Developer Level-5 has released its latest addition of the Professor Layton mainline series Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy, to Android and iOS.
Professor Layton’s daughter Katrielle, makes her debut as the main character and like her famous father, is a skilled puzzle solver. Joined by her faithful dog Sherl and friend Ernest, the trio set out to solve mysteries and discover the whereabouts of the missing Professor, while uncovering the Millionaire’s Conspiracy that intertwines 12 separate cases and seven suspects.
For those in the Japanese market, the 3DS version of the puzzle game will be out tomorrow, while those in North American markets must wait until this fall. No final date has been revealed for the western release.
For the overall video game industry, the business model that Level-5 has chosen is a significant departure from past high profile, mainstream games. Launching the puzzle game first on mobile is a major departure and a strategy used by small publishers, like we’ve seen with Threes!.
This path speaks to the shift of consumer dollars from the console and handhelds to mobile platforms, a fact that bigger game developers are beginning to wake up to and a shift that’s most likely to continue in the marketplace. Where the dollars are is where the developers will go.
Pricing for Layton’s Mystery Journey is another of the experimental breaks Level-5 is taking, running it $15.99 on Android and iOS, a sharp increase from the overall average app price that is around $0.99. The game also comes with several in-app purchases that give costume changes for Katrielle, coming along with additional puzzle sets that aren’t part of the storyline. Individual purchases are available for $1.99, while combo sets can be purchase for $14.99.
Why this is such an interesting experiment is if players purchases all of the extras, the grand total comes to just about $40, about the price of a 3DS game. Puzzlers are able to get the full game experience on mobile at the same price as the handheld players. Level-5 is one of the first publishers to try this out, when others have been charging different prices for other platforms with mobile getting sold at a lower rate.
Layton’s Mystery Journey is the first worldwide release for Level-5 of the Professor Layton series, for all of the previous titles it’s taken months or years for games to make it stateside. In the past, puzzlers have had to wait as translations for the text and voice work.
It’s interesting to see a large publisher trying out new strategies and with such a widely known franchise.