* Prices may differ from that shown
Released in 2008 by publisher and developer Level-5, Professor Layton and the Curious Village is the first in a trilogy of games. With an influx of the puzzle/work your brain games on the DS, this one took a different take on the genre. But could there strong narrative theme mixed with puzzles hit the spot?
Story: We join Professor Layton and his child side kick, Luke, on a mission to unravel the mystery of the golden apple. However, as the investigation begins, more funny going ons in the village of St Mystere leave the Professor and Luke asking more questions that finding answers. By completing puzzles to advance the story, will we find the answers in the end?
Visuals: From the opening video setting the scene, you know are just starting a visually magical game. The video itself looks like a really well drawn and created cartoon that you could be sitting watching on the telly and not in fact on your DS's small screen. The colourful environments, the added detail on the buildings around the village and of course when you venture inside these buildings, so much detail. It really has been created by a game studios wanting to show how much they care for the visual impact of a game. On to the characters, with each and everyone very distinct in there own right. They did not cut corners and just use a same face but with different clothes/hairstyle. All the characters are different and drawn in a way to give off clues of there personality before you talk to them. Like the harsh looking detective or the sweet but always walked over servant. This game was released in 2008 and still today really is amazing for the eyes to see. One of the best DS games visually.
Audio: No place to start other than the voice acting! The DS games I have played in the past very rarely have voice acting. I would assume that is down to the fact people hardly ever have the volume up when playing handheld games. Hmm, the best way to describe the voice acting as very Mary Poppins-esk. Now by that I'm talking Dick Van Dyke's dodgy Cockney accent. But these characters are not Cockney, no what I mean is it feels like they employed non British actors to do the voice acting and there accents sound really pretentious and just annoy the heck out of you. It is like the American view of how Brits sound, incredibly false and just not real. It is funny in the beginning but does become boring quite quickly. Just a quick bit of added information, the guy who plays the Professor is in fact American. There isn't much variety with the voice work either. After doing a puzzle and waiting for the answer, you get the same words spoken every time. 'Luke, here is my answer', can only be heard so often without wanting to tell the Professor to shut up. The actual soundtrack of the game is not of much interest. Again in the beginning it fits well with the genre and mood of the game but is very repetitive throughout.
Gameplay: With the main story of this game played via completing puzzles, the use or the stylus and touch screen has been very cleverly integrated to create a very fun game to play. For the puzzles this includes simple writing numbers, drawing circles or lines and moving items about. It's simple, easy and really does make you feel you are completing an actual puzzle in front of you and not on a DS screen. Exploring the village is a very different and sadly more boring to complete. It is basically a quick click on the shoe icon and arrows will appear and you click on the arrow of where you wish to venture. I am glad it isn't slow in between areas and there isn't lots of scrolling to do but it does feel a bit tedious when you compare it to the clever stylus use in the puzzles.
There are 135 puzzles to complete of varying difficulty and nature. The mixture of the different puzzles and having none which are exactly the same really is refreshing. They took there time and created a great compendium of puzzles that leaves you feeling 2 ways: happy or very frustrated. These puzzles are not a walk in the park. Some of them are perplexing and work the old brain quite hard. Now I do like a challenge but when you come across a particular hard one, it does leave me frustrated and wishing to hurl my DS away in annoyance. Obviously I would never do that to my DS, but who wants to play a game that makes you feel inferior due too being unable to answer a complex puzzle. There are hints available for every puzzle but you need to pay for them with hint coins. Hint coins are found hidden around the village but there is only a limited number, so use them wisely. There are occasions where it feels they chucked in a puzzle just for the sake of it. There is actually a part of the story where Luke says along the lines of; why are we doing a puzzle when someone has just been murdered?! This did make me laugh as I thought exactly the same.
Conclusion: My brother brought this game when it first came out in 2008 and we share each others games to cut down on costs. I do really enjoy the visuals of this game, especially the cut scenes that are really beautifully done. The use of stylus and touch screen for the puzzles make the puzzles feel more enjoyable and more hands on. But with some of the puzzles you feel you have to be some type of genius just to complete them. I'm all for a handful perhaps near the end being hard, so that you are built up for the sudden onslaught on your brain. With there being no rhyme or reason with the order with the puzzles, you can go to a real easy one onto an excruciatingly hard one next, it disrupts the flow and your time playing. Getting stuck on a puzzle is boring and brings your game to a halt whilst you either give up, cheat or guess the right answer.
I would recommend this game for adults and quite smart ones at that. However, I'm not sure if the visuals will suit the older generations. But unless you have a genius for a child or teenager, there isn't much point buying this game.
I received this game from my brother a few Christmas' ago. He bought it for me due to my love of puzzle games like the Monkey Island series. I've never been the biggest computer game player but every now and again a game comes along that I just can't put down.
The game is about Professor Layton and his apprentice Luke and their adventures to find out what secrets the village holds. The people in the village will cause you problems and hold secrets, only giving away information if you solve puzzles and answer questions.
Each game has it's own story to tell, the curious village of St Mystere being the setting for the first of what is now 4 (i think) games. When the Baron dies he leaves a cryptic will that you must help Professor Layton solve with the help of Luke in order to find the missing treasure.
I found this to be quite a unique style of game as it is not just about solving puzzles as a game like Sudoku would be but is entwined with a compelling story. You have to seek out the clues and games and it can sometimes be quite frustrating when a hidden game is difficult to find. For those of you who might be worried about the difficulty of some of the puzzles, you can collect hint coins, which you can use to help you solve puzzles. Each game has 3 hints and if a puzzle is too hard, it is not essential that you solve it in order to complete the story. Don't worry if you get a puzzle wrong you can keep trying until you get it right, the only downside being that you are collecting picarates and the amount you gain drops each time you get a puzzle wrong.
The game is only available on the Nintendo DS. You use the touch screen to guide Professor Layton around, following him on the map on the top screen. The game involves reading what characters say to you as well as sections of high quality animation which can only be enjoyed with the volume up. Some of the characters are endearing and you enjoy getting to know them, others are just irritating.
When you have completed the story, the game is not over. In completing the story you open up secret games that are of a much higher level of difficulty (some of which I claim to be impossible ;-)). Despite this, I feel this to be the big draw back of this game. Once you have completed it, that is it. It is not a game that you will want to go back and play anytime soon.
Looking at the recent prices on Amazon it can be purchased for around £12. I feel this is exceptional value for a game that I predict contains at least 20+ hours of game play. This price has continued to drop due to the releases of the other games (which I believe just get better and better). Although these games do follow a story, they can be played out of order (although this would irritate me).
To summarise if you enjoy puzzle games, this is a must have in your collection.
Platform : Nintendo DS
Genre : Puzzler
Rating : 7 upwards
Take a trip into the village of St. Mystere and unravell the mysteries behind its inhabitants. Layton and his assistant Luke travel to the village at the request of one of its residents in search for the missing golden apple, what they find there is something more sinister. What have the villagers got to hide? Find out by solving the puzzles they have to offer and discover the secret that St Mystere has to hide.
The first in the franchise of the massively successful Layton games, Professor Layton and the Curious village blends adventuring and puzzling together in a story like no other. A vibrant cast of characters and an intriguing plot just as puzzling as the puzzles within it. The cartoony style graphics are attractive and the characters colourful. With fully voiced and animated sequences thrown in with the gameplay this is certainly one of a kind for the DS.
Use your stylus to navigate your way around the game world and interact with characters. Solve puzzles to progress further in the story. These can be anything from simple brain teasers to utterly perplexing brain busters. Some are based on tricks of the eye while others rely more on a knowledge of maths to reach the solution. There is a good mixture on offer to keep things moving. Hints are also available around the world to help you solve the puzzles but these are pretty randomly scattered so you'll have to click on pretty much every little thing on the screen to find them.
The brilliant thing about this story is that it has a really intriguing plot, the characters are curious and its clear from the off that everone has something to hide. However, my issue with this game is that at times, I just found it too difficult to go on without resorting to cheats. I could spend hours trying to solve a puzzle with no idea how to get to the solution even having used up all my cheats. That's not to say that someone else won't find this game absolutely brilliant. For me, puzzles evidently just aren't my thing. It's a game of patience, of which I have none. Certainly the mathematically challenged like myself may find themselves stumped at almost every turn. That isn't to say that the puzzles aren't enjoyable, some of them I found were pretty easy to solve but still required some degree of thought to get to the solution.
Despite the game being given an age rating of 7 unless your child is a genius I probably would tend to disagree with this. There is a lot to offer however for those who enjoying giving their brain a good work out and there is certainly a sense of achievement to be had from solving the puzzles. Layton is a franchise that has captured the interest of millions and has since sprung 3 further games. They are obviosuly doing something right to get this many followers. However, for me its a game that I have never bought the sequels to as I know I would just end up stuck and frustrated again, my money wasted as I find myself defeated my a piece of machinery.
A game for the patient that is well worth the money if you have the brain power to see it through. An innovative game on the DS widely accepted as one of the best the DS has to offer.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village is one of the most "curious games". If you like atmospheric french music, 100's of brain teasers, beautiful Japanese animation and a compelling storyline with unexpected twists and turns, then this is the game for you.
You begin the story by being introduced to "Professor Layton", a man who is renowned for his puzzle-solving abilities and his younger assistant "Luke" who is training to be the Professor's apprentice. The game begins with the two characters conversing about a current case in "St. Mystere" (The place you are travelling to), concerning the Reinhold's fortune and something known as "The Golden Apple." As the game progresses you interact with residents of St. Mystere who offer you puzzles to solve in order for you to further yourself in to the plot or to help the characters. There are 100's of minigames, all of which you can revisit once you have solved them. Throughout the game there are also many secret puzzles which allow you to gain items along the way which you can use later on.
Not only are the graphics of the game truly spellbinding, married with a wonderful array of atmospheric music that suits the game's magical aura, but it causes you to feel more attached to the characters and plot as well as the quirky places that you will visit during the game.
Along side the games "Stills" which are all hand illustrated; there are several short movie clips which play at appropriate times during the storyline. These are wonderful and are worth buying the game in itself.
Although the games age rating is 7+. I truly believe that this game will appeal to ages 7-100. It has something for everyone, whether it be interesting and challenging brain teasers to get your teeth stuck in to or the heart warming plot that you can't help but fall in love with.
Despite completing the game several times, I never tire of it and always manage to find something that I haven't previously which always brings the magic back to St. Mystere.
I got this game for christmas a couple of years ago and at the time I hadn't heard of the game, I'm not sure why because I'm quite an avid Nintendo fan, so this must have completely slipped straight through my gaming radar, so I was slightly confused when I opened it up, but I'm really glad that I got it now.
There is only one proper mode on this game which is the main story mode, but it's a rather long story mode and to complete all the puzzles can literally take a good year if you decide you're not going to cheat and look for the answers online.
The story starts with Professor Layton and his young apprentice Luke driving to the small town of St. Mystere where you are going to solve the mystery of the Golden Apple. Basically the late Baron Reinhold hid the Golden apple before his death and he wrote in his will that whoever can find it will inherit his rather large fortune. But, while Layton and Luke are in the town they get sidetracked by many other issues such as murders and the like, but apparently all of these problems can be solved by solving a massive amount of puzzles throughout the plot. The puzzles are all very different and some of them can be very challenging, but none of them are little gimmicky ones that they have added because they have been running out of ideas.
A couple of things that definitely need a mention are the graphics and the sound. Particularly in the cutscenes, they look and sound so charming it is really one of the major factors that makes this game brilliant.
I am completely obsessed with the Layton gaming series! They are addictive, challenging and engaging from start to finish. This particular game was the first of the series, originally released in 2008, and according to Amazon, has been in the top 100 bestsellers chart for the DS for over 900 days, demonstrating its overwhelming popularity. This is definitely one for those who enjoy solving logical puzzles.
When the Baron Augustus Reinhold of the village of St Mystere passes away, it is up to Luke and Layton to locate the hidden treasure he left behind. With many people after the treasure for themselves, it is in your hands to find the treasure and its rightful owner. Along the way, you encounter many other mysteries and the further into the game you go, the more mysteries you come across and solve.
You are playing as the characters, Professor Layton and his apprentice, Luke. You travel with these characters throughout the game, exploring various maps. By using the stylus to click on the game's various characters and specific places on the screen, you come across puzzles which, when solved, reward you with 'Picarats', or points. If you give an incorrect solution to a puzzle, you receive less Picarats when you eventually do complete the puzzle. However, the Picarats serve no real purpose than some sort of score for your game. They do not hinder your ability to progress throughout the game if you have too few, for example. When you complete puzzles, you may also receive various 'parts' which can be used on the mini games. For example, one of the mini games is building a mechanical dog which, when you finish building it, can be particularly useful...
Is it any good?
This game is, quite simply, fantastic! It includes short animations throughout the game as well. Within these games are the only times I have seen the DS's full potential maximised in this way - I hadn't even realised that the DS could play a 'cartoon' sequence before this. For the most part, the DS has been treated by developers as just some upgrade from the Game Boy Advance, with the two screens instead of one being the only main difference. The game also takes advantage of the microphone feature for some puzzles, something worth considering if you're stuck on some of the puzzles.
RRPs at £25 - £30, but it's selling for £17.99 on Amazon at the moment, and can be bought for much cheaper second hand
This game is challenging enough to keep you amused, is well animated, and an all-round well developed game. An absolute must for puzzle lovers of any age!!
It took me far longer to play Professor Layton and the Curious Village than it should have done. Arriving from Japan after a lengthy localisation process in 2008, the puzzler mystery series failed to grab my attention. It seems I was in a minority there and after three major successes Professor Layton finally won me over. I have initially been put off by the emphasis on brain teasers. The box proudly claims the game contains "Over 130 Puzzles!" Unfortunately, I have owned nearly that many puzzle games on the DS and Wii and most of them have been little more than useless shovelware. Still, I couldn't argue with the sales figures and so, with a little trepidation, I plugged Professor Layton and the Curious Village into my DS.
The game impressed me immediately with its style, greeting me with a beautiful hand drawn title screen and some whimsical, very French sounding music. Getting the game started I was very impressed to find the story being revealed through some beautifully animated scenes with full voice acting. I was introduced to Professor Layton and his apprentice Luke, a puzzle solving pair of not-quite-detectives in a world that seems take from the heart of an Agatha Christie novel. Soon I was prompted to solve a simple little puzzle involving a roadmap and rewarded with some local currency for my trouble. Despite its Japanese origins, the game has a distinctly European feel. Both the Professor and Luke speak in hammy English accents that seemed only to improve the charm and their quirky little car was the cherry on top. It was then that I started to really understand Professor Layton. While the marketing emphasises the puzzle element, this is significantly more substantial than a puzzle or minigame collection. Instead it is an intricate, well written interactive novel. The puzzles themselves are usually found through interacting with people in the village, often you will be tasked to solve a puzzle in return for a clue or advice from one of the many bizarre and colourful characters inhabiting the village of St. Mystere.
The balance between the story and puzzles is well executed, catering to two different markets. Solving a puzzle will advance the story along for people interested in solving the many mysteries while a very small amount of exploration will reveal many more puzzles for those more interested in exercising their lateral thinking. The synergy of the two elements feels totally natural and also suits different styles of playing, rewarding long sessions and short bursts. It also manages to create a sensible level of difficulty by offering a wide variety of different kinds of puzzles, there are great rewards for solving harder challenges but failing to solve a puzzle won't make it impossible to move on. The game rarely becomes frustrating and when you do find yourself pulling your hair out, such tension is usually confined to a single puzzle rather than a larger mystery.
Also included in the game are a few overarching puzzles that are completed by collecting various rewards, by the end of the story there will still be a painting to assemble, gadgets to build and a bit of interior design. These offer rewards for completion that reveal more about the unfolding mystery but also contribute to a great feeling of having lots to do.
The game is exclusive to the DS and makes good use of the touch screen, I could see it working well on the PC also but it suits a handheld the most. It's very easy to just pick up and play, working towards the denouement in small chunks. The basic puzzle gameplay mechanic means you're never far from a marker to stop or start from and it's nice to see a game that works so hard to be different and still feels excellent.
Professor Layton was a rare surprise, a puzzle game that offers a genuinely creative narrative experience together with some of the nicest visuals I've seen in a long time. At times I felt it was a shame the DS didn't have a slightly higher resolution screen to take better advantage of the lovely artwork but it's a minor gripe. This is a really great game and a must own for DS owners.
The first of the Layton challenges and my personal favourite! Brought for my hubby at Christmas (when it first went on general sale) because we were seduced by the hype of the television advert. My initial scepticism was 1(is the game really aimed at adults and 2) will there be enough content within to keep the interst up to justify the then £30 or so price tag? and right from the word go it was very clear that this was going to be a formidable game and something quite different from the usual handhelds that we are used to.
The game play is based around the story of the title character Professor Layton told through visual motion animations, stunning stills and cryptic puzzles that are abundent through out the game (the only gripe I would have is that the quality of the visuals through out the game (although very good) is better during the motion animations). The graphics and ongoing story have been well excecuted and there is a wide range of puzzles to be solved in order to progress through the game.
The game contains a wide range of head scratching puzzles and mind boggling cryptics most of which are based on lateral thinking and (as is always the case) quite simple once you know the answer! They are also usually a lot simpler than the game lets on and even though you are aware of this you still fall into the trap of over complicating your workings out! There is enough variation in puzzles to suit everyone, I would deem this to be the puzzle game for people who dont like puzzles as I am not the biggest fan of cryptic style games but once I picked it up i could literally lose hours baffling over simple problems! Some puzzles are cumpolsary (you can not continue the game until solved) whilst others are optional and you can revert back to them at a later date (presumably when you get that "light bulb over the head moment" and realise how to solve them!) Hint coins are available to assist with those trickier problems although you have to go find them and some puzzles can only be accessed by nosing around the village.
There is a good 20 or so hours of actual game play (unless you are an Einstein incarnation and manage to complete everything first time in record time) as well as additional puzzles and downloads available after the game is completed.
Professor Layton is well worth the money and I fail to see why any one would be disappointed with this challenging game. Its largely aimed at adults but I think it is suitable for youngsters as well. My oldest son was 10 when we purchased this and he had endless hours of fun with it.
Prepare to be mind boggled even when your not playing because you will probably find yourself thinking about that tricky puzzle you were stuck on earlier and prepare to say goodbye to your family before you commence the game because they probably wont get any sense out of you until you complete it!
It is one of my favourite DS games and although we have since brought into the Layton francaise this is my favourite of the three released so far!
It's not very often I buy something for myself but recenty I've been testing out my twins new DS games and have really grown to love my own DS again so I decided to treat myself to a new game as I don't think I've bought one since I had my DS 2 years ago!
I didn't go out looking for anything in particular but my friend reccomended trying out a Professor Layton game as she knows I enjoy puzzles. I came across Profressor Layton and the Curious Village and decided to try this one.
Throughout this game you play as Professor Layton, or now and then his little friend / helper Luke.
You find yourself in a 'Curious' Village, it's all very old style, nothing modern about this game at all.
The game itself guides you through the village, with a lot of narration and conversations to read to take you through the game as you have to solve mysteries of the curious village. To be able to make it further through the game though and continue solving the village mysteries you have to solve puzzles which are thrown up here and there throughout the game either by you finding them yourself or people in the village giving them to you to solve.
The puzzles you have to solve have no time limit to them, and if you do find them too difficult you can come back to them at a later point in the game. It does help though if you save the games you've played so can carry on going forward throughout the game. Although it is possible to come back to puzzles that you may struggle with, to be able to play further through some parts of the game and continue solving village mysteries you do need to have solved a certain number of puzzles.
The puzzles do vary in difficulty and range from maths problems to shape problems, or even how to get animals across a river without them eating each other. They never seem to be repepetitive, nor boring or even dull, in fact I find as you become so addicted to the game you look forward to finding your next puzzle to solve.
During your gameplay through the village, you do have to be curious yourself and tap your stylus on 'things' throughout the village. Anything that looks interesting, or not so, as they could be hiding 'hint' coins and these are a god send in some puzzles. You can use a maximum of three hint coins for each puzzle and these of course give you hints to help you solve the puzzle you are stuck on. The first few puzzles you try and solve appear to be the easiest ones to solve, with no use for hints really, but as you progress through the village and meet new characters the puzzles do become trickier which is to be expected. Some of the puzzles are amazingly obvious, but as you delve deeper into the mystery of the game you find yourself losing it a little and thinking each puzzle is a trick and make it more difficult for yourself, or is it just me who does that? lol Many times I found myself looking back on puzzles and thinking 'I KNEW THAT!!'.
Although a puzzle game may seem boring to some, the game is actually really addictive, especially as you explore the curious village to try solve the village mysteries and you want to see more but can't until you've solved puzzles making you really want to keep playing and keep solving. It certainly gets your brain working and keeps you alert.
The graphics throughout the game are of brilliant quality, this is nowhere near your typical 'kids' game, you know just basic, they are fab, making it look as if you are part of an actual cartoon.
The game is actually suitable for children aged 7 plus, but a child this age or a little older they would probably need some help, saying that mind I needed help a few times and I'm nearly 24 lol!
For me this was a brilliant game, with some fantastic puzzles to solve, I'm definitely going to look into other Professor Layton games as this kept me more than happy and occupied for a while!
You must all excuse me for my lack of input on this site over the last week, I have been totally engrossed playing Professor Layton and the Curious Village on DS. And I can see, from the fact that I am the writing review number 164 on the subject, that quite a few other Dooyooers love the game too! So what is all the hype about?
Professor Layton and the Curious Village is part of a series of adventure/puzzle games for the DS handheld console. The main protagonists of the game are the Professor himself, an archaeologist and amateur detective with a penchant for puzzles, and his assistant Luke, a bright young boy, who unfortunately has an cockney accent as bad as Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins!
The game begins with the pair being summoned by the mysterious Lady Dahlia to the strange village of St Mystere, where she hopes that they will help her to locate a treasure called the "golden apple" that was bequeathed by her husband the Baron to the person clever enough to solve the puzzles involved in finding it. Upon arrival in this curious village, the Professor and Luke soon realise that not is all as it seems, and their search for the treasure takes many twists and turns as they have many mysteries to solve on the way, such as the location of a missing cat, a servant who vanishes and reappears with no memory of what happened, and of course, a murder, with the Professor labeled as a suspect!
Cleverly weaved into the story are 120 different puzzles, which need to be solved if you are to complete the game in its entirety and unlock 15 further bonus puzzles. For a game that looks at first glance to be aimed at children, the puzzles are fiendishly difficult to solve, and although the game is classified as suitable for age 7+, it is really only suitable for those aged 10 and over.
The puzzles are the main part of the game and they are many and varied. Some are variations of very old puzzles and riddles that you will be vaguely familiar with, such as moving matchsticks and coins to make shapes, or trying to work out who is lying afer reading list of statements. The hardest puzzles are the sliding block puzzles, and one of the took me over 1000 moves before I finally managed it! The chess puzzles are also really hard, with one puzzle requiring you to place 8 queens on an 8X8 chessboard without any of them blocking the path of the others (try this one!). In the end, my son did it, to my shame, and I still don't know how it is done!
This game is jaw droppingly impressive for many reasons. The first reason is the AMAZING use of animation and speech in the cutscenes. It is like watching a little cartoon on the DS, and I had no idea that the DS was capable of doing this. We have quite a few DS games and none of them are this sophisticated. The music of the game is very atmospheric and adds to the ambience of the viilage. There are loads of things to see and find in the game and lots of hidden goodies and puzzles. If you touch certain locations in the game, you get "hint coins" which are a big help when trying to solve some of the tougher puzzles.
The game is a real treat visually, and I love the manga style characters, especially Flora, who has huge, saucer eyes! The game has a good variety of different characters that live in the village, who are all a bit quirky and love nothing better than asking you to solve puzzles! I would have preferred a bit more freedom in the game to go where I chose and explore more, as I felt like I had to follow a certain rigid path and order of events in order to see the game through. I was also a bit disappointed that all of the mysteries were solved for me at the end. I would have liked the chance to deduce things for myself, rather than being spoonfed the answer.
The game is easy to navigate by means of the stylus, which you use for everything, from navigating the village and speaking to residents to solving the puzzles. Use of the stylus is easy and intuitive, and even people who are not familiar with gaming would soon get the hang of it.
I had the game on Tuesday, and didn't start playing it until the evening. I was sucked in straight away, and became really curious about how the story would pan out, so I played it nearly all day on Wednesday, (ignoring the kids pleas for things like food!) finally completing the main story at 10:00 p.m. I popped back to the game a few times over Thursday and Friday, mopping up a few remaining puzzles that I had missed, and I finally completed the final puzzle today (Sat). On the down side, once you have completed the game, it is not really the kind of game that you can keep going back to, as once you know all the answers to the puzzles, there is no point in doing them twice, apart from the sliding block puzzles.
I really enjoyed playing this game, and now my 10 year old son is sitting glued to it, driving me mad for solutions to the harder puzzles! I think it is a great testament to the versatility of the DS, and just shows what sort of things the console is capable of. I really like the fact that the DS is a console that can be enjoyed by people of any age, rather that just children or teenagers. I will definitely be buying the sequel, Pandoras Box, so if I vanish from Dooyoo for a few days, you will know the reason why!
When I bought Jen her Nintendo DS a couple of years ago for Christmas I wasn't really sure if I'd ever play it myself. That was until we discovered the first Professor Layton game at Gatwick Airport not long after its release and suddenly it had unlocked a new style of games for me on the DS. Up until this point I'd only played Tetris on the DS and still hadn't really been won over by the allure of Nintendo's latest gaming machine, but Professor Layton and the Curious Village changed all of that.
I thought that the premise of the game had a promising sound to it. You take on the role of Luke, Professor Layton's sidekick as he tries to solve a number of puzzles to discover the mystery of the town of St Mystere. The game is based around a central storyline but to unlock and discover this story you need to unlock clues and information by solving puzzles for the people of St Mystere. In fact the game itself includes 135 puzzles in total and only till all of these are solved can you really class the game as being complete.
Whilst the concept sounds pretty good it could be the make or break element of the game and it was always going to be the quality of the puzzles that would make the game a success or a failure and thankfully the developers got it right. Each of the 135 games is different to some degree, whether it be the fact they get harder each time you come across a certain puzzle or just in the sheer variety of puzzles the developers have created. Even the ones that repeat themselves only do so up to around 3 times and this keeps the game fresh.
As you progress through the game you collect points from each of the puzzles and the number of points is dependent on how many attempts you take at each puzzle and how hard the puzzle itself is. This obviously gives the game a bit of longevity as even once you've completed the game you can try again and get a better overall score. This gives the game a much longer lifespan than just being played through once and with a mixture of good puzzles and a decent, engaging storyline it works rather well.
Of course the developers weren't assuming that everyone would find all of the games a breeze and for that reason each game has a total of 3 hints you can get to try and help you solve the puzzle in front of you. In order to get these hints you must collect the hint coins scattered through each area of the village. I felt this was a nice little extra to the game as it lead to you firstly searching each screen for the hint coins and also trying to solve puzzles without using them just in case you needed them further through the game.
The game has a reasonable longevity on the first play with my first attempt to complete the game clocking in at 12 hours of playing time. As you progress and save your game the file tells you your current game time and how many puzzles you have completed, which is a very useful tool to have as you continue through the game.
Along with the main puzzle theme to the game there are a couple of little side games to hold your attention further. The first of these is collecting the pieces of a mechanical dog, which once you have found all the pieces will help you to find the hint coins. The next sub game is piecing together a photo, which once complete will help to unravel the mystery of this town. The final sub game is to decorate Luke and the Professor's room at the inn and the more items you pick up from solved puzzles the happier our two lead characters become.
The graphics are pretty sharp considering quite how much has obviously gone into this game. It is all designed in the cartoon style of the Japanese cartoons from which the game originates and it really works very well. The colours used within the game are really vibrant and because of the compact nature of the screen on the DS it brings each of the scenes together very well. Each of the areas of the town are very well designed and it is obvious that a lot of work has gone in to making the look of the game feel as impressive as the game play itself.
Each of the characters are voiced over and like the graphics there has been a lot of effort put in to making sure this looks just right. The soundtrack is used to very good effect to create moments of suspense.
Each of the puzzles has a little tune that plays whilst you try to solve it and whilst this can get a little frustrating the more times you have to attempt each puzzle it is really just a background sound that doesn't distract you too much. As the developers have also realised that not everyone wants to play with the sound on the dialogue sequences are also written on the screen allowing you to read and play on at your own pace rather than listening to whole conversation.
Game Play & Control
The game puts the touch screen aspect of the Nintendo Ds to very good use. Every puzzle and action in the game is controlled by the stylus. It's a very well made point and click game that allows you to search each level with the stylus to find the hidden bonuses. The controls at times didn't find the items you were looking for straight away but that was a very minor complaint that could easily have been down to how clean the screen on our DS was rather than an operating fault with the game.
The only real complaint I have about the whole game is the navigation system, which relies largely on you remembering where in the village everything is. When you are playing for long periods of time this isn't too much of a problem but if you leave the game for a week it can be hard to remember where the Cafe or the fun fair are without following a number of dead end paths first. It's a very minor problem however and one that certainly doesn't detract from the overall quality of the game itself.
I have to admit that I am incredibly impressed with the first Professor Layton game. It is one of those games that Nintendo have targeted at the Kids market but made it equally as accessible for adults as well. It offers a good variety of puzzles and gives you something that you can get hours of entertainment out of. The game doesn't rely on you being a mastermind and the way it builds up the difficulty on each puzzle makes it quite a smooth progression from the easier games to the harder ones at the end.
It's a game that has really impressed me and with the amount of detail that has gone into it, it doesn't surprise me that it has been so popular. The second Layton game is already on the market and a third is scheduled for release this year. That is in no small part down to this being one of the most innovative games on the DS. There are of course other puzzle games on the market for the Ds but none of them seem to boast the variety of puzzles or engaging storylines. This is a game that combines a good story, decent puzzles and a longevity I've not seen from a DS game yet and it's that reason I am giving Professor Layton and the Curious Village 5 stars.
Platform: Nintendo DS only
Age - 7 plus
I very recently wrote a review on the sequel to this, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (Pandora's Box in some countries). Which makes it fairly hard to write a review for this game, as they are so similar. But here goes.
The game is entirely based around puzzles (or riddles as they like to call them). The story can only be progressed by the player correctly solving the puzzles presented to them. Each puzzle is entirely different, and will require common sense and some serious thinking if you hope to finish this game. There is a large amount of puzzles, i can't remember how many, but enough to make a game with a long and involving storyline, and as i said in my other review, this is rare in a DS title.
Other than the fact that the puzzles and story are different, this game is very similar to it's sequel, the graphics are essentially the same, a few of the games main characters also make an appearance in both games. Luckily as the main focus of the Layton games are the puzzles, its well worth picking up both games if you can, the puzzles are equally as good in both games, but they're very different.
As i said with my other review, i can't recommend this game (or series) enough, people that like to use their brain will love this game, even someone who's not that into puzzle games (like myself) will find themselves getting addicted before too long.
Ideally you'll want to have a bit of time free in order to progress in this game, as some puzzles can take a while to figure out.
Buy this game, you won't regret it.
Another game for the Nintendo DS I have played on numerous occasions is the Professor Layton mysteries and they are great games but the one I have managed to get all the way through was the Curious Village game and you play the role of two people and one is Professor Layton and the other in theory is his sidekick Luke.
You have to explore the Curious Village to find out puzzles and meet people to solve a mystery. The game is designed to test your knowledge as puzzles are hidden throughout the game in various locations such as trees and inside shops and buildings you might encounter.
You walk around a destination and you use various ways of searching such as clicking on anything in view and you might find a hint coin. These hint coins are very valuable as they can help assist you in puzzles.
When you approach someone you might have a puzzle to do before they assist you and these can be anything resulting in mazes or maths or just trying to work out a logic situation. You get given Pacarats and this is done every puzzle you have. If you get the answer wrong the amount of pacarats drops but you can use the hint coins you have collected to help you solve some of the mysteries you encounter. The mysteries and puzzles vary and each has a various amount of points to give to you.
You have to complete chapters within the game and then eventually you are at the end and you can see if you have missed any puzzles. You get to see plenty of contact with other characters because they are needed to help the story progress and become easier to understand and solve.
The problem I find is that at times there is too much contact with other characters because you get to read so much information over and over and it can become boring and tiresome and make you lose track of what you are aiming to solve.
The game has decent enough graphics and I do like how the game is done so you have to look through buildings for the coins and sometimes they are in the most remote of locations and obscure and then other times you have got yourself talking to people continuously and they always present you with a puzzle to solve.
You get to save the game whenever you wish and there are many other little things to do on the side which I shall not spoil for those who want to take part in playing the game. I spent over 14 hours until I completed the game and so many of the puzzles I struggled with but I would say it definitely tests your knowledge.
I have many games for the ds and this one is my all time favourite and also the first game I have ever completed, I usually get bored half way through or it gets to hard and I give up.
This game was different it had me hooked from the beginning and I was determined I was going to crack the puzzles. The game involves Professor Layton trying to discover the mysterys of the village. Along the way there are puzzles to solve and people to question and keep your eye out for hint coins. These can be found in plant pots, street lamps etc and are very useful when you come across a tricky puzzle to solve.
The puzzles are great, each one worth different and has varying difficulties some were easy to grasp others took abit more time some took me up to 20 minutes to figure out even using my hint coins. With the hint coins you get a clue and you can use up to 3 hint coins per puzzle sometimes I needed them all. The puzzles included number problems, then more practical ones like getting all the animals over the river, and then puzzles which involve sliding blocks to get varying items free. Its important you read the question properly and sometimes I found myself having to put the console down walk away and then come back and do it again and I was able to grasp it the second time round.
You complete the puzzles as Professor Layton or Luke his assistant and each time you complete a puzzle you see there 'thinking' face if you have no quite got it or there 'well done' face if you have lol.
The graphics are good for the game everything is clear and there is no jerky movements. You can play the game with the sound on and some of the story will be read to you or you can play with sound off as the words appear on the screen anyway so its clear what you have to do without annoying those around you. There are over 100 puzzles to solve and I completed this game within a few months my total time was 18hours that was playing it a little bit each night.
Overall a fantastic game and like I say its the only game on the ds I have ever completed because I could not put down I am now working my way through the next addition in the series which is equally addictive. My copy cost £30 when it first came out you can get it cheaper on ebay or amazon though 2nd hand. It definately worth ago.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a Sherlock Holmes-inspired puzzle-solving game released by Nintendo and Level-5, the first-released game in the series (although not the first chronologically, but let's not get into that!) which follows the titular Professor Layton and his assistant, a young boy named Luke. In this game, the Professor and Luke get invited to a village called St Mystere, by the widow of a famous inhabitant, Baron Reinhold. The baron stated in his will that his fortune would be left to the person who solved the mystery of the Golden Apple. The Professor and Luke must solve various puzzles and riddles to get to the bottom of the mystery, as well as several other side storylines.
The gameplay itself is simple, even if the puzzles aren't! The controls are fully explained in game, and are done entirely by touch screen. The puzzles are easy to solve using the stylus, although occasionally the game will get confused when you are writing letters or numbers - this is rare, however, and not a major issue. The storyline is easy to follow and there are plenty of side missions to keep things a bit interesting. Any puzzles that aren't solved by the time the story moves on to the next chapter are easily locatable in a specific place on the game map. There are 135 puzzles in total, plenty to keep you going for a while although the game is addictive enough that you may work through them at a speedy rate (or not, see Difficulty!).
There are also some side games to play - constructing an unusual object from parts you find during the game, reconstructing a painting from scraps you find, and distributing furniture you find between the Professor and Luke's inn rooms.
The puzzles range in difficulty, getting progressively harder as the game goes on. For each puzzle, you receive an award in the form of 'picarats'. The more difficult the puzzle, the more picarats you can potentially receive. If you get a puzzle wrong, the amount of picarats received decreases, although there is a minimum. However, sometimes it can feel as if the 10 picarat puzzles are more difficult than the 50 picarat ones, so you're kept on your toes!
Throughout the game, through random clicking on the map, you find 'hint coins'. These can be used to help you solve a puzzle, up to 3 per riddle. These can be invaluable with some puzzles.
There are a large range of puzzles - logic, maths, visual, slide puzzles, traditional riddles - and a few trick riddles thrown in for good measure (often the most infuriating!) There are a few puzzles which just seem impossible at first and will often lead you to give up repeatedly, but on the whole they are generally solvable with some deep thought. If all else fails, there are numerous walkthroughs on the net.
This game is surprisingly replayable - I've gone through it about 3 times since I've got it. Admittedly, you will remember solutions to puzzles, but I will often find myself forgetting them, so it is like playing all over again. There is also the self-competitive element of trying to get more picarats and complete the game more quickly than before.
The graphics are wonderfully clean. They are very simple, but that suits the game excellently. There are cut-scenes throughout the game to further the story line, which I often watch again because the graphics are so sweet. The colours are vibrant too, and all in all it's a very visually pleasing game.
The voice acting in this game is very good, although you only hear it during the cut-scenes and on completion of puzzles. The accompanying music is very light and 'tinkly', but on the other hand very repetitive. It's very sweet for the first half an hour of playing, but after listening to it for a while you may find yourself turning the volume down for a bit.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a very original, highly addictive game. It won't appeal to all, but those of us who love puzzle solving will spend hours on it. It's suitable for all ages, and it's a very clean looking, well produced game. Overall, highly recommended.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village involves the game's eponymous character and his assistant Luke searching the village of St. Mystere for the "Golden Apple", a treasure claimed to be left by the late Baron Reinhold for anyone that can deduce the puzzles that he left behind to find it.