, the trio of titles features a few high profile names...

Kyle MacGregor

10:45 AM on 05.23.2013

Fantasy Life will be getting an expansion in Japan

Readers know that I've been clamoring for an international release of Fantasy Life for quite some time. As a roaring success in Japan, Level-5 has already seen fit to update the game, calling the enhancement Fantasy Life Link...

Chris Carter



Review: The Starship Damrey photo
Review: The Starship Damrey
by Tony Ponce

"This game contains no tutorials or explanations. Part of the experience is to discover things for yourself."

Thus reads the disclaimer when you fire up a new game of The Starship Damrey, Level-5's atmospheric sci-fi adventure and first of the Guild02 trilogy. Those words are meant to evoke memories of classic point-and-clicks, of scouring every corner of the room to find the tools you need to advance, of the solution eluding you until that blessed "Eureka!" moment. Here is a game, you think, that seeks to defy modern conventions and allow us to solve problems on our own.

What a bold promise. Too bad the game doesn't live up to it.

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12:30 PM on 05.16.2013

Launch trailer for Guild02's The Starship Damrey

The first in Level-5's Guild02 triple pack, The Starship Damrey, arrived on the 3DS eShop earlier today for $7.99. A new trailer for the moody sci-fi adventure game has surfaced, featuring choice words from game designer Kaz...

Tony Ponce

9:00 PM on 05.04.2013

Is Level-5 about to announce Guild03?

With the three Guild02 games already out in Japan and the first in the set, Starship Damrey, scheduled for release in the States on May 16, it's time to look towards he future. It's never too soon to start thinking "sequel"! ...

Tony Ponce





4:00 PM on 05.04.2013

Starship Damrey flies to Nintendo 3DS on May 16

The Starship Damrey is set to touch down on the Nintendo 3DS eShop in North America on May 16. A survival horror title designed by Kazuya Asano and Takemaru Abiko, it will be the first title from Level-5's Guild02 c...

Kyle MacGregor

3:30 PM on 04.17.2013

Report: Liberation Maiden to get sequel on PlayStation 3

Liberation Maiden is getting a sequel! Well, sort of. It seems like Grasshopper Manufacture has decided to eschew Shoko's roots, following up last year's 3DS shooter with a visual novel for PlayStation 3. According to Si...

Kyle MacGregor

11:45 AM on 04.17.2013

Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy to hit 3DS in 2014

Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy is set to arrive on North American shores in 2014. After arriving in Japan back in late February, the sixth entry in Level-5's series of puzzlers is slated to arrive in Europe someti...

Kyle MacGregor

10:10 AM on 04.17.2013

Nintendo Direct: All three Guild02 games coming to US

It was previously announced that two of the three games in Level-5's Guild02 compilation, Bugs vs. Tanks! and The Starship Damrey, would be localized for the US eShop. Missing from that news was any indication that ...

Tony Ponce