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Professor Layton

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Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask will be my first


Give me guidance!
Oct 29
// Dale North
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask will be my very first Professor Layton. This game, which I've learned is the fifth in the series, has just launched for the 3DS. With the huge following this franchise has gathered, ...
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Watch the Cruz sisters in this new Layton ad


She won't let you down, professor
Oct 25
// Chris Carter
If celebrity endorsements are your thing, then there's a fresh new video for you to check out starring the Cruz sisters, Mónica and Penélope (sans the Mario outfit from the last ad).The gist is Penelope is shoot...

Preview: Professor Layton 3DS looks amazing

Oct 15 // Steven Hansen
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (3DS) Developer: Level-5 Publisher: Nintendo Release: October 26, 2012 Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask takes place a year after The Last Specter (and its accompanying animated film), making it the second in a prequel trilogy. In addition to its space in the chronology, however, Miracle mask will be reaching back deeper still, as some of the game takes place 18 years prior, in the professor’s youth. Indeed, Layton, his apprentice Luke, and his assistant Emmy aren’t visiting Monte d'Or for the carnival. The expedition is prompted after Layton receives a letter from a ghost of his past, Angela Ledore, urging him to come and figure out what the deal is with this Masked Gentleman. My first taste of the game and its titular villain came in the form of the intro cinematic, which is absolutely stunning. Monte d’Or’s carnival reminded me of a decidedly less grim "The Cask of Amontillado" by way of Paprika's parade, though things do take a turn for the worse when the Masked Gentleman interrupts the proceedings, crashing an enormous balloon and turning many of the city’s celebrating denizens into stone statutes. He then flies off, urging Layton and company to give chase in a surprising action sequence. The trio jump on horseback and the perspective shifts behind Layton. Above the horizon, you can see the Masked Gentleman flying away as you use the stylus to maneuver the horse left and right. To make things interesting, there are occasionally forking roads at which you’ll have to choose which direction to go, while barrels and carrots are littered throughout the street. The carrots give you a speed boost, hitting barrels slow you down. I hit a lot of barrels. A lot. But I caught up to the Masked Gentleman just the same; or, at least, I thought I did. Unfortunately, he seemed to have disappeared, leaving only a flitting piece of cloth where he once was flying. After this point, the only things Layton and associates can do is give the scene of arrival a good once-over and things become more familiar. While the Layton series’ gameplay is a bit well worn after a quartet of DS games, its 3DS outing has received a pretty noticeable overhaul. Investigating areas now involves dragging a magnifying glass around the scene; points of interest cause it to light up and a quick tap brings you in for a closer look. The scenes you’re investigating are also a little less static and a bit bigger, presumably thanks to the 3DS’ beefed up tech. The characters are also rendered polygonal for the first time in the series, animated sprightly, giving them a more lively quality in conversation. While I preferred the 2D cutscenes with the 3DS’ 3D turned off, it looks quite nice in these new 3D sequences and in investigation. Of course, I’d be remiss to fail to mention the puzzles for which the series is famous. I only tried out a few in my hands-on time, but they were as interesting and varied as ever. The first tasked me with extricating a failed clown from his balloon entanglement -- perhaps only a rung under trying to untangle Christmas lights -- while another deductive word puzzle required me to find a lost girl’s mother after they were separated in magical commotion. Another puzzle had Emmy piecing together a toy robot; doing so successfully made the shopkeeper who challenged her even more enamored with her, so he gave it to Emmy as a gift, which opened up its own puzzle minigame, accessed from the professor’s bag. You have to navigate the robot through a series of obstacles -- enemy wind-up mice, walls, conveyor-belt floors -- while being restricted to movement three spaces at a time in one direction. The game hinted at a prize for completing all the stages, though I found it rather fun to play with for its own sake. We may have had to wait a long time for localization of this text- and dialogue-heavy title, but, as ever, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask seems worth it. I’m suitably intrigued by the promise of unearthing Layton’s early years (and what grim secrets they may contain), but even more intriguing is the mystical, magical Masked Gentleman; he’s a fly dresser and definitely seems like my sort of villain. Also, damn, Miracle Mask is ridiculously gorgeous.
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Everything 2D needs this much style
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask launched with the 3DS. In Japan, anyway. We’ve had to wait a bit longer. Over a year and a half. You know what they say: Rome wasn’t localized in a day. Thankfully, Miracle Ma...

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Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy is labeled as the sixth and final game to follow Hershel Layton. The game starts in a cozy, winter village and follows the crew on a globetrotting adventure after Layton and co. embark on...

TGS: Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright join forces

Sep 21 // Allistair Pinsof
At the start of the demo, I was given the choice of choosing to play as Layton or Wright. I chose Layton which began with a gorgeously drawn animation sequence, improved with 3D and ruined by bad compression. If you've played a Layton game, you know what to expect. A minor difference is that you now explore your environment via a cursor controlled by the thumbstick or stylus. I don't really see why Level-5 thought this was necessary. I can see benefits to it, such as the magnifying glass cursor sparkling when you hover over a coin spot. I haven't spent enough time with the game to feel one way or another. Maybe Level-5 just want to mix things up. In any case, it leaves the bottom screen in a sad empty state. Visually, PLvAA is one of the sharpest games on the 3DS. Character portraits are now rendered in 3D but have a cartoon design and shading to them that makes them look 2D until they move. The backgrounds also look a lot better too thanks to a higher resolution and the 3DS' depth-of-field. The UI is also overhauled with a pop-up menu for puzzle explanations that can easily be minimized and other good tweaks. [embed]235440:45160[/embed] After getting stuck on a puzzle in Layton (it is in Japanese), I jumped into Ace Attorney. I should have known I'd be watching loads of animated video and dialog before getting into the game. I wasn't able to check out the game thoroughly, but it seems pretty consistent with previous entries in the series. I'm not sure how it will connect to Layton's story, beyond the witch trials that Wright takes part in. Layton and Wright occupy the same world for this title, but between the demo and TGS trailer, I'm starting to get the feeling that we'll rarely see them share screen space. Fans of both games will find much to enjoy here, but may be better off playing Ace Attorney 5 and/or Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy. For a crossover, PLvAA doesn't feel all that grand or ambitious. It's more of a Neapolitan than an ice cream sundae, but if you happen to like all variety of flavors, it may be exactly what you are craving.
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Professor Layton and Ace Attorney are unique within the puzzle/adventure genre, but both share enough in common with each other to make for a perfect crossover game. Not since Marvel vs. Capcom and Kingdom Hearts have dedicat...

TGS: Professor Layton's iOS debut isn't what you'd expect

Sep 20 // Allistair Pinsof
For better or worse, Level-5 is choosing to make an original Layton game for iOS rather than port one from the DS. This may be a bit misleading, however, since Mystery Room began as its own series in 2009, only to be rebranded as a Layton game. Nevertheless, the game is sticking close to what the series does well with a European art style, a soothing jazz soundtrack, and puzzles that are way too tough to solve in a language you don’t understand. Instead of following Hershel Layton, Mystery Room follows his sons and their apprentice (whom you choose out of two possible choices). The puzzles also seem to take a different approach. The demo contained a lengthy explanation of a murder scene followed by an interactive set where you turn and zoom in a camera to pick-up clues. This all feels like a natural adoption of iOS’s touch controls, but it’s kind of gimmicky and not nearly as engaging as a good riddle. It’s kind of too CSI: Layton Edition for my taste. Once you’ve gathered enough clues, you must decide which of the three suspects is guilty. I couldn’t follow the Japanese text, but I chose the fat, old lady because this is a Layton game. Naturally, I was correct. Mystery Room looks pretty sharp, but you won’t mistake it for a main entry Layton game, especially the upcoming 3DS that look stunning (previews to come!). The game lacks that warm, hand-drawn look and the style and sound of the game feels closer to late ‘70s (if that makes any sense). Maybe it’s a good thing that Level-5 is trying to branch off and make something new in the Layton universe with its iOS debut, but it’s hard to get too excited when we have much better-looking, better-playing Layton games on the way for 3DS. Mystery Room will be available for download September 21 in Japan, but there are currently no plans for a US release.
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The idea of developers dedicating resources to mobile versions of franchises is something I’ve long been against, but have slowly been warming up to. So, they might as well make something good. Layton Brothers: Myster...

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TGS: New trailer for Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney


Sep 19
// Chad Concelmo
Direct from TGS 2012 comes this new trailer for upcoming 3DS game Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney! And it has actual gameplay! When I first heard Capcom and Level 5 were teaming up to make this game, I thought I was dreami...

PAX: Hands-on with Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

Aug 31 // Chad Concelmo
If you are familiar with the Professor Layton games, you know how things work. Professor Layton and Luke (as well as some other members of the main party), explore various locations and meet an eclectic cast of some of the best supporting characters to ever grace a videogame in order to solve a series of mysteries. Along the way, the player must help them complete hundreds of progressively more difficult puzzles until all mysteries are complete ... and I am sobbing uncontrollably in front of my Nintendo handheld (seriously, the stories in the Layton games are genuinely heartbreaking!). With Miracle Mask, things start off on a similar note, but you will quickly realize how much things have changed. First, and most obvious, is the addition of 3D. Good news for people nervous about the sloppy use of 3D: the 3D effects in Miracle Mask are beautiful. The classic Professor Layton cinematics come even more to life and are stunning to watch with the added layers and depth the 3D effect creates. In addition to the cutscenes, the 3D works great in the actual game. After solving a puzzle correctly, when Layton approaches the screen and points at you with a congratulatory exclamation, he is really pointing at you. His finger comes right out of the screen! It is really cool and a nice touch. The benefits of the 3D are actually evident everywhere in the game. One major change to the game is the disappearance of static dialogue sequences. Replacing those beautifully rendered images are actual moving, fully polygonal characters. The change was jarring at first, and I kind of missed the old dialogue displays, but once things get going, you will love the new look. With this new style, everything feels more alive, as the camera can move around and every part of the character animates, as opposed to just their mouths. Also, again, the 3D looks great. This same style also moves into the actual locations. Instead of static images, the world is fully animated. You can't walk through it like you can in a normal 3D action/adventure game, but, when exploring, the camera moves ever so slightly and makes you feel like you are much more part of the environment ... rather than just looking at a beautiful painting of it from afar. These exploring sections also have another big change. The tap-tap-tap-tap-tap gameplay is gone! No need to tap everything with the touch screen to find a hot spot or hidden coin. Now, you drag a magnifying glass around the screen, looking for areas where the object "lights up," indicating there is something of note there (whether it be a puzzle, hint coin, or interactive item). Before you cry foul, this new technique works great. And it looks fantastic! As you slide the magnifying glass along the touch screen, a mirrored version of it appears on the top, 3D screen. The way important text is displayed closer to the screen and small pieces of the environment like rooms in windows are more pushed back in the 3D space is eye-popping and very polished. The demo was short, but one more difference that stood out was the inclusion of almost action-like sequences. One puzzle in particular wasn't even a puzzle at all! Professor Layton hops on a horse and chases a mysterious character. Instead of this being a traditional puzzle like you would normally see, the camera moved behind Layton as he chased the character through a vibrant village. Players are tasked with controlling Layton's horse to dodge barrels and navigate the maze-like streets. It was an interesting sequence and unlike anything that has been in the series before. All in all, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask is looking great. As a giant fan of the series, this looks to be shaping into one of the best games yet. It looks beautiful, the 3D is surprisingly effective, and the puzzles are more challenging than ever. I can't wait to pick up the game when it releases for the Nintendo 3DS on October 28.
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As great as the Professor Layton games are (they are really great!), the last four released on the Nintendo DS have been very similar. While the art direction, puzzle-solving gameplay, and surprisingly emotional stories have ...

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Level-5 will bring three new, unannounced games to TGS


Aug 30
// Allistair Pinsof
Update: Professor Layton VS Ace Attorney has been added to the line-up and there are now three mystery games (one falling under the "family" category). After a weak showing last year, next month Level-5 will bring the goods t...
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New Professor Layton for 3DS is Layton's final adventure


Aug 29
// Dale North
This morning's Nintendo Direct presentation brought about an announcement for a new 3DS Professor Layton title, which Siliconera has translated as Professor Layton and the Legacy of the Super Civilization A. Level-5's Akihiro...

Destructoid's most wanted DS / 3DS games of 2012

Jan 13 // Chad Concelmo
Resident Evil Revelations (3DS)Developer: CapcomPublisher: CapcomRelease: February 7, 2012 I just recently replayed the undeniable classic Resident Evil 4 and fell in love with the game all over again. And as much as I liked (not loved) Resident Evil 5, after playing RE4, I have been craving a more classic Resident Evil experience. Resident Evil Revelations looks to satiate that need. Set on a creepy boat floating on a creepy sea, the gorgeous, "is that really running on a handheld?" Revelations should be the return to form the classic series desperately needs. I can't wait for the game to scare the bejesus out of me ... all in 3D! Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)Developer: Project SoraPublisher: NintendoRelease: March 23, 2012 I'm not going lie: out of all the games I am excited about in 2012, Kid Icarus: Uprising gives me the most reservations. I obviously love the character and am super stoked for the action-heavy gameplay, but I am very nervous about the controls. In my short time with the game, the controls were very uncomfortable, to say the least. But when a game is delayed (Kid Icarus: Uprising was originally supposed to be released in 2011), sometimes it is for the best. I am cautiously optimistic for this promising, wildly different sequel. It could end up being a surprise hit! Luigi's Mansion 2 (3DS)Developer: Next Level GamesPublisher: NintendoRelease: Q1 2012 The original Luigi's Mansion was such an odd little launch title for the GameCube back in 2001, but that was one of the reasons I fell in love with it. When Nintendo does "odd," the results are always, at the very least, memorable. Now, more than 10 years later, the game is getting an official sequel on the 3DS! Once again starring Mario's tortured, often-forgotten sibling, Luigi's Mansion 2 looks better than the original and promises to feature multiple mansions, more stuff to do, and more ghosts to suck ... into the Poltergust 3000! I played the game at E3 and absolutely fell in love with its crisp visuals and addictive gameplay. I can't wait to play more of Luigi's Mansion 2 when it comes out later this year! Paper Mario (3DS)Developer: Intelligent SystemsPublisher: NintendoRelease: 2012 This is it. Out of all games on all systems, this is the one I am most looking forward to in 2012. I have never been shy about my love for the Paper Mario series. I think it is one of the most charming videogame series of all time, and the original is one of my favorite RPGs ever. Not much is known about Paper Mario for 3DS, but does it really matter? It's a brand new Paper Mario game! That's all I need to know. I am so freaking excited! I am going to play the sh*t out of this game! Honorable Mentions: Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance   Pokémon + Nobunaga's Ambition (DS)Developer: Game Freak, Tecmo KoeiPublisher: Nintendo, The Pokémon CompanyRelease: March 17, 2012 (JP) I am what you call a "lapsed fan" of the Pokémon series, having only played through the first generation before hanging up my towel. I've also never played any entry in the Nobunaga's Ambition series, nor am I consumer of strategy RPGs. However, take these two properties that would never in a million years eat at the same table then make them eat at the same table, and my interest is piqued. It's such a natural progression, really. For years, we've been exposed to our fair share of historical games that take extensive liberties with the events. Tecmo Koei itself has been pumping out a parade of Dynasty and Samurai Warriors sequels featuring outlandish skills and high-octane rock soundtracks. Sengoku-era warriors chillaxing with the likes of Mewtwo and Jigglypuff is the obvious next step. Extreme Escape Adventure: Good People Die (3DS, PlayStation Vita)Developer: ChunsoftPublisher: TBARelease: February 16, 2012 (JP) When I first heard about 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, I expected a beefier successor to the escape-the-room Flash games I enjoyed in college. I was blindsided when I popped the cartridge in and discovered a text-heavy visual novel without any respite, not even within the aforementioned puzzle rooms. Not one for excessive narrative, I shouldn't have liked this game. Not only did 999 become my favorite title of 2010, a lot of other people became hooked as well. It performed beyond Aksys' expectations, completely selling out and forcing the company to produce a second run. Good People Die is the sequel to 999; if it's even half as good as the original, I'll be a happy man. Already, the details have gotten me excited, the most interesting bit being the cooperation / betrayal mechanic. The participants are once again shackled with death watches, though they operate differently than in the last adventure. By choosing to help or turn on your partner, you collect points, and if you earn nine points, you can escape. However, points are awarded based on both parties' decisions, so should you choose to cooperate with someone who in turn betrays you, you lose points. If you hit zero, the watch will inject you with lethal poison. Oh boy! Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney (3DS)Developer: Level-5, CapcomPublisher: Level-5Release: 2012 (JP) It's the season of crossovers! The union of Pokémon and Nobunaga's Ambition is (hopefully) like a pairing of foods that you wouldn't think tastes good but does, like sugar cookies filled with potato chip crumbles. Following that logic, Professor Layton and Ace Attorney is like peanut butter and Nutella -- two great tastes that taste even better combined. You know this to be true. How can Phoenix even legally practice law outside of the country? I say that because there is no way that town is just a Renaissance festival passing through California. Then again, Phoenix and Layton aren't supposed to exist in the same century, so I probably shouldn't try to introduce logic to this discussion, despite logic being the cornerstone of both franchises. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (3DS)Developer: indies zeroPublisher: Square EnixRelease: February 16, 2012 (JP) I was writing these little blurbs when I suddenly realized that none of my top picks have a US release date. Sure, it might just be a matter of time before the respective companies make "the call," and the only title I'm almost certain won't be localized can be imported and played on any vanilla DS without any region-locking hassle. Still, I'm upset that publishers in this modern age continue to be slow to respond to fans who show genuine interest in their more alternative catalog. But I digress. Where were we? Ah, Theatrhythm! The character art is deliciously adorable and the gameplay reminds me of Taiko Drum Master and Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan. I don't even think it's possible to dislike Final Fantasy music -- at least, I've never met anyone who does. Theatrhythm is most certainly a spin-off I can throw my full support behind. Rodea the Sky Soldier (3DS, Wii)Developer: PropePublisher: Kadokawa ShotenRelease: TBA I doubt many of you even remember this guy. We haven't seen or heard anything solid of Rodea, from Yuji Naka's Prope studios, in almost a year. All we discovered recently was that development completed some months back and that it's up to publisher Kadokawa Shoten to decide the next move. I want to play Rodea not only because I think it could be decent but also because I want to see a massive Prope game that isn't a shallow minigame package. Ivy the Kiwi? was fine, but let's aim a little higher, shall we? I definitely noticed shades of NiGHTS into Dreams... in the original trailer, so I pray I'm not setting my hopes up for a touch of that 90s SEGA magic in the final product. Honorable Mentions: Flipper 2: Flush the Goldfish, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle, Mutant Mudds, Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword , Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Resident Evil Revelations Additional staff picks for the DS / 3DS: Sean Daisy: Monster Hunter 4, Luigi's Mansion 2, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance Jonathan Holmes: Pokémon + Nobunaga's Ambition, Guild 01, Resident Evil Revelations Andrew Kauz: Tales of the Abyss, Resident Evil Revelations, Kid Icarus: UprisingTara Long: Resident Evil RevelationsJonathan Ross: Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle, Professor Layton vs. Ace AttorneyMax Scoville: The Binding of Isaac Josh Tolentino: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2  
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This entire week, we have covered our most anticipated 2012 games for the 360, PS3, Wii, and PC. Now it's time for Tony Ponce and I to enter the hardcore, baby-making world of portables. With the Nintendo DS going out with a ...

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IT'S HERE! Layton movie comes to America next week


Nov 02
// Tony Ponce
Back in July, Viz Media promised to localize Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva for American shores. Well by golly, it kept its word! The company just sent out a press release to announce that the Layton movie will arrive ...

Review: Professor Layton and the Last Specter

Oct 20 // Allistair Pinsof
Professor Layton and the Last Specter (Nintendo DS)Developer: Level-5, Brownie Brown (London Life only)Publisher: NintendoReleased: October 17, 2011MSRP: $29.99 Whereas last year's Layton entry, The Unwound Future, gave us a glimpse at future Luke and Layton, Last Specter takes us back to the beginning of their friendship. Professor Layton is the same charming, famous, and brainy man he's always been. Luke, on the other hand, is a social misfit in search of his true calling. After receiving a mysterious letter from the mayor of the sleepy, comfy town of Misthallery, Layton and his attractive and confident assistant Emmy go to investigate. The mayor happens to be an old friend of Layton, though they haven't kept in touch over the years. Nevertheless, Layton feels sympathy for the mayor's son Luke (yes, that Luke), who is troubled by the strange disappearance of his mother and even more so by apocalyptic visions that he's been having lately. An ominous, lumbering mystical creature has been attacking the town every night, and Luke seems to be the only one with a clue. On the mayor's order, Emmy and Layton investigate the situation. Unbeknownst to the mayor, they take Luke out of the house for the investigation as well, though Luke's reluctant father doesn't seem to mind or even notice. The story and cast of The Last Specter are the best yet in the series, which alone makes the game worth picking up. You'll be happy to hear than that the puzzles are also just as worthwhile. The variety of puzzles and increasing challenges will entertain both returning fans and newbies. Sliding blocks, riddles, mazes, math puzzles -- man, I hate math puzzles -- they're all here! Well, all except matchstick puzzles, which should make most sane people happy. Being the fourth entry in a yearly series, it shouldn't come as a surprise that some puzzles are recycled from past entries. The graphics and wording are redone, but the tricks and solution at the puzzles' core remain the same. This doesn't happen as nearly as much as you would think, though, given the numerous amount of puzzles (150+). If nothing else, it's a collection of greatest hits for newbies and a welcome break in challenge for veterans. The biggest problem with Last Specter, which has plagued all series entries, is the over-arching design of the game. A Professor Layton game is two things: a visual mystery novel and a collection of interactive Akira Tago puzzles. The series has always struggled to find ways to seamlessly blend the two. The transitions from character introduction to puzzle are less awkward in Last Specter -- largely thanks to a referential, humorous script -- but I still find much to complain about here. I absolutely hate tollways in games. Like, when an RPG won't let you enter an area until you are at a certain level, or when you can't progress to the next mission in a game until you have completed enough side-missions. As with past titles, Last Specter has moments where it will tell you that you can't continue until you do 25, 50, or 80 puzzles. It really kills the momentum and flow of the narrative. As a result, these games make me feel like I'm rubbing my stomach and patting my head at the same time. When I want to just enjoy the narrative and the main, plot-based puzzles, it stops me and sends me packing in the other direction. When I want to just relax and play some puzzles, the game inconveniences me with plot and poorly organized systems. For example, why must I search for the location of a previous puzzle I chose to leave undone? What does that add to anything? Why not just let me enjoy that puzzle from anywhere? I already discovered it, right? Although exploration is still time-consuming, Last Specter has a warp system (via Bucky's boat rides on the city's canals) that makes things easier. You'll enjoy your first couple of trips through areas on foot, since Misthallery is full of early-1900s decor and zany citizens that makes the world of Layton such a romantic and comfortable one. Misthallery sets a new bar for amusing, eccentric Layton inhabitants. It's hard to say why exactly they are crazier than usual, but it definitely keeps things interesting. My favorite character is a toss-up between a boy who thinks he is a bird, a homeless maniac who laughs at everyone's misfortune (including his own), and Goosey, a fat, mentally-stunted teenager who hides -- despite being too fat to hide anywhere -- and exclaims "That's Goosey!" when he's found. It's kind of creepy yet adorable. In nearly every aspect, Last Specter feels most faithful to the original in its design, story, and structure. It improves on the format in subtle ways but fails to evolve the series in others. Instead of chasing more ambitious ideas (how about a Professor Layton where players can create/share puzzles?), implementing full voice acting (still limited to animated scenes and specific events, though this may just be a limitation of the DS), or tying puzzles and story closer together, Level-5 have churned out just another series entry. Mind you, it's the best one yet, but it still comes short of reaching the concept's full potential. Still, it's difficult to damn the game's shortcomings, since no other developer has come close to achieving what Level-5 have done. Professor Layton is the only game I can get my mom to play, yet I can still enjoy it. Last Specter may not have any big twist on the format, but it's the most well designed entry yet. Perhaps there is comfort to be found in repeating a winning formula. In short, Last Specter is the best Layton yet. The inclusion of a warp system, lack of matchstick puzzles, and memorable cast makes it just a notch better than the Curious Village. However, the series still inconveniences players who play primarily for the story or those, like me, who want to enjoy the story first and puzzles later. There are many players who feel a need to complete every puzzle as they progress. These players won't run into the problem of puzzle tollways or losing track of a previous puzzle's location. However, until the series finds a way to accommodate both types of players, I can't say the game is a must-have for all. Professor Layton's London Life "From the team behind Mother 3! One hundred hours of gameplay! RPG! RPG! YAY! OH GOD YES!!! FUUUUUuuu... just give it to me! That's it! I'm taking off my pants! I'm dancing! I'm dancing! Look at me, ma! I'm dancing!" That's me regurgitating PR sheets and blind enthusiasm for what I thought London Life may be before its release. Here's what it actually is: Shit. It's free shit that comes attached to a worthwhile game, but it's still a bummer that it's a worthless and dull bonus. Let's dispel some of this PR hogwash. First of all, the game is not really the team behind Mother 3 -- Brownie Brown primarily (only?) did that game's art. As a result, London Life looks a lot like Mother 3, which is to say that it's gorgeous. One hundred hours of gameplay? I doubt it, but we'll probably never know since most sane players will give up on it after two hours or less. I certainly wasn't going to put myself through playing the entire thing for review purposes -- it's a bonus, after all, and one that is not fun at all to play, at that. RPG? Hardly. The game is like Animal Crossing or The Sims stripped down to its bare components. You go buy things, talk to townsfolk, and decorate your minuscule apartment. The problem is that there is little else to do, and the jobs you must take, in order to acquire wealth, are as mind-numbing as they come. The entire game is based around talking to a character on one side of the map, walking to a character on the other side of the map, and repeating until you are a rich dude with a beret and large sofa. In case you want something equally dull, you can hunt for trash on the street. You'll probably end up spending less time on London Life than the puzzles within Last Specter, except those are actually worthwhile and fun. London Life may not indicate the quality of the forthcoming Fantasy Life project between Brownie Brown and Level-5, but it definitely hasn't increased my confidence. If London Life's goal was to present what it's like to be a boring, senseless peasant in the world of Layton ... well, mission accomplished!
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"Tap away and let us be bound by our love of puzzles," a man tells you during your adventures through Misthallery -- the latest haunted, puzzle-infested English town that investigator Layton and his pint-size sidekick Luke...

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Layton spin-off to bend minds on iThings


Oct 16
// Tony Ponce
You can never have enough Layton in your life! That's the rule. With that thought, Level-5 has announced Layton Brothers: Mystery Room for iOS devices. Instead of assuming the role of the ol' professor, you'll take command o...

Preview in a pub: Professor Layton and the Last Specter

Oct 07 // Wesley Ruscher
Professor Layton and the Last Specter (Nintendo DS) Developer: Level-5 Publisher: Nintendo Released: October 17, 2011 As we stared at the first puzzle, scratching our heads, we began to hear other teams in the pub celebrating as they came to its conclusion. The clock was ticking, and we all wondered if Nintendo really did invite us just to make us all feel a little stupid. When the one-minute warning went out, an epiphany hit one of my teammates and jubilation commenced. I've always associated the Layton series with being a more single-player endeavor -- though I do enjoy peering over my girlfriend's shoulder while she's playing in an attempt to outwit her -- but fast and frantically working in a team environment brought a whole new level of enjoyment from this game I had not expected. Thinking back on it, the puzzle was quite simple -- probably the reason it was the first choice -- but it got us all thinking on the same wave length. Seven coins were laid out before us, five showing heads and two showing tails. The challenge was to have an even amount of coins show both heads and tails under the restrictions of only moving and flipping over one coin. If you know the answer already, you're a smarter person than me or any of my teammates, but I won't unravel its simple intricacy here. With the first challenge down, our team was soon on a roll. We took down the next six consecutive puzzles with only a couple of close calls. Professor Layton and the Last Specter still incorporates the assist functions of previous iterations, such as notetaking in the memo and buying hints when in a predicament. For the sake of this contest, we were banned from using the hint option, but to be honest, I don't think it would have helped by the time we hit the hard puzzles. The first of the hard puzzles had us trying to figure out the code to open a locked door. An equation of shapes, representing numbers, held the key to our dilemma. It may have been some of the fine English alcohol we had consumed prior to the puzzle solving, but something told us we were in over our heads here. If you weren't aware, most journalists are only journalists because they are horrible at math. We went on to fail the next two puzzles, one dealing with pattern recognition and the other some simpler shape manipulation. We probably should have figured out the last one, but defeat had reared its ugly little head and our brains were out of gas. Part of the mystery and fascination I have always found with the series has been the clever ways the puzzles integrate with genuinely intriguing narrative. While I can't attest from my hands-on time with the latest that the professor's origin story is as captivating as his later adventures, I do feel confident from the limited puzzles I played that the charming brain-twisting trials seem to be up to par. Professor Layton and the Last Specter promises the most puzzles to grace the series, and if that's not enough, there is also a bonus 100-hour RPG -- complete with Earthbound-esque visuals -- called London Life to keep the most diligent of gamers thoroughly occupied. This may be the fourth and final foray for the Nintendo DS, but for those who've missed out on this spectacular series -- or those 3DS owners still yearning for some quality content -- The Last Specter looks to be the perfect place to become proper with the professor.
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When one thinks of great games on the Nintendo DS, it is hard not to think about any one of the Professor Layton games. Level-5's brilliantly charming and whimsical puzzle-solving adventure series is all but synonymous...

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New Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney video is juicy


Sep 23
// Victoria Medina
Remember that Professor Layton, Ace Attorney crossover news that happened a while ago? Well not only do we have screenshots for it, there is even a video! Sadly all the text is in Japanese, but Bolt2nd, the person who upload...
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Look! Fresh news and screens for Layton vs. Ace Attorney


Sep 18
// Tony Ponce
[Update: According to GamesRadar, an English release might be possible. Hmmmmm...] Guess what game wasn't playable at the Tokyo Game Show this year. Good guess if you said, "Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney"! Now, when will ...
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Layton and the Last Specter hits US October 17


Aug 29
// Conrad Zimmerman
New details have emerged regarding the release of Professor Layton and the Last Specter on Nintendo DS. The fourth installment in the puzzle-solving mystery series begins a new trilogy which acts as a prequel to the dete...
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Professor Layton movie is bound for North America


Jul 02
// Tony Ponce
You cheeky Brits have been enjoying Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva for almost a year now. Now it's time for the filthy Yanks to get our cryptic on! At the Anime Expo in Los Angeles yesterday, anime distributor Viz Medi...
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E3: Professor Layton and the Last Specter announced!


Jun 07
// Chad Concelmo
Okay, this is confusing. Just today, Nintendo announced a brand new game in the extraordinary Professor Layton series, Professor Layton and the Last Specter. But it is not for the 3DS. It's for the regular DS. And it's been ...
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Layton's first game goes platinum in Japan


Apr 05
// Tony Ponce
We know the Layton series is a moneymaker -- the first four DS games have shipped over 11 million units globally. Nonetheless, every time one of the games hits a milestone, I feel like throwing a party. Just this morning, Lev...
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3DS top game: Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask


Mar 01
// Dale North
I haven't picked up 3DS game Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask yet, but some of my friends have and they're all loving it. I was wondering if it would be the top-selling title, and now Famitsu has confirmed that...
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Professor Layton and the Mask of the Miracle Afro


Jan 08
// Jonathan Holmes
Have you seen seen Layton's hair in his debut 3DS title, Professor Layton and the Mask of the Miracle? He's totally got an afro now, and I think it's awesome. Reportedly, part of the game takes place in the present day, and ...
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Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle screenshots


Jan 05
// Conrad Zimmerman
A batch of new screenshots for Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle have arrived and they look like screenshots for a Professor Layton game. More than half of these could have been taken directly out of the trai...
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Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle announced


Sep 29
// Conrad Zimmerman
And the 3DS game announcements just keep on coming! Level-5 has released this trailer for Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle and it looks delightful. But I wouldn't expect anything else from the puzzle-loving gent...

Review: Professor Layton and the Unwound Future

Sep 20 // Aerox
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future (DS)Developer: Level-5Publisher: NintendoReleased: September 12, 2010MSRP: $29.99 Layton and Luke are invited to the unveiling of a scientist named Dr. Stahngun's latest invention -- a time machine. Out of place and surrounded by some of England's most respected scientists and political leaders, Layton and Luke end up embroiled in a massive mystery after Stahngun's machine explodes during the demonstration, causing both the scientist and the Prime Minister of England to vanish without a trace. Shortly afterward, Layton receives a message from Luke, but it's dated ten years in the future. The future version of Professor Layton has become a criminal and taken over London with his organized crime group he's named The Family, and Future Luke needs Present Day Layton's help to put a stop to Future Layton's nefarious activities. Layton and Luke are able to find a way to travel to this Future London, and this is where the majority of the game takes place. Confused yet? This is just the beginning. No spoilers here -- but, just like the last Layton games, nothing is ever what it actually seems to be. Overall, I think this is the strongest story yet of the series. It still has the trademark "Oh, by the way, here is a bunch of information we didn't tell you until the last minute that makes the entire mystery make sense" that is kind of a hallmark of the series, but generally speaking I found the story to have a bit more mature tone than the past games. As you approach the final chapters of the game, the story takes a fairly dark turn, and the final few scenes are actually incredibly moving. The animation and art in the Layton games have always been great, and Unwound Future doesn't disappoint. There are way more cutscenes in Unwound Future than all the previous games, and they're all done in that fantastic European animation style that the series is known for. Both the cutscenes and the gameplay art are incredibly detailed, and I actually went back after I finished the game and watched a couple of them again from the extras menu because I really enjoyed them. The voice acting is also top notch, although Layton sounds slightly different than he did in previous games -- a little bit more gruff, but it's not terribly noticeable. Gameplay is virtually identical to the previous games in the series. Layton, Luke, and whoever else happens to be accompanying you at the time go through town, talk to the residents, madly tap the screen to find hint coins, and have a barrage of puzzles constantly thrown at you. A number of the puzzles revolve around the whole time theme of the game, so expect a significant amount of clock puzzles and puzzles that ask you to figure out how long it takes for people to do various things. Despite the game being very similar to previous titles, most of the puzzles still feel fresh and original. The style of some of the puzzles may be similar to those in previous games, but rarely do you feel that you're just rehashing puzzles from the older games. On the whole, the puzzles in Unwound Future are slightly less difficult than the ones in previous games. The sliding puzzles everyone loves to hate are barely present in Unwound Future, and the few that exist in the main game are much easier than the ones in the previous series. That isn't to say, though, all the puzzles are easy -- there are still quite a few in the game that will have you stumped, particularly the ones in the bonus puzzle houses that are unlocked through completion of the various minigames. As in the past, the hint coins you find in each area can be spent to unlock three hints to help you if you're having trouble. If you find yourself really stumped, and the three hints you've already purchased aren't helping, you can spend two additional coins to unlock a Super Hint. The Super Hints basically tell you almost exactly what you need to do to solve the puzzle, barring perhaps the last one or two steps, so I would suggest holding off on using them unless you're truly stumped. I appreciate that the option was included though, as I imagine everyone has one or two puzzle types they simply can't stand. The three new minigames included in Unwound Future all work well, and are probably my favorite set of minigames in any of the Layton games. The first one you have access to is a set of picture books that have incomplete stories. Using various stickers you collect by solving specific puzzles, you are tasked with putting the correct stickers into the books so that the story makes sense. It's the simplest of the three minigames, and not particularly difficult, but I found it to be a nice distraction from the more difficult puzzles of the main game. The second set you gain access to involve a toy car and is similar to Chu Chu Rocket and the Hamster minigame from Diabolical Box. Armed with a set of directional arrows and jump squares, you have to guide the car around various tracks using the arrows and jump squares, collecting every item on the track and finishing in a specific goal square. While the tracks start out easy, some of the later ones require some serious planning and strategy. The final minigame involves a parrot you find -- the animal companion in Unwound Future that helps you in finding hint coins, like the aforementioned hamster, and the robotic dog from Curious Village. The parrot minigame is the most interesting, and the most difficult, of all three minigames, and some of the levels will seriously stump you. As the parrot, you are tasked with delivering parcels to various characters you meet in the game. You can't actually control the parrot though -- all he does is jump in short hops. Each level has a bunch of pegs scattered across the screen, and you have a limited number of ropes you can stretch between them. The parrot can land on any flat rope, and will bounce off any angled rope you have stretched across the course. Oh, and there's also a time limit. There's only one solution (as far as I could tell) for each delivery, and it's not uncommon to think you have it solved only to run out of time right before the parrot lands. I had to take a couple breaks from this minigame because I got really frustrated on a number of the courses, but I eventually managed to solve them all, and ended up appreciating their inclusion. Despite being difficult -- they are a really unique addition to the game, and unlike any puzzles in any previous Layton titles. It took me between thirteen to fourteen hours to complete the main game, and I still haven't finished all of the bonus puzzles. Even once you complete everything, Unwound Future has the weekly downloadable puzzles just like the last games, so you'll probably find yourself booting the game up at least once a week after you finish the game. Overall, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future is a wonderful title, and my personal favorite of the series. The deus ex machina at the end will likely annoy a number of players, but it's not enough to seriously tarnish the title, and Layton fans should be expecting it anyway. Unwound Future isn't innovative or groundbreaking, and what few changes exist are mostly just new puzzle types, but the game and overall story are polished, interesting, and just simply fun. Layton and Luke's adventures will have you playing for a while, and even though the game isn't doing anything new, it avoids ever feeling stale. Score: 9.0 -- Superb (9s are a hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage to what is a supreme title.)
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Professor Layton and his apprentice Luke have returned for their third DS game, and as those who have played the previous games probably expected, it's really good. Professor Layton and the Unwound Future takes the formula th...

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Professor Layton's men vs women San Francisco challenge


Aug 31
// Dale North
Nintendo has a Professor Layton themed event planned for September 7th in San Francisco, giving fans a taste of the latest release in the franchise. Taking place at Union Square, Nintendo will have red British phone booths on...
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You love him, I love him -- the good Professor Layton will be making his return to Nintendo's handheld on September 12 with Professor Layton and the Unwound Future. Puzzled as to why this is news, considering a release date f...

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E3 10: New Prof. Layton game dated for September 20th


Jun 15
// Aerox
Puzzle fans rejoice! The next installment in the Professor Layton series, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, will be coming out for the DS on September 20th of this year. (There's also a separate Layton game, ...
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Professor Layton anime to be released in English


Apr 07
// Dale North
There's a Professor Layton animated movie called Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva that was released in Japan awhile back. It was written by Level-5's Akihiro Hino, the designer of all three Layton games, for theatrical r...

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