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Video Game: Layton Brothers: Mystery Room

Alfendi: I couldn't agree more. It's a highly inefficient name. That's why I prefer to call it... the Mystery Room.

Layton Brother: Mystery Room is a puzzle Visual Novel for the iOS and Android, created by Level-5 and released in 2013. A spinoff to the Professor Layton game series, the game focuses on Professor Hershel Layton's son, Inspector Alfendi Layton, and his young assistant, Detective Constable Lucy Baker, who solve seemingly-impossible murder cases for the Scotland Yard.

Layton Brothers, unlike the other, more puzzle-oriented entries in the main franchise, plays much more like a visual novel. The game is played in a semi-episodic format, consisting of a number of cases which each take roughly half an hour to an hour to finish. A case typically — but not always — consists of alternating phases of crime scene investigation, questioning of one or more suspects, and discussing inconsistencies, and in many ways resembles a game from the Ace Attorney franchise, as everything is tied together with dialogue.

The first two cases are available for free, while subsequent case bundles need to be purchased.

This game provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abandoned Warehouse: The crime scene in case 006 is ostensibly a warehouse, although the Mafia has redecorated it to the point of being almost cozy.
  • Absence of Evidence: Including the common lack of fingerprints as proof of a surface being wiped down.
  • Accidental Murder: Case 003, via Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon; the prop was switched for a real weapon prior to a performance, leading to the death of the actress.
  • Aerith and Bob: The main characters, Alfendi Layton and Lucy Baker.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Multiple characters use this, but it is especially common in the little arrow comments. Also the nicknames for Alfendi: Potty Prof and Placid Prof
  • All Love Is Unrequited: One character makes suggestions about Lucy possibly having feelings for Alfendi that are not returned. She denies this claim vehemently. Some of the suspects' motives fall along the lines of this trope as well.
  • Always Murder: Only rarely does this not come into play. The victim in Case 003 planned their own suicide in the form of an elaborate murder.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Averted. Unlike his father, Alfendi is an actual Inspector working at Scotland Yard.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Given the largely absent radar, this trope is a bit questionable. In the case of Randal Mann, the only thing retaining ambiguity is the fact he is never directly referred to as gay. Alfendi's tendency to not really notice if a woman is particularly attractive or not and his perplexed and exasperated responses to people implying he and Lucy might have something going on nudges him towards either this trope or asexuality.
  • Anime Hair: Alfendi's gravity defying ponytail and not-quite Idiot Hair.
  • Arc Words: It's "4 years ago", referring to the murder of Keelen Makepeace at Forbodium Castle.
  • Arranged Marriage: Two of the suspects in case 004 are engaged in one of these. Too bad the bride forced the groom to commit murder.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: Not in comparison to other games in the series but in comparison in the app games in general.
  • Asshole Victim: Has a fair share of them, with the blatant ones being the mafia victims.
  • Beneath the Mask: Alfendi's "normal", placid personality comes off as somewhat mask-like once Other Alfendi has been revealed. Placid Prof is polite and mild-mannered, but also vaguely detached, compared to his significantly more engaged and intense darker side. The notion that Placid Prof is merely a mask is backed up someone by the implication that "Other" Alfendi came first.
  • Big Bad: Of course, as it's made up of individual cases, there isn't a clear cut one, but two are present for multiple cases over the course of the story, including Diana Makepeace, daughter of ruthless serial killer and assassin Keelan Makepeace, and Justin Lawson, who manipulated Keelan and in the end caused the deaths of thirteen people.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Many of the guilty suspects.
  • Book Ends Subverted, fortunately with Case 9.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Alfendi Layton, somewhat.
  • Captain Obvious: Some of the statements made by Lucy border on this.
    Lucy: I'm sorry for pointing out the obvious!
  • Character Tic: Alfendi's poses are different when confronting a suspect. 'Other' Alfendi has very different poses than the normal Alfendi.
  • Cute and Psycho: 'Other' Alfendi.
    • Diana Makepeace also counts.
    • Thanks to the whispers of his fiancee, Chico Careta can count too.
  • Darker and Edgier: Much more than the main Professor Layton, very much so. Bloodless Carnage is averted, even if it isn't realistic. And the deuteragonist is kind of a psycho.
    • Also, The Walking Corpse starts off a lot more dark than the cases you tackle leading up to it, which isn't helped by the music in Lucy's intro for it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both of the main characters have their moments.
  • Dying Clue:
    • Case 001 has one in the form of the victim's hand stuck in a sandwich. Subverted in that it turns out the clue was left by the murderer to create a fake reason for the hand sandwich and cast suspicion on one of the other suspects.
    • In Case 005, there is one with the broken perfume bottle broken by the tea lady.
    • In Case 006, one of the victims had crushed the jigsaw puzzle piece planted on him, which proves that he wasn't asleep when killed, unlike the others.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Diane Makepeace.
  • Expressive Hair: The only changes between normal and 'Other' Alfendi are this and a change of body language.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: Several cases employ this in varying degrees.
  • Foreshadowing: Lucy asks what would happen if 'Other' Alfendi were to show up without a criminal around.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: The (accidental) killer in one case actually does this to point suspicion to the person that orchestrated the murder. He was wrong.
  • Funny Animal: Mocked with with the suspects in Case 008. A recreation of an unsolved case involving the victim and all the suspects had them wear animal masks by Diane Makepeace. The suspects often used dialogue related to what they are so for example, Dog would use the idiom "barking up the wrong tree".
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Alfendi and Lucy both use this at times during the conclusion of the case. Strangely, they seem to use a Finger Gun instead of a simple point.
  • Gold Digger: A few of these appear, or appear to be, such as Goldie Potsby-Mahn.
  • Harsh Word Impact: A regular feature of interrogations is arrows with snarky comments shooting back and forth between Layton and Lucy on one side and a suspect on the other.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In one case, the killer's attempts to show evidence pointing to another suspect result in the slip.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Or rather, the container the poison was in was too shattered to be identified.
  • Idiot Ball: Lucy receives it in at least one conclusion, allowing Alfendi to step in. Or rather, 'Other' Alfendi.
  • Interface Spoiler: The game gradually subverts this as certain key interface elements (such as the culprit's 'heart' meter) pop up early as if to point you in the right direction, only to to string you along in future cases
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Alfendi's situation is called such by Lucy, though he claims it's an overstatement. As some of the examples on this page show: it's not much of one.
    • The later cases also make it less clear which one is really the Jekyll and which one is really the Hyde. At one point, the placid Alfendi insisted he was the real Alfendi Layton.
  • Karma Houdini: At least one case ends with the main characters figuring out who the true culprit is only to find out they have escaped before they could be apprehended.
  • Locked Room Mystery: Case 004 involves a murder in a locked hut with a special key to the door. The killer hid in the room until someone else opened it from the outside by breaking the lock.
  • Ludicrous Precision: Alfendi is able to give the exact probability that a suspect committed the crime.
    Lucy: You only work to one decimal place? I'm shocked.
  • Malicious Misnaming: The killer, Mike de Bonair, in case 005, calling Alfendi "Lameton" among other names during the conclusion. Alfendi corrects him a couple times, but stops once it's made obvious the suspect is doing it on purpose. 'Other' Alfendi is not amused, threatening to cut out his tongue if he intentionally misnames him again. Once he's back to his normal self, Alfendi returns the favor, causing the suspect to protest with his real name.
  • Mood Whiplash: Anytime 'Other' Alfendi appears the game gets much darker.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Layton Brothers is only about one Layton brother, though he does mention the existence of the other one.
  • Notice This: Provided you've zoomed in enough, evidence is shown highlighted. A check mark appears when you have investigated all of it available in a particular section of the scene. The main challenge is figuring out what evidence is actually relevant. Subverted in case 009, where the final part of the investigation involves finding something that is NOT part of the highlighted evidence, and the game does not indicate when you have found what you need. This serves to make the final case much harder than the rest of the game. YMMV on whether this is a good thing.
  • Punny Name: Dear lord, this game could rival Ace Attorney in the Punny Name department. These include Dustin Scowers, a janitor, and Micah Sasucasa, a hotel owner. Many of these overlap with Meaningful Name.
  • Red Herring: Many times, a suspect is focused on early in the case only to discover there's another person that planned the murder. Also, many of the characters' profiles make it look like they have a good motive to kill the victim.
  • Sequel Hook: The ending still leaves a few unresolved questions, such as what's going to happen with Alfendi's twin personalities and what Justin Lawson's motives were, as well as a fairly obvious and squee-inducing hook from the commissioner talking about possibly calling for Hershel Layton's help with a mysterious endeavor.
  • Spin-Offspring: The deuteragonist of the game, Alfendi Layton, is the son of Professor Hershel Layton, the protagonist of the Professor Layton series of games.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: There are a couple of times where the player must rule out the obviously wrong answers.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: Used at times in conclusions, and when 'Other' Alfendi appears. There is one in File No. 009 for the normal Alfendi appearing.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: In Case 001 telling the murderer that the one who committed the crime was the innocent suspect, who the murder hadn't been trying to frame, results in them being stumped but agreeing with it.
  • Tempting Fate: Lucy really should have known better than to mention that 'Other' Alfendi hadn't appeared during one case.
  • Title Drop: See the pagequote for the first example in the game. Other characters repeatedly refer to Alfendi's office as the Mystery Room as well.
  • Tongue Trauma: 'Other' Alfendi threatens to cut out someone's tongue more than once.
  • Try Everything: Thankfully, the game does not have any penalty for giving the wrong response means that this is a fallback option.
  • Unfitting Music: The game uses beautiful music, but sometimes it doesn't seem to fit the murders.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Sometimes used by the murderer.
  • Wham Line: Serves as one in-universe as well, with Lucy shown to be shaken by the comment once the case has finished: 'Other' Alfendi says to the suspect and Lucy, "Listen to you two, yapping like dogs. Am I going to have to cut out your tongues to get you to shut up?"
    • In File No. 005, there's one with the tea lady, being a suspect of the case, found murdered and believed to be murderer of the first victim by the police.
    • In File No. 009, Hilda tells Lucy that 'Potty Prof' is actually the original personality, or at least closer to the Al she knew.
  • You Gotta Have Purple Hair
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: Replaying certain cases means going along with the initial theories until the truth is 'supposed' to be found.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Drives the victim of case 003 to elaborately designed suicide, by setting her cheating soon-to-be-husband up to shoot her.
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