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Professor Layton and the Curious Village Review
Posted on December 11, 2008 by Oscar Gonzalez

Professor Layton and Luke

The DS has been known for having tons of crappy games made for the sole reason of getting a quick buck. The system is also known for having charming games that you really can't play on any other system. Professor Layton and the Curious Village is one of those charming games. A game that's filled with puzzles has a way of making you feel almost like a kid again.

Professor Layton is the protagonist of the game and is known for his puzzle solving skills. Accompanying the professor is his assistant Luke. The two of them are asked to come to St. Mystere in order to, of course, solve a puzzle. Throughout the village, the two will try to solve this main puzzles with many obstacles to prevent them from coming up with the answer. What's that obstacle? MORE PUZZLES. Whether it's a cat in the street or the lady running the inn, puzzles are everywhere.

This game is an adventure game and goes back to the traditional point-and-click style. The puzzles in the game run from brain teasers, logic puzzles, math riddles, and other puzzles that just mess with your brain. While playing, I was reminded of Die Hard 3 where McClain has to solve riddles that are presented to him by the bad guy. What was funny is that one particular riddle from the movie is in the game with just a change of the subject of the riddle. If you're having troubles with the puzzle, there are hint coins available. These coins are in short supply, and can be found by clicking on various spots throughout the village. For every puzzle, you can use up to three coins to provide you with hints to the answer. By the third hint, the game wants to smack you on the face for not knowing the answer. Still, some puzzles are just very tough and require you to look at the puzzles from all angles (literally in one puzzle where you have to turn the DS upside down to get the answer). Here's a tip: if there's a seemingly huge amount of match involved, the answer is usually 1 or 0 because there's rarely a huge number answer.

Every puzzle has a "picarats" number given to it. This is the equivalent to a score to keep track of. The amount of "picarats" is reduced by a certain amount if you get the puzzles wrong with at most it'll be reduced twice. Most of the time you'll be given an item when you solve a puzzle. These items are a part of a bigger puzzle that you'll need to figure out once you get all the pieces.

Part of Professor Layton's charm is the graphics. The game has this European, comics for kids, look that reminds me of The Adventure of Tintin. There's a beautiful look to the game that helps bring that feeling of being a kid again. Throughout the game, there are animated cut scenes that I could see being combined into a great cartoon.

Along with the great artwork are some good voice acting. Professor Layton has a charming English voice; while his assistance Luke has a cute English accent sounds like a reject from Oliver Twist. The other characters add to the child-like tapestry coming together very nicely. Then you have the music score which goes along with the overall theme of the game very well.

With over a 100 puzzles, you would think the focus on trying to get the most picarats would be enough to play the game over and over again. But with the wifi connection, there are free puzzles available to download. With plenty of puzzles currently available, the overall amount of puzzles including the downloadable puzzles is around the 200 mark.

As I mentioned earlier, this is a charming game. Along the lines of the Brain Academy games, Professor Layton and the Curious Village challenge your mind rather than your reflexes. While some puzzles can be incredibly frustrating, you gain a great deal of satisfaction once you solve these puzzles on your own. The only better feelings is the content you get from immediately realizing the trick that the puzzle uses, and you have that moment where you feel like you outsmarted the game.

- O.G.

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Oscar Gonzalez - Editor-in-Chief og (@) | all author's articles

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