Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Professor Layton and the Lost Future (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Professor Layton and the Lost Future on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Nintendo struck gold when it decided to publish the first of Level-5’s brain-teasing adventure series in Europe. Professor Layton and the Curious Village took the continent by storm, thanks to the Brain Training fever that was currently gripping the territory, the fact that the style of game was a fresh pastiche of taxing puzzles and a traditional mystery story, and that adventure games in general have always been strong sellers in PAL countries. Last year’s Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box solidified how right Nintendo’s decision was, and now the third and final entry into the first Layton trilogy, Professor Layton and the Lost Future, has finally arrived in Europe Cubed3 takes a closer look at the new adventure.

Something strange is going on, yet whenever Professor Hershel Layton, his trusty apprentice, Luke Triton, and that trademark lofty top hat of his are around, the fact that something unusual is taking place is hardly surprising. In fact, Professor Layton and the Lost Future starts with news of a letter arriving courtesy of an older Luke from several years ahead of the present day, but Layton barely bats an eyelid at the prospect of something so extraordinary. Instead he calmly reminds the young Luke sat next to him on the bustling London bus that the recent time travel experiment where the British Prime Minister mystically disappeared might well be related to this odd piece of correspondence from ‘Future Luke’. It is not long before Layton and Luke actually get whisked ten years into the future, and so begins another wild adventure, filled with mystery, suspense, dark humour and a whole slew of mentally stimulating puzzles.

Screenshot for Professor Layton and the Lost Future on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box, The Lost Future once again increases the amount of animated video sequences and voice work squeezed into the DS cartridge more than ever before, helping to make this latest outing not only a highly engaging puzzle adventure that will entertain all the family, but also a superbly interactive movie experience that will appeal to those who adore the works of Production IG, Studio Ghibli, et al. In addition to this, the French-tinged, accordion-filled soundtrack returns better than ever, with plenty of familiar tunes available, some new instant classics, and even a few piano-driven pieces that are extremely reminiscent of the best tunes found in Capcom’s Ace Attorney series. Level-5 has upped the production values considerably on all fronts to the point where it is obvious they are kings of the DS hardware.

In terms of the gameplay itself, nothing much has changed from the previous two outings, with the stylus giving players the power to guide Layton and Luke through London. Tapping the on-screen shoe brings up various arrows to move your current group (others can join the party, with little representations of each person at the bottom-left of the top screen, along with the map of the current area) to different areas, or enter any buildings that may be of interest. The stylus is also used to touch parts of the current location in order to get some new information from any of your team, find hint coins that help with solving puzzles later on, or discover one of the many hidden puzzles throughout the adventure.

Screenshot for Professor Layton and the Lost Future on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Puzzles themselves are thrown at the player from every angle, but almost every one of them has been cleverly integrated into the main storyline to ensure the gamer is not pulled away from the atmosphere too much, especially since the time travelling aspect of the tale is so intriguing and the mystery behind the nefarious evil keeps players guessing right to the end. In terms of what Professor Layton and the Lost Future has on offer to test the old grey matter, there are a total of 165 puzzles this time round, with a pleasing mix of different styles. There is plenty of logic required to get your head around numerous riddles, mathematical conundrums, sliding tile scenarios, optical illusions, plays on words and other trials set to trick and trip up any player who is not giving the game the full attention it deserves.

As mentioned before, the hint system returns to help with some of the tougher tests, giving players up to three subtle clues, at the cost of one Hint Coin each. These clues gently guide players towards the answer, encouraging them to use the on-screen memo function to eventually work out the solution for themselves. In the odd situation where even the most blatant of nudge in the right direction fails to bring clarity to matters, Level-5 has included a Super Hint, for the price of two coins, which basically gives the final solution. It may seem like cheating to some people, but this is actually a worthy addition that most ‘hardcore’ gamers can simply ignore. For those who do not have a lot of time or want to know how the story ends, the use of this feature is preferable to getting frustrated and throwing the game down in disgust due to one particularly dastardly dilemma.

Screenshot for Professor Layton and the Lost Future on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

No Professor Layton game would be complete without a few mini-games thrown in to give the gamer a break from the standard puzzle solving formula. Thankfully, Professor Layton and the Lost Future does not disappoint on this front. First up is a clever illustrated story-book where you read through each little tale and must fill in certain missing images using stickers collected during the main adventure. Next is a small maze affair where a limited number of directional arrows are available to be placed on the various tracks, in order to allow a tiny car to successful navigate the network, picking up items along the way, and reaching the goal without hitting any obstacles. Finally, you can play around with a parrot that Luke befriends further down the line, using set numbers of rope pieces to help guide it as the bird tries to deliver fruit to Layton’s assistant. Throw in the diary aspects where unsolved mysteries are logged, along with key events that have occurred, and Professor Layton and the Lost Future quickly reveals itself as being ‘the complete package’ and a fitting end to the first Layton trilogy.

Screenshot for Professor Layton and the Lost Future on Nintendo DS- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

The range of puzzles on offer keeps everything fresh throughout, which is definitely saying something considering the amount of content packed into the final game. How Level-5 has managed to integrate all of the brain-teasers smoothly into the story is even more impressive, though, and the tale itself is gripping right the way through.

Graphics

Stunning hand-drawn visuals that adds so much charm to proceedings, plus more animated video footage than ever before.

Sound

A fantastic mixture of classic tunes from the past two outings, as well as some superb new French-accordion-tinged ditties, and breath-taking piano pieces that build up the mood and tension in the most delightful and adept way.

Value

165 puzzles, extra challenges to download each week, three engaging mini-games, a special log function where players can read up on Layton’s thoughts during the journey, and a story itself that holds your attention as well as any blockbuster movie or dramatic novel means that nobody could argue that The Lost Future is not superb value for money.

Cubed3 Rating

10/10
Rated 10 out of 10

Masterpiece - Platinum Award

About this score
Rated 10 out of 10

While Curious Village was a stunning first attempt, it had some sticking points and felt disjointed at times due to the story and puzzles not being fully intertwined. For the sequel, Pandora’s Box, the developer righted a considerable amount of the wrongs and took massive strides in the right direction. For the third and final entry into the first trilogy of adventures, Level-5 has hit the jackpot. Professor Layton and the Lost Future takes the core functionality of the previous two outings, expands on it considerably, wraps up the storyline in the most gripping fashion possible and heaps plenty of extras on top for good measure. This is most definitely the superlative entry in the Layton series so far.

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01.10.2010

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Developer

Level-5

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

Online enabled

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (3 Votes)

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

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Great, can't wait.

I hope Specter's Flute gets localized with the awesome "London Life" still intact.

3DS Code 2578-3122-0744
Staff Member

Sounds great. Puzzle games aren't really the type of games I usually play but I might pick this one up if I have spare money.

One question for those who've played the first two already. Would you recommend playing those before getting this one?

 

SirLink said:
Sounds great. Puzzle games aren't really the type of games I usually play but I might pick this one up if I have spare money.

One question for those who've played the first two already. Would you recommend playing those before getting this one?

I would if I were in your position. You could afford to skip the second though...(not bad, just not as great imo)

Getting the first two can be done on the cheap.

3DS Code 2578-3122-0744

SirLink said:
Sounds great. Puzzle games aren't really the type of games I usually play but I might pick this one up if I have spare money.

One question for those who've played the first two already. Would you recommend playing those before getting this one?

I think it would be best. You will not realise what you have missed if you don't get the first 2 games. But I think it is also before Curious Village, but the story unfolds more in this game so it is like the Kingdom Hearts games with Birth By Sleep.



SuperYoshi6 PSN name
3DS friend code 2878-9581-8999
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

My opinion is that whilst officially it's a 'trilogy,' the way Level-5 has set up the story, each game can also be played individually without any real problem. It was nice having played Curious Village and Pandora's Box first, but I don't necessarily think I would have *had* to have played through them to fully appreciate the story in Lost Future...

From highest to lowest, in my opinion, I'd go for Lost Future ----> Curious Village --> Pandora's Box

Anyone else think differently? (the question mainly goes to those who have played Unwound Future in the US, I suppose...or those who imported)

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Staff Member

Hmm well I just looked on Amazon and the first two games(German versions) still cost around 30€ and I'm not really a fan of buying my games used unless they are really rare. With so many other great games coming soon it's gonna be really hard to choose. Maybe they will get a price drop when the 3DS comes?

 

Not very often a game gets a full house of ratings. I just hope they continue to produce as many of these great puzzle games as they can. It is one of my favourite types of game genre. I wonder what the voices of the side characters will be like. They were awesome in the last two.



SuperYoshi6 PSN name
3DS friend code 2878-9581-8999
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

It's the first Layton that truly had me glued to my DS right to the very end, completing every single little aspect of the adventure, the mini-games and even re-reading all the story notes again to get the complete picture.

The presentation side has been upped, the content level increased, and the story was extremely intriguing. I'm eagerly awaiting Devil's Flute, mainly to try the Brownie Brown RPG that unlocks upon completion! For now, though, Lost Future is thoroughly deserving of its 10/10 in my eyes Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Ugh I'm so excited for this, and my excitement just shot up a notch too.

I hope I'll actually have time to play it when it finally comes out here T,T

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

Sounds great.

The first one never gripped me much, but I really enjoyed the story of the second. I'll definitely have to try this.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Who picked this up over the weekend? It entered as the second biggest selling game of the week in the UK after just two days on sale. Not a bad start at all!! Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Loved the first Layton game and bought the second and third ones at launch...but I have yet to start the second one. It happens to me very often since I have several games in my backlog that are to be taken care of. Diabolical Box will be finally played in November and my guess is the third one will get played in march.

Looking forward to the 4th one before the 3DS game shows up.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I wonde how well this did in the US...to be honest I don't recall seeing it appear in the NPD chart for September. Hmm...

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

It has sold close to 100k at the moment in the Americas so it might pick up and 300k by the end of the year unless for some reason everyone is in the mood for some puzzles and goes out and buys the game now.

Glenda Smeaton (guest) 24.11.2010 05:58#15

I cant track of car parking puzzle and I have try it and it not good explain

mccrae (guest) 17.12.2010 21:34#16

its the unwound future plz get it right:-x

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

mccrae (guest) said:
its the unwound future plz get it right:-x

Only in the US. Here in the UK and Europe, you'd be calling it by the wrong name Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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