Professor Layton and the Mysterious Village (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Adam Riley 01.03.2007 11

Level 5 is well-known for its two Dark Cloud games for Sony, plus the fantastic Dragon Quest VIII for Square Enix, with various upcoming games on the horizon that people are eagerly watching out for

When people first saw initial scans of Professor Layton their jaws collectively dropped open, because what was on offer looked like something from a Hayao Miyazaki / Studio Ghibli animated movie. The art style taken is definitely unique on the DS, with hand-drawn characters that are full of character and settings that are full of charm, but in a dated-looking way. Once more details started to pour forth about the adventure, though, people suddenly became rather confused. Level 5, you see, is not just bringing a run-of-the-mill point-and-click game to the DS, but mixing the usual narrative approach with gameplay that bears a striking resemblance to Nintendo's very own

Screenshot for Professor Layton and the Mysterious Village on Nintendo DS

Whilst other brain-related games have been quite stale in appearance, Nintendo's Dr. Kawashima effort included, thankfully Level 5's differing approach is extremely refreshing and gives Mysterious Village its own unique identity and allure. Other than the adventure mode, with its smatterings of speech / text boxes and incredible art, the puzzles themselves are treated in the manner we have already become accustomed to, with the main question or conundrum being shown on the top screen and the lower part of the DS being where you can solve everything by using the stylus. Upon completion, further puzzles can be accessed by simply moving on to one of the other locations dotted around the map that is on offer. And do not worry about there being a short supply of brain-taxing fun as there are 120 in the main game, a further fifteen extra ones, plus you can download (via Wi-Fi) more puzzles each week from the base of over two thousand puzzles found in the books!

Screenshot for Professor Layton and the Mysterious Village on Nintendo DS

To keep things rolling in the interest stakes for those not too keen on merely a prettier version of Brain Training, the village is full of very weird, yet highly intriguing characters that you can interact with in order to gain as much information as possible to help progress through the adventure, as well as simply being given insights into how some of the puzzles can be taken apart. And given the nature of the puzzles, these nuggets of information will likely prove vital, unlike the rudimentary ones found in the likes of Hotel Dusk and Touch Detective that adventure veterans could breeze through in record time.

As for the basis of the story, other than the obvious-but-vague village mystery, the game begins by portraying a tale of Allen Rhineford, a billionaire who recently passed away two months prior. Professor Layton and Luke become involved when various strange requests start pouring in with regards to where his money will be distributed. To add to the story, events take a turn for the peculiar and some unimaginable happenings take place that leave Layton with no choice but to rummage around and solve the unknown.

Screenshot for Professor Layton and the Mysterious Village on Nintendo DS

The creation of the game itself comes from Akihiro Hino's (president of Level 5) love of Tago-san's books when he was a child, wishing to work with the author on this new project. As well as mixing in classic puzzles from his previous works, though, Tago has agreed to contribute thirty brand new ones as well, exclusive to Professor Layton and the Mysterious Village, all of which are tailored to the specifications of the Nintendo DS. Finally, as in Hotel Dusk, players will be able to make use of a special memo pad, as well as other features, all accessed via the game's main menu system 'Layton's Briefcase'. You will be able to save at any time you wish, as well as use a special dictionary of riddles that stores any puzzles encountered

Screenshot for Professor Layton and the Mysterious Village on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

With the adventure genre slowly picking up steam on the Nintendo DS, and the Brain Training style of games already having such a huge following, it is extremely pleasing to see Level 5 pushing the envelope by melding the two styles together for what appears to be a marvellous new title. With Nintendo promoting the game on its Touch DS website, retailers pre-ordering 210,000 copies for the first week and Level 5 confirming this to be the first of a trilogy, Layton definitely looks destined for success. All we need now is confirmation of a translation...

Developer

Level-5

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (66 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Guest 16.02.2007#1

Please make it over here...please. Now this is a game full of character, it will be a game I will purchase for my DS, which I haven't touched for so long. If only I could read Japanese.

DAMN this game looks so great!

Yes, Bart is right. It has a great style of art. I hope it stays that good, because I want a great new Adventure-puzzla-game on DS.
Maybe on Wii too... *g*

I find your lack of faith disturbing!

Anyone interested in the style of puzzles, give this a whirl: http://www.layton.jp/taiken/index.html

Basically it's the old puzzle of getting everything to the other side of the bank. Only two of one animal can cross at any one time...you need at least one animal on the raft to make it move. Leave more wolves than chicks and the chicks die. Get cracking! :-D

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

does anyone have a solution for here then please tell...

does anyone have a solution for http://www.layton.jp/taiken/index.html

Please tell...

Not off the top of my head - it's just one of those that you need to think logically through, taking two wolves across first, then one back, then two chicks and one back...then going from there.

The music in the demo is great and definitely seems to add to the adventure side very well. Can't wait to try the full Japanese game.

Can people Digg this, please, so it gets more coverage? Would be appreciated :-D

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses
Guest 17.02.2007#7

Baz da boss: no people under 13 please.

Finished the demo, easy puzzle really.

Yeah, it's meant to be a simple introductory puzzle to lure beginners in. I'm waiting on my Japanese copy to arrive so I can give some hands-on impressions...hopefully the Japanese won't hinder me too much and I'll be able to blunder my way through Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses
Guest 17.02.2007#9

While it was easy, it was good fun, I must admit. I digged your article by the way, finally took the effort to register.
Can't wait for the impressions man, all things point to this being the game I've been waiting for on my DS. Is it true that there are heaps of spoken dialogue too? If so, I hope it will be in Japanese here too. I can see the game being ruined otherwise, IF it does make it over here.

Thanks :Smilie The puzzles so far have been quite awkward since the questions rely heavily on knowledge of Japanese. There seems to be a lot of talking between various characters and then you must get through puzzles to proceed further. The music's very cool indeed, as is the art style and constant video clips that look like straight out of an anime movie.

Examples of puzzles so far are locating specific houses, the chicks & wolves crossing the river one and a great one where you need to work out how many times on a 12:00 digital clock three of the same digit appear in a row (e.g. 01:11, 11:17, etc.Smilie and then double the number for the 24-hour clock.

It really needs a full translation, though, as I'm missing far too much out! :-(

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

This game looks great, shame I don't have a DS.

Enoch Powell was right, and you know it.

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