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Professor Layton and Pandora's Box taps right into my eclectic gaming nerve and doesn't let go until I'm satisfied. There's so much here to explore, absorb and finally solve.
As DS puzzle games go, Professor Leyton is hugely popular. This is the second in the series, and is an even better offering than the first. Improvements in all areas make this a great way to pass the time or satisfy your inner puzzle-monster. My inner puzzle-goddess - some would say monster - devoured the game like there was no tomorrow, and I would happily play through the whole thing again.
I should admit that I have already stumbled my eclectic way onto the first Professor Leyton, and I loved it. It fitted my definition of amazing rather well. This second offering makes me even happier. More exploring strange towns, more tapping anything and everything to find hint coins, and most importantly more puzzles.
As with the first game, there are plenty of interweaving stories slowly revealed. Everything seems more seamless and flowing in here, so as you find out new mini-mysteries, they all pull together to create a beautifully deep and detailed bigger picture. I really do like the thought that has been put into this. It's full of little touches that take something from average to exciting.
The exploring is limited at first. However, as the story really gets going, you get to see more places and this really adds to the depth of the storyline and the overall feel of the game. The second town you visit is a great place to get your exploration fix, with little alleys leading all over the place.
For an eclectic gamer like me, dipping into games left, right and centre, the mini-games were great.
As a story, this has been thought out far better than the original. The puzzles are often relevant to the plot and conversations you have with other characters, which isn't essential in my book but adds more of a feel of finesse to the game overall. Several familiar faces from the first game crop up, with Granny Riddleton and her shack making themselves useful once more, and Flora reappearing to explore with the Professor and Luke.
For an eclectic gamer like me, dipping into games left, right and centre, the mini-games were great. There are more than appeared in the first game, with bits of photographs and cameras to find, cups of tea to make - who thought of this? I like your style - and a disturbingly fat hamster to play with.
There was one puzzle in the game that I can safely count as my favourite. A real-life train ticket included with the game is used to work it out. It works because it's so hands-on, you get to play around with the paper ticket, which adds an extra sense of depth. It was nice to be able to work something out using my hands and not my head: my poor brain needs to take a break sometimes. Even though playing the game is a break. Like a break from a break.
It's the perfect diversion on busy public transport.
I can't really find anything negative to tell you. There are improvements in all areas compared to the first game. The music and graphic style have, thankfully, stayed the same and still give a sense of quaintness and sophistication. Which, to me, sits perfectly with a puzzle game that has a storyline.
It's the perfect diversion on busy public transport, or just to sit down and chill out with after a hard day.
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