Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the tag “nintendo ds”

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (Gamefly.com)

When Professor Layton’s mentor opens the fabled Elysian Box, he dies. Is the myth about whoever opens that box will die true, or did someone murder the professor’s mentor and make it look like the myth was true?

The plot is your typical Professor Layton game. At first, it looks like something mystical is going on. Then the characters explain everything in a way that a raises even more questions. To sum it up, the entire series is one big Voodoo Shark (a term invented by SFDebris). Don’t get me wrong, I love the series but I can’t ignore its flaws. I will say one thing, and I warn you that there will be spoilers in what I say next. Professor Layton is not a fit guardian. He regularly abandons Flora, a girl with psychological abandonment issues to the point where she can’t be alone, to go adventuring. When he discovers that Don Paolo kidnapped Flora, he decides to continue solving the mystery of Folsense and the Elysian Box and treats getting Flora back as an afterthought. At this point, I wonder why Flora’s even in the games anymore. She did serve a purpose in the first game but now she’s little more than the token girl of the series. You could say the same about Emmy in the prequel series but she has actually proven useful on more than one occasion.

The game play is the same as ever. You explore the scenery while solving various puzzles along the way. Granny Riddleton will collect any puzzles you miss. You also have three mini-games you can play in the form of exercising an overweight hamster, repairing a camera and taking pictures, and brewing and serving tea to the citizens of Folsense. For those of you who follow my twitter account, you know that the last one is not only my favorite in this game but in the entire series. You can also collect keys to read an old diary. When you’ve finished the game, you can solve bonus puzzles to unlock a few bonuses in the game.

This game is addictive and intriguing. I give it 8 out of 10; one of my favorites in the series.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village (Gamefly.com)

Professor Layton has just received a note from the late Baron Augustus Reinhold.  His mission, to discover where the Baron has hidden his fortune.  On the way, he has to solve every puzzle the villagers give him.

This game is actually the very first of the Layton series.  The plot is about Baron Reinhold’s family and you have to figure out the story little by little.  This is also an introduction to the characters and the only one we really get a back-story about is Flora.  So, I can’t really say anything about the game without giving away spoilers.

The game play is the same as any other game from the Professor Layton series.  You solve puzzles in order to collect picarats.  You can find hint coins throughout the game and if you miss a puzzle, you can go to Granny Riddleton.  You also have three mini-games you have to solve and in this one you need to assemble a robot dog, put a picture together and create the perfect inn rooms for Luke and Layton.  When you’re done with the game, you can solve the puzzles in the bonuses section and unlock plenty of hidden content.

This game is addictive and challenging.  I give it 7 out of 10; a good introduction to the Professor Layton series.

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future

In the future, a criminal organization led by a corrupt Professor Layton has taken over London. In order to stop him, Luke has sent a note ten years in the past in the hopes that Layton will bring down his future self and save the city.

As usual we have Professor Layton, Luke, Flora, Chelmey and many other characters that we are familiar with from previous games, as well as a few new ones. In this game we finally discover what made Layton the gentlemen he is today, why he treasures his hat and what started the one-sided feud between him and Don Paulo. Despite how happy Layton might seem, his past is actually a tragic one. At the end of the storyline he cries. I want to leave this review spoiler free so I can’t say why he cries, but I can say this: when he cries he actually seems more human. Luke is, as usual, the doting apprentice of Professor Layton. He happily solves puzzles and defends Layton when he is insulted. In this game you truly see how close he and Layton are as certain events unfold. Despite those events, Layton and Luke continue to have their beautiful friendship. Flora is the odd one out. She is loved by both Layton and Luke, but she is not fully accepted as part of the group. When she confronts them about leaving her behind, Layton breaks his gentleman code by lying to her. He claims that it’s because he doesn’t want to put her in danger and that is a factor, but not the true reason. Flora is still new and she is not as close to Layton as Luke is. Plus, let’s face it; Flora cannot take care of herself due to her past (those who have played Professor Layton and the Curious Village will understand what I’m talking about). Still, I was happy that Flora included herself in the adventure and she even got to solve a few puzzles. Unfortunately she is still a damsel in distress, yet I really hope that these are the first few steps for her to slowly develop into a strong character. The character of this story that truly surprised me was the villain, who despite his evil plan, is actually a very sympathetic character.

Like every other game in this series, you will be solving puzzles and they get harder as the game goes on. Trust me, you will need to collect as many hint coins as possible and some of them will be sent to the riddle shack if you fail to solve them in time. However, in order to advance further in the game, you will need to backtrack and solve a few more puzzles. The puzzles also reward items that are necessary for completing the three mini-games. In this game, they are the delivering parrot, the toy car and the picture books. The parrot delivers items to various characters in the game and once he finishes the last delivery, you have a new companion to help you collect hint coins. The toy car comes with various courses and is actually my favorite of the mini games, and not only because of the animation and the arrows. It also gives you a glimpse into Luke’s character. Despite how hard he tries to be an adult, he’s still a ten-year old kid who likes to play every once in a while. The picture books are incomplete and it is your job to collect various drawings and finish each story. When you’re through with the story and the mini-games, you unlock Layton’s Challenges and when you’ve completed those, you unlock profiles, art, sound clips and various other special features. If that’s not enough, you can download new puzzles using the Wi-Fi on your Nintendo DS. In other words, not really that different from other Professor Layton games, but sometimes consistency is not such a bad thing.

Not only is the game fun and challenging, it is also a compelling story with true characters. The story was filled with twists and turns that I honestly did not see coming and the characters show a hidden depth that will surprise you. For the first time in this series, I actually cried. I give this game a ten out of ten. I was going to give it an eight or a nine, but the fact that the game emotionally affected me brought it up to a full ten.

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