Review: Professor Layton and the Curious Village

Puzzles are either pathetically easy, or mind-breaking hard. To me, it has always winded up being the latter, the only exceptions being very simple ones, such as crosswords. This is why I’m horrible at the Ace Attorney series, since I’m not good at analyzing text at all.

But, Ace Attorney is actually NOT the first puzzle game I played. That would be…

 

GETTTT STUCKEEED ON!

Professor Layton and the Curious Village.

A curious little Level 5 game telling the story of gentleman Professor Hershel Layton and his young and esteemed apprentice Luke, who one day set off to the village of St. Mystere (WHO THE HECK NAMED THIS PLACE???? SERIOUSLY ITS A FREAKING PUN ON THE WORD MYSTERY AND IT’S MARVELOUS.) to solve a case involving the illusive Golden Apple, an artifact that no one has heard of before prior to it’s mention from the now-deceased Baron Reinhold.

Along the way, you meet…

Puzzles, hard puzzles, REALLY HARD PUZZLES, Rage-quit-inducing puzzles, more puzzles, two cats, a mouse, a dead guy, Starchenagablargwhothehecknamestheirchildthis, a rich lady, a cute girl,  Detective Gumshoe I mean, an inspector, and puzzles. Did I forget to mention puzzles because puzzles.

There’s a total of 120 in the game (not including bonuses), and this number only increases as the series goes on.

Anyways, onto more about this game. I have an interesting history with this series, but that’s a story for another time.

This game’s story, despite it looking like a typical-mystery-in-a-small-town-story (For the most part it is), it’s actually very well-done. Though if you’re a Layton fan, this game’s story may be a little underwhelming compared to future titles.

Overall, it’s a very well-done story.

Oh, how could I forget!? There’s voice acting. Now, before you shout: “I bet it SUUUUUCKS Subs over Dubs 4EVARRRRRRRR!”, this english voice acting is actually very good. Not as good as say, Kid Icarus Uprising, but still very well-done.

The highlight of the voice acting is Professor Layton’s voice actor, Christopher Robin Miller. Have you ever watched the musical, Diner: The Musical? One of the actors there is actually British, despite doing a spot-on American accent! I mistook him for an American actor myself, until I found out he was British.

Layton’s voice is kind of like that. In fact, they actually kept Christopher’s voice in the British dub of the game, since his British accent imitation is that good! The only voice actor who may get on your nerves is Luke’s, who, while not bad, has a British imitation that may turn off some British-American players. Thankfully, he has a different one in the European release.

Now, onto Gameplay. The people of St. Mystere, just like the name suggests, really like puzzles. In fact, they’ll hand you out one lots of times when you simply talk to them! But, are these puzzles easy? Nope.

This game can delve into NES Game hard sometimes. Like for example, can you figure out the word puzzle below at all without a single hint or guide?

“A boy and his big sister are sitting around the kitchen table chatting.

‘You know, Sis, if I took away two years from my age and gave them to you, you’d be twice my age, huh!’

‘Well, why don’t you just give me one more on top of that? Then I’ll be three times your age.’

So just how old is each sibling?”

If you figured it out, good for you. Here, have a cookie I can’t give you because I can’t magically teleport and give you a cookie. If you didn’t, welcome to getting stucked on. Or you could just cheat by looking up the answer on the internet. There’s that.

Thankfully, this game is actually very forgiving on hints. You see, in order to get a hint for a puzzle, you have to get Hint Coins, which are scattered around the areas in the village. Keep in mind there are a total of 200 in the game, which is a lot. Just don’t waste too much of them or you’re going to have to rely on the walkthrough.

One thing I must praise about this game is it’s way of doing points of no return. We all have that one sidequest, where, when you pass a certain point in the story, it’s no longer available. This is a PAIN for those aiming for 100%. But the game compromises this by having a way to access puzzles you still haven’t solved, which is a wonderful way around the Point of No Return.

Now, onto it’s graphics and artstyle. This game’s cutscenes are wonderfully animated, despite the DS’s graphics decreasing the quality a bit, and the artstyle is very cartoony and expressive, much like Yo-kai Watch, which is made by the same company. However, unlike Yo-kai Watch, this game’s colour palette is much more muted, giving it a more sophisticated look, since this game takes place in Britain. This makes some of the backgrounds not very memorable, with a few key exceptions.

Things Worth Mentioning:

  • THE GAMES SOUNDTRACK IS BEAUTIFUL, take a listen to the main theme- right here.
  • Layton himself is also a highlight. He’s a gentleman, he barely gets upset when someone mistakes him as a detective. He’s an excellent contrast to other protagonists in many other stories and video games, who tend to be easily angered or irritated.

End of Things Worth Mentioning

Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a game full of charm, with a good story, challenging puzzles, and can appeal to many players, new and old. However, the puzzles may be a turn off to some, and the story might be underwhelming compared to other games in the Layton series. So, with these in mind, I give Professor Layton and the Curious Village a 8/10.


Oh, one last thing. If you didn’t solve the puzzle I left up there, here’s the answer: The answer is that both of the siblings are 6 years old for the conditions left to fit. So, if you found the answer… Congratulations!

And my next review will be another old game, older than this one. Can you guess what it is? Hint: The character in it appears as a cameo during a Final Smash in Smash for Wii U and 3DS. Good luck, and good day!

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5 thoughts on “Review: Professor Layton and the Curious Village

  1. Great review! I love this game and the puzzles. The story isn’t as polished as the later games, especially the one from my favorite entry: Professor Layton and the Unwound Future. I wouldn’t say this game is necessarily NES hard though, since NES hard feels like unfair platforming gameplay and this is just having to solve a puzzle. There are some really tricky brain teasers, especially those block sliding puzzles in the extras section, but I don’t know if I can compare them to NES games. For the record, I could solve the puzzle you gave, although I’ll admit the wording is hard to follow. The music is indeed excellent though, I agree! Have you played through Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney, by any chance? That reminds me of a puzzle: What’s your Layton story?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t played Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney yet. It looks like a fun game. Though I have heard mixed things about its storyline, since it carries a flaw from the Professor Layton series that’s fairly well-known. The finale drags on, and the plot twist is a bit ridiculous for some. I have heard the puzzles are top-notch and the cases are mostly solid, however.

      My Layton story goes something like this: This was one of the first DS games I bought. I played through the intro, and younger me loved it. But then she got to the gameplay bits. You see, younger me isn’t exactly good at puzzles (And I still am not!), and she hated admitting she was wrong. She managed to get by the first few puzzles… but she got stuck on Wolves and Chicks. So, younger me refrained from playing the game for a few years.

      One day, I found out this series was quite popular online. That’s how I spoiled myself on lots of Layton lore. Then I tried to play the game again… Only to get stuck on Wolves and Chicks. AGAIN. And then I kind of cheated by using the walkthrough… Forgive me. I only used the walkthrough when I was stuck on a puzzle. That’s mostly how I got through the game.

      And thanks for the criticism on my usage of “NES hard”, it’s really appreciated! Speaking of coincidences, they revealed another game in the series just yesterday! What a strange coincidence.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yea, Lady Layton haha. I recommend Layton vs. Ace Attorney despite the usual Layton logic jumps. The story up until the Layton end is still good. The court segments are top-notch and the puzzles make the investigations more entertaining. Judging by your Maya profile pic, I feel you’d enjoy it, haha. Okay, Wolves and Chicks is admittedly annoying. I can agree with that! I don’t blame younger you or older you at all. This actually reminds me that I still have yet to get the final Layton game. I feel kind of inspired to go through that one, thanks to this post!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely and funny review! I too loved this first meeting with Layton, what a game changer this was. I even remember lady friends picking up their kids device to play this game.
    I haven’t played all games in the series yet. Sometimes the puzzles feel like work, as I work with figures all day, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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