Layton's actual assistant in the adventure is Emmy Altava, a student assigned to him by the dean of Gressenheller University, but Luke's uncanny psychic ability means he bcomes the third member of the team. Everything that happens thereafter is spoiler territory, so we'll say no more. Oh, except there's a nice cat who collects unsolved puzzles at the end of each chapter, in the absence of Granny Riddleton, and the streets of Misthallery are infested with mice that will drop 'mouse badges' if you manage to tap them with the stylus before they disappear up a drainpipe. What could all that be about?
The bonus minigames, available at any time via the Professor's trunk, have all been refreshed. Instead of the car game from last time (or was it the time before?) you get a train set. Your task is to lay down the track so the train passes through all the stations on the way to the exit. There's also one with a fish tank, in which you have to place bubbles to guide a fish through a maze of coins as it bounces off the walls of its tank.
The other minigame is a bit poor, failing to live up to its billing as a puppet theatre. It's just a list of verbs that you use to fill in the gaps in a text-based story, like some kind of primary school English exercise. Completion of any of the minigames is, thankfully, not compulsory.
One thing we don't get any choice in is the London Life bonus RPG, as featured in both the Japanese and US versions but entirely absent from the UK edition. It's not like this is some throwaway extra, either. If you've read anything about Spectre's Call, you must be aware that London Life is widely reported as having 100 hours of gameplay - considerably more than you'll get out of the main game.
Maybe translating it into five diffferent European languages would take too long and have limited value. But we don't need our games to give us the option to play in German and Spanish. Heck, we're ignorant Brits - we wouldn't have a clue what they were saying, or how to change the language back if we accidentally clicked on the wrong thing.
Since there's a serviceable English translation out there, as featured in the US version, why not stick it on the cart anyway? Most continental European gamers probably speak English better than what we does anyway. They'd thank you for it, Nintendo.
Hopefully the missing chunk of bonus game isn't going to sour anyone's opinion of Spectre's Call, because it's as fine a Layton as there has ever been. Of course we'll have a review of the US version in a couple of months, just in case London Life makes it an essential import, but we fully expect it to be crap, and Nintendo of Europe were just doing us a favour in omitting it. Grumble, grumble, grumble...
Anyway, buy this game. For you, for your friends, for your family. Everyone will love it.
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The continuing saga of Layton, except starting all over again at the beginning. Probably best to play the other ones first, but still a fine puzzler if you haven't
- Typically fabulous drawings
- New experimental art styles in the puzzles
- Excellent voice acting
- Missing London Life bonus RPG
- A few poor mini-games