May's Mysteries is a game designed to get your child's brain working, and plays a lot like the Professor Layton series - only it's a bit harder. Following the story of May Stery (yes, that's her real name), who's trying to find her kidnapped brother in a mysterious town, they'll need to explore, solving plenty of puzzles as they go, in an attempt to figure out the mysteries of Dragonville.
The puzzles vary hugely, from simple, logic based puzzles, to large, wordy ones, and everything in-between. Some simply require you to rearrange a picture - others, require the use of some pretty tricky maths. An early question asks about a woman who's been asked to number the pages of a book by hand. If she writes 1128 digits, how many pages does the book have? It was tricky for us to do, so younger children especially may struggle - and it's not the only question like it.
Most of the puzzles, however, are a lot easier to solve, with the hidden object, and rhythmic puzzles, which play you a tune, and ask you to tap the touch screen in the same rhythm back are simple enough - the only problem is, every now and then you'll come across a complete stinker. Luckily, you can skip over any puzzles you can't do - so long as you have enough hint coins, which can be earnt by completing bonus puzzles - but again, younger children may find themselves wanting to skip puzzles more often than the game will allow.
While most of May's Mysteries simply provides a pretty good brain teaser, one of the main problems is that the game's been badly localised, resulting in jumbled, confused sentences, and distorted meanings. While an adult can sift through the wreckage and unjumble the meanings, a child may not be so lucky, so parents should beware.
There's actually nothing really untoward in May's Mysteries, with no swearing, blood, violence, or anything else to report. The only reason for the high age rating is the game's use of some tricky maths puzzles, which may prove too tricky for younger ages.
As a puzzle game, May's Mysteries is an entirely single player experience - although you can expect to be called on for help with the trickier puzzles.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo DS