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Professor Layton DS Review

23/11/2008 Family Teen Gamer Review
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Professor Layton DS

Professor Layton

Format:
DS

Genre:
Minigames

Buy/Support:
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Other GamePeople columnists have reviewed this from their perspective - huh?:
Family Guide Gamer (DS)
Domestic Gamer (DS)
Eclectic Gamer (DS)


This game is full of puzzles, and I've never played a game quite like this before, so I liked it for its originality. Having said that, sometimes I got bored with having to complete puzzles all the time, and annoyed with them, because some of them were quite hard. Some of them were optical illusions, while some were logic problems, or word puzzles, number puzzles, a wide variety of different types to solve.

When you first start this game, you meet the two main characters, Professor Layton and Luke. They are driving along in a car, reading a letter. The letter tells them that Lady Dahlia, from the village of St. Mystere, would like them to come and search for the late Baron Reinhold's treasure, the Golden Apple. The letter states that whoever finds the Golden Apple will then inherit Baron Reinhold's estate.

You take control of Luke and Layton and arrive at a drawbridge, where the first villager you meet makes you complete a brainteaser before he will lower the drawbridge and let you in! Once in the village, the various residents teach you how to interact with them, move around the village, and solve puzzles etc.

I've never played a game quite like this before, so I liked it for its originality.

On your travels you find lots of different mysteries and most of them are linked to Baron Reinhold's treasure in some way. Solving puzzles earns you 'picarats' which eventually bring you rewards in the game. Characters can also give you rewards for solving their puzzles, and you can store these in the room at the Inn where Luke and Layton are staying.

At the Inn, Layton and Luke have a room each where you can put furniture, and when you're arranging their space they will tell you if they like it or not. If you get their room to be perfectly to their liking then something good will happen but I haven't got that far yet!

Some characters will ask you to complete a certain number of puzzles in order for them to give you information, so it is good to solve puzzles as you come across them. However, you can buy hints using hint coins which are hidden throughout the game (easily found by tapping on items that you see throughout the game, such as barrels, bins, chandeliers, etc!). If you use a hint, or need more tries to solve a brainteaser, then it is worth less picarats. There are also other items hidden in the game, that you can put together to complete items like a painting, or a mechanical model, so this adds to the interest.

I liked the animations - they were stylised and portrayed characteristics of each person, so you automatically had an idea if a character was friendly, mean, snooty, etc. The top screen always contained a reminder of your current 'mission', which was useful, because otherwise you could easily get caught up solving puzzles and forget what you were meant to be doing! The sound was ok too, however, I would have liked to be able to turn the background music off as my mum kept telling me to turn the volume down because the accordion music was annoying.

I'm sure you could convince your parents to buy this game for you because it must be educational.

The storyline was good because it had lots of different mysteries linked together, and the game was easy to follow. It reminded me a bit of the Monkey Island games in the way that you had to interact with all the different characters in order to solve the mysteries. Your briefcase contains a reminder of missions, your journal, your room, and your completed puzzles. You can look at completed puzzles again but if you want to try an unsolved one then you have to return to its original location. In your briefcase you can also look at the mysteries category and choose a mission to complete - you don't have to complete one in order to get to another - but I haven't finished the game yet - perhaps you will have to solve all of the smaller mysteries in order to find the Golden Apple.

All in all the game is good fun and has kept me interested all the way so far. I think it would be a good game for adults as well because the puzzles are challenging enough. I'm sure you could convince your parents to buy this game for you because it must be educational to do all that puzzle solving!

Written by Rowan Brown

You can support Rowan by buying Professor Layton



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Rowan Brown writes the Teen Gamer column.

"I write about my favourite games from a younger person's perspective. It's often surprising how different this ends up to other more grown up reviews."


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