Level-5, the game developer behind adored Nintendo 3DS gaming franchises Professor Layton and Fantasy Life, is making the rough transition to mobile devices.
At a press conference in Japan, Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino said Layton 7, the next installment in the Professor Layton series, and Fantasy Life 2, sequel to the much-loved Fantasy Life sim game, would be coming to iOS and Android smartphones.
Unfortunately, both games show signs of becoming shallow mobile experiences, the biggest reason companies like Nintendo have cited as a reason not to bring handheld titles into the mobile arena.
My, how times have changed.
Both games are drastically changed from the 3DS versions of the games, with Layton 7 turning into what looks like a horrible tabletop card game and Fantasy Life 2 tacking on awful Clash of Clans-style city-building features, both of which were never part of the original games.
Is this what we can expect from the recent news of Nintendo partnering with Japanese mobile game publisher, DeNA? Level-5’s previous Professor Layton game for iOS was just like its handheld counterparts. Why not bring a true sequel to the brilliant puzzle series to mobile devices instead of turning it into a card game with Layton-esque art style? Why add city-building to a game like Fantasy Life that has already found its audience?
It may be that Level-5 wants to gather a larger audience on mobile devices, so will use what it sees as successful gaming mechanics. It could also be that the company would like you to fall in love with the franchise on iOS — and then purchase the deeper, more lovable versions of the games for dedicated handhelds.
Either way, mobile consumers could wind up with a much less interesting experience.
Sigh. This may be the strongest commentary on how afraid traditional handheld game publishers are of the current mobile win in the gaming arena.
Let’s hope these games don’t become top-grossing titles. If they do, we’re going to see even more of these soulless cash-grabs in the future.