Professor Layton and the Curious Village

August 20, 2009 by Aaron Green  
Filed under Nintendo DS, Reviews

Overview

Title: Professor Layton and the Curious Village
Release Date: February 15, 2007 (JA) February 10, 2008 (US) November 7, 2008 (EU) 10 April, 2008 (AU)
Developer/Publisher: Level-5/Nintendo
Genre: Puzzle
Platform[s]: Nintendo DS

Storyline

Layton is big in Japan, its unfortunate that we’re so far behind them in terms of content.  This is the first episode in a series of the titular character – what we have is a puzzle game that’s engaging and interesting.  Professor Layton and his apprentice Luke visit the village of St. Mystere due to a letter request from Lady Dahlia, widow of the late Baron Augustus Reinhold.  The idea is that Lady Dahlia needs our heroes to solve the mystery of the Golden Apple and thus enable the inheritance of her husband.  Story is an ever-present theme in the game and it continuously allows the occasional break from the ever growing complications of sleuthing.     

 Layton-Screen

Gameplay

So, what is Curious Village all about?  Well – puzzles!  Via an assortment of traditional logic, graphic, jigsaw and brain teasing puzzles the player is continuously tested by the village who oddly enough seem to be bizarrely obsessed with them.  Luke and the Professor must explore St. Mystere and the only way to progress is often by challenging the locals (people and pets I might add) of course some puzzles are necessary while others are entirely optional but either way a keen eye is always required as many are hidden from plain sight.  Difficulty levels often spire and plummet – sometimes it’s all a simple flick of the stylus, other times it can be a ball-busting affair where the answer is nowhere within the reach of your seemingly limited intellect.  I struggled through and managed to resist the dire urge to Google myself out of these situations but I know my fiancée didn’t – then again she finished the full 120 brain-teasers whilst I only went for the bare minimum so it all depends on what you want from your experience… out of 120 I know that 19 she looked up online and to be honest that’s not so bad.  Don’t think that there’s no in-game help should you struggle though, there are Hint Coins scattered throughout the game but they’re all very limited so common sense dictates that you use them wisely.

This is a Nintendo Wi-Fi compatible game and should you conquer it, more puzzles are available to download.        

Layton-Screen-2      

Graphics

Professor Layton is a graphically stylized 2D puzzle game, which despite its Japanese origins is very much inspired by European cartooning.  You can’t fault it because in the end everything is designed as the developers intended – only this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea I think.

Sound

Crisp, faultless use of sound which all helps to aid the nature of the game.

Overall Score & Replayability

In conclusion Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a casual-friendly game, the pace is mostly slow and the puzzles are varied enough to guarantee themselves as engaging but replayable?  Well, not all of them.  You will remember some puzzles and they will remain the same second time around thus losing their effect.  Others like the slider challenges maintain difficulty through multiple playthroughs.  Obviously the use of Wi-Fi was included to combat this!  Not everyone enjoys puzzles and brainteasers but if you do this is a NDS must have.