Looking forward to the next Professor Layton and Fantasy Life games? Well, put down your 3DS and pick up your smartphone, because developer Level-5 has announced that both games will be arriving on mobile devices this summer...but only in Japan.
Professor Layton is the kind of series that doesn’t really need an introduction. It’s been around for a very long time, and even if you don’t play the games, you probably have a grasp of the concept: A Sherlock Holmes-esque dude in a top hat has to solve tricky puzzles in order to unravel an overarching mystery.
As for Fantasy Life, the franchise's latest RPG adventure from Level-5 only arrived on Western shores last fall, quickly becoming one of my favorite games for the 3DS. Players can easily swap between “lives” in order to mine minerals, craft weapons, catch fish, cook meals, make furniture, etc. Plus there's a large world to explore, loads of monsters to battle, and even more side quests and random objectives to tackle.
Despite the games’ success for Nintendo, though, Level-5 has announced that both series will be making the jump to mobile in their next outing. Honestly, I’m more than a little disappointed by this news. To be fair, I haven’t seen enough of either title to write it off completely, but for me, mobile gaming is simply not the direction I want to head.
I fully appreciate that Japanese gamers are singing a different tune, and mobile gaming is the new king of the castle, but I personally hate to see a strong console-based series move to a device that’s touch-controlled. It might actually work out fine for a puzzle game like Layton, but the idea of trying to play a full-on adventure game with touch controls frustrates the hell out of me.
Then again, it doesn’t look like Fantasy Life 2 will have much in common with the first game. While “lives” will still play a role and Level-5 has teased some returning characters, it looks like the main thrust of the game will be city-building, exactly like the dozens of mobile game clones that currently saturate the market. I’m holding out hope that Level-5 will make an exceptional game from a tired concept, but this feels akin to the next Gears of War being announced as a free-to-play mobile CCG. But not like a real CCG, mind you, but the mindless mobile variety that has you “evolve” creatures and have them take part in auto-battles while shiny numbers flash across the screen.
More depressing is these games are called Layton 7 and Fantasy Life 2: Two Moons and the Village of God, according to Siliconera. In other words, these aren’t spinoffs, but rather the official sequels and could mean a new direction for future entries. So, yeah, I guess this is great news for mobile fans, so there’s your silver lining.