Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call (Hands-On) (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Mike Mason 18.09.2011 7

Review for Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Europe has been let down recently after a harsh game of will-they-won’t-they with regards to the fourth Professor Layton game’s extra RPG mode, London Life. Sadly, the answer ended up being "won’t they", but that does not mean that Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call will instantly stop appeal to the many existing fans of the series.

It was not possible to play too much of Layton’s latest at GAMEfest due to a time limit and the demo Nintendo DSi XL being physically chained to a Nintendo representative, presumably so that it did not have to be set up within the special 3DS area or interrupt the Zelda theme of Nintendo’s other booth. Nonetheless, it was possible to complete a couple of the first puzzles by quickly skipping through much of the story - of which there was a lot.

That story examines a younger Hershel Layton before he met Luke, skipping back to three years before the original Professor Layton and the Curious Village for the first game in a new trilogy (the second game in the second trilogy is the first Nintendo 3DS Layton outing, Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle). The overworked Layton is assigned an assistant in the chatty Emmy by Dean Delmona. Not particularly impressed, Layton nonetheless gets stuck into an investigation with Emmy’s help. Answering a call for help from his friend Clark Triton, the Professor goes to look into reports of a destructive spectre, a mysterious flute and a boy - Luke - who can predict the appearances of the threat.

Screenshot for Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Decoding a hidden message from a letter by reading it in a slightly different way and spotting the odd picture out from a selection of four, the puzzles we were able to get through were simple, start of game fare, as was expected. Expect the challenge to ramp up pretty quickly once the game truly gets started. Moving around the areas and discovering problems is the same as ever; tap the shoe icon and the direction that you want to go, then start talking to people and wait for them to start tipping their hearts and brains - mainly their confused brains - into your lap before they give you any useful information.

Three mini-games are also included, though we did not get the chance to try them. In one, model train tracks must be built so that a train can travel between stations efficiently; in another, fish are guided to collect up precious gold coins. Finally, appropriate verbs have to be selected in the third game so that a stage performance goes off without a hitch.


Screenshot for Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call is plenty more of the brain-tangling same from the multi-million selling franchise, and is sure to keep you occupied for many an hour when it is released later this year. It’s a shame that even more hours won’t be able to be spent in the London Life extra in Europe, however.

Also known as

Professor Layton and the Last Specter









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10 (1 Votes)

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


Squidboy (guest) 18.09.2011#1

I refuse to buy the Pal version of this, Level-5 should have included "London Life" even in it's English only state. I doubt European gamers would have minded. The US got lucky because Level-5 have a new localisation department in California.

I'll be importing once the price drops, there are too many other games higher up my list.

Verydopey (guest) 18.09.2011#2

I'm also boycotting this. I don't think I'll even import this because I don't use my Fat ds much anymore. Which then means I wont buy the next two. And frankly, Nintendo need all the sales on the 3ds they can get.

t1redmonkey (guest) 19.09.2011#3

Not buying either. Might import, might not, but would have definitely picked it up if it was released with London Life in the UK. Ridiculous that it isn't going to be.

Tom (guest) 20.09.2011#4

But if every1 imports then we won't get anymore layron games in the UK

I think given the strong sales of Layton in Europe, there is no fear of the series being dropped.

I want London Life, so will definitely be getting the US version instead. NoE really dropped the ball here Smilie Smilie

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jesusraz said:
I want London Life, so will definitely be getting the US version instead

Same here. Definitely. I'm not even a fan of Layton, but London Life alone justifies the purchase for me, knowing that it's developed by Brownie Brown and that it's similar to the Mother series. This'll mark my first experience with the series as well through the main game on the cartridge Smilie. I hope it's not necessary to have played the previous games to understand the story.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

Part of me hates Level-5/Nintendo of Europe for fucking us over once again, but part of me is thinking "Hey, we got Xenoblade instead, which isn't all too bad".

Yes, they should include London Life in the UK/European versions of the game, but the Layton series is all about puzzles. Sure, an RPG on top of the already fantastic puzzles would be pretty awesome but it didn't really justify the purchase for me.

I knew as soon as I heard about the whole Brownie Brown/Level 5 collab that this sidegame wouldn't see the light of day in Europe. Why? Well, when did us Europeans ever get our hands on the Mother series? Or even Earthbound.. for that matter. I know Brownie Brown only took part in the 3rd Mother game, but you can see what I'm trying to get at, I hope.

The Layton series has always been about puzzles and that's the way I like it. I'll end up buying this even though it doesn't have London Life included on the cartridge. Maybe we might get lucky and have London Life released as a free DSiWare as compensation.. though I highly doubt it. They could also just add it in as an extra for the European version of Mask of Miracles, obviously by emulating it somehow.

Anyways, I know I'll probably get a lot of hate for this comment so I shall stop it right here. Let me just end this by saying - I would import, but for me Luke's voice in the UK version of the game is more suited to the character as he is portrayed as a young cockney lad, that can be quite annoying at times. Whereas, the US Luke sounds a lot more sophisticated and posh.

EDIT: Oh, how could I forget the fantastic story and plot? I really should've mentioned those too. The cutscenes (although there are only few of them in each game) are also amazing.

( Edited 28.09.2011 07:07 by Mush123 )

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