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Professor Layton and the Curious Village – Nintendo DS

Professor Layton and the Curious Village – Nintendo DS

Professor_Layton_and_the_Curious_Village_NA_BoxartPlatform: Nintendo DS

Developer: Level-5

Publisher:  Level-5

Release Date (NA):  February 10th, 2008

Genre: Puzzle, Adventure

Rating: 9 out of 10

Reviewed by Lady Russell

Professor Layton and the Curious Village isn’t your mother’s puzzle game. Perfectly combining puzzles with mystery and adventure, it’s one of the most entertaining and original games available for DS. The hand-drawn style of the game shouldn’t fool you; you’ll have a great time playing whether you’re young or young at heart (just be sure you don’t mind a lot of reading and puzzle-solving!)

Professor Hershel Layton is a mild-mannered archeologist professor of London (British Indiana Jones?), who works with his young apprentice, Luke Triton. Layton is, above all things, a gentleman and puzzle enthusiast. His interest is piqued when he gets a letter from Lady Dahlia, the wife of the recently departed Baron Augustus Reinhold. It seems Reinhold’s large fortune is at stake. He has promised the entire estate to the person who finds his greatest treasure: the Golden Apple. No one has even heard of such a thing, let alone had any luck finding it. Maybe with all their deductive abilities, Professor Layton and Luke will.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village

Layton’s famous intuition says that there is more to this inheritance dispute than meets the eye. He and Luke travel to St. Mystere to straighten out this mystery, but the city itself only presents more. The citizens seem to have obsessions with puzzles and riddles. People are disappearing and there are rumors of a kidnapper roaming the streets at night. And the strange, haphazard tower looming in the center of town seems connected to it all. It’s up to Professor Layton and Luke to find the Golden Apple and unravel the secrets hiding within St. Mystere.

If you have a penchant for solving, this game is definitely for you. Professor Layton and the Curious Village has 135 puzzles for you to enjoy. Each is unique. You’ll use the stylus in a variety of ways. You may trace the lines of a hidden shape, sketch a design or do math to solve problems, or tap to choose a culprit from a line-up. Solving puzzles is absolutely imperative to your investigation. The more puzzles you solve for the citizens of St. Mystere, the more willing they are to cooperate with your investigation.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village

The puzzles all range in difficulty. Some are easy, while other will stump you and require more creative means in solving them. One of the simply devious ways Layton tests you is by giving you these difficult challenges, and then alternatively giving you another that requires a simple solution that’s easily overlooked because you were over-thinking things.

If needed, the game does present you with hints, but at a cost. Hint coins can be found by tapping random objects around town. Each puzzle only has three available hints, but if you need a nudge in the right direction, even one can be helpful. Be careful how you spend them though, there is a finite amount, and the amount of hints is larger than the amount of coins.

As the story progresses, you’ll also uncover 3 side quests that can only be completed by solving puzzles throughout the game. They aren’t integral to the story, but are still fun and challenging. One game requires you to furnish two small rooms at the inn so they both reflect Layton and Luke’s personalities, another requires you to find scrapes of a ruined painting so you can piece them together, and the last needs you to collect strange gizmos. If you’re someone who likes to complete a game to it’s fullest extent, completing these challenges unlocks bonuses. You’ll be compensated for your hard work.

And last, the icing. The graphics, as previously discussed, remind me of charming European cartoons. Each person is uniquely drawn. The art style is whimsical yet also dark. Very fitting for a mystery puzzle game. The real gems are the animated cutscenes though. Clearly a lot of work went into them. They really make the story seamless, and incorporate a more active feeling to the point-and-click gameplay. It also creates this cinematic feel to the storyline that helps move it along. In style and presentation, the game definitely deserves an award in individuality.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village

All in all, it’s a great game, and whether you’re looking for a great puzzle-solving adventure or just looking for something new, I’d suggest you pick it up. And if you enjoy this one, there are 4 other Layton games currently available to play (3 for the DS and 1 for 3DS), as well as Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy that releases next February 28th (2014) on the Nintendo 3DS.

Written by Nerd Bacon

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