Professor Layton and the Curious Village (Nintendo DS) Reader Review

Posted by By Echoes221 2 Number of reads 4092 Posted 07.02.2009

With a plethora of games stalking many of the DS's shelves, it is often hard to find something fresh and intuitive which gamers and non-gamers alike crave. Enter Professor Herschel Layton with his perilous top hat and young apprentice, Luke. The game, Influenced by the Japanese Head Gymnastics books and developed by Level-5, contains brain teasers which will pick your brain. And then some.

There's a murder, a mystery and.....Professor Layton? The game takes place in the town of St. Mystere and Layton and Luke are called, by lady Dahlia, to solve the Mystery of the 'Golden Apple', the key to the deceased Baron Reinhold's fortune. Upon arrival, you are trapped in the village (by accident) and wind up working on a murder case. It is henceforth your job to solve the villager's puzzles to solve the turmoil that lies underfoot.

When I say underfoot, Professor Layton works by simple, yet effective, point and click controls via the touch screen allowing you to navigate round the town as you see fit. As the game progresses more of St. Mystere will be opened up for the duo to explore, over looked by the arduous and foreboding tower that emits strange noises and constantly looms over the town.

The visuals of this game leak charm into every pixel of the screen. The player is initially treated to an 'anime' cut scene and it is apparent that the characters themselves have a Studio Ghibli-come-Belville Rendezvous design. Worked into these cut scenes a nice dose of voice acting, and surprisingly, the voices fit the characters perfectly. Each character has their own mannerisms and way of moving, as well as their own set of favourite puzzles. For example, Flick will always ask you Chess based Puzzles while Crouton will have trouble measuring out some liquids. As you progress, you get this feeling that something is wrong with the characters, the fact that they are so puzzle obsessed.

Matches, rats, cats and a whole lot of brain power is what you need to solve these nut busters. The puzzles come in a variety of forms, from crossing chickens and wolves over a river to working out encoded messages and re-arranging objects. Lateral and out-of-the-box thinking is required to overcome all 120 puzzles in the game. Layton is clever as some of the questions trick you and have you doing long multiplication and algebra when all of it could be worked out in about 5 seconds flat and leaves you feeling dumbfounded and rather stupid. However, because of the games tough nature, there is nothing that can surpass the feeling when you see Layton's smile as you complete a challenge.

When playing a game like professor Layton, the game needs music that can keep the player interested enough, but also has to allow the player to think. Level-5 has got it spot on with its rather repetitive but somewhat un-annoying tunes that play throughout the game. From simple xylophone like noises, to full on orchestral scores in many of the tense and dramatic cut scenes, it's got it all
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Within the game you and Luke are also able to gather various items. The meat of these items is to furnish Luke and Layton’s rooms at the inn whole the other is for an anonymous useful contraption. This in turn rewards you an extra hard set of puzzles for you to answer in the bonus section of the game. Throughout the game you can also find hint coins which allow you to get up to 3 hints per question if you struggle, be careful though, save the coins for when you need them most.

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There are only a few downsides to this game. The first is the game is rated a 7+. This game is much too hard for that age group and may have younger gamers frustrated as a certain amount of common knowledge is needed to surpass even the halfway point of the game. My other criticism is that that game feels very abruptly ended. All the mysteries get solved and you're left wanting so much more, it is in a way, an addiction.

Overall, the game is near perfect and goes down as a Top 10 game for casual and hardcore alike. From the quirky characters to the impossible puzzles that will have you literally ripping out your hair, this game is a charm and a devil in the same cartridge. With one of the best storyline plot twists in a game and the added bonus of downloading weekly challenges to keep you playing past the 15 hour mark; this game is definitely worth ?29.99. The only question is will you have a new set of nails, hair and unbitten styluses ready for the next instalment?

Echoes221's Rating Rated $score out of 10  9/10

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

I've always wondered about this game. But since people have been raving about it, I guess I'll have to get it.

Nice review! Smilie

(Ah crap. Does it have that sheep and wolves question? I can never get that one Smilie)

The former top user was Keven! You'd probably give birth to yourself 1000 times over until you sprout wings to fly away into the fading sun, that or you'd just turn into a lesbian. Who knows @_@ - L, 12/06/09

yes, It has the sheep and wolves question (puzzle no.7 if I remember correctly) it is an easy one, Trial and error.

The game is definantly worth it if you can find it. A must buy for all DS owners

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

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

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