A lot of people have heard about this game, and pretty much everyone I know that has bought the game (including many dtoiders) has enjoyed it thoroughly (except for Ceark who found it too easy (*evil stare in his direction*)
Professor Layton & The Curious Village hasn’t been released in the UK (which is ridiculous since the two main characters are British (this is proven)) so I imported it from America.
The game begins with Ace Detective (better than Luke Atmey if you know what I mean) Professor Layton and his sidekick Luke receiving an invite to a town called St Mystere so that they can solve the mystery of the illustrious Golden Apple. St Mystere is home to many residents who can’t get enough of puzzles (oddly enough). As they progress through their investigation many weird occurrences take place, with more questions being asked and less answers coming through (sort of like the entire series of Lost) and they eventually solve the riddle of the Golden Apple and get answers to many if not all of the questions presented during their travels in St Mystere. I don’t want to go to deep into the story since I found it enjoyable and thus don’t want to ruin it for you.
Of course, the entire story is just a front for all the puzzles.
The game is beautifully drawn, I remember one dtoider saying the look of the game reminded him of Hayao Miyazaki’s work, and I can understand the comparison. Characters are colourful, and so are the backgrounds, with the setting and music representing a sort of old European feel very well.
No two characters look alike, with each character having a distinct look. The game also has cutscenes in the form of videos; these are animated well and usually involve the Professor and his assistant getting into trouble somehow. The videos are clear and the sound in each is good with voice acting for certain characters included also.
The game uses the touch screen only, with each puzzle utilising the screen in some way.
Players navigate around the town by clicking on arrows or doors that lead to different areas. On the top screen there is a map that helps the player remember where they are, in case they somehow
get lost. Players interact with characters by clicking on them which usually causes a conversation to occur and then a puzzle ensues.
The touch screen is used for various things in terms of the puzzles, this obviously being dependant on the type of puzzle. When the puzzle requires the player to write an answer, the touch screen is used to write the answer on, with the game recognising different letters and numbers with ease (better than how Brain Age does it IMO). For other puzzles, the player may have to draw ropes with the stylus to connect things, or move blocks to get something out for example.
The player also has the option of using hints if they find a puzzle difficult, with 3 hints being available for each puzzle. Each hint costs the player a hint coin, and these coins can be found EVERYWHERE
in St Mystere. They’re almost as abundant as 1up mushrooms in Super Mario Galaxy. The hints are usually helpful, but once or twice a hint will say something like “You can do it, why not try doing this one without a hint” begging the question of “If I thought I could do it without a hint, I wouldn’t have spent a coin on this hint”
and “How is this a hint?”
. There are also a few puzzles that aren’t phrased very well ( I remember one dtoider bringing up a question about triangles in an equilateral triangle as an example). These questions annoyed a few of my friends but I found the poor excuse for Engrish to be quite funny.
As the user solves puzzles they will gain gizmo parts, painting scraps and furniture for Layton and Luke’s rooms in the inn they are staying at in St Mystere. The painting scraps and gizmo parts eventually come together to form two separate things (unlocking bonus content in the process) and the furniture unlocks bonus content when it is rearranged so that both Layton and Luke are very pleased with their rooms.
Everytime the player quits the game and starts it up again; there is a brief “slideshow” on what has happened recently in the game which is a nice touch.
The game has over 130 puzzles, with a new puzzle being unlocked in the game every week via Nintendo’s Wifi Connection. The game isn’t the longest ever, but revisiting puzzles always puts a smile on my face. It’s pretty entertaining to be on a train and showing your mates some of the puzzles with all of them stumped until they realise that the answer is a lot simpler than they had originally thought.
Music wise the game is great, as I mentioned before faithfully recreating an old European still (I think?).
The game is perfect for any puzzle buff, and is a lot of fun aswell as a worthy addition to my DS collection. I recommend it to all of you.
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