Product Type: Nintendo Nintendo DS games
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Interactive puzzle book
Professor Layton and The Curious Village (DS)
Member Name: Auryvf
Professor Layton and The Curious Village (DS)
Date: 23/07/09, updated on 23/07/09 (159 review reads)
Advantages: Some brilliant puzzles
Disadvantages: Not much besides puzzles, a few duds
Professor Layton is a puzzle game through and through and those looking for more than an interactive puzzle book could be sorely disappointed.
Let me start off by saying I liked Professor Layton enough to stick with it and complete every single puzzle (of which there are 135), the puzzles are varied in difficulty and style and many offer a reasonable challenge. There is also a story to back it up joined together with a few animated cut scenes.
Let's go backwards and start with the animated cut scenes, these are honestly very good, the animation is smooth and the voice acting and music is spot on. If only there were more of them but they are sadly few and far between.
Next the story is pleasant enough, it starts off simply and it expands in to a fairly interesting mystery story with some rather bizarre twists towards the end, however it hardly leaves you gripping the edge of your seat. Perhaps I've been spoiled by playing so many RPGs but I like my stories to be a bit deeper. The professor himself and his assistant Luke have glimmers of personality to them but I found myself not really caring about any of the other characters, I can't even remember the names of most and I only finished playing a couple of days ago.
Now on to the important bit - the puzzles. This game is all about the many puzzles, it is rare for the good professor to talk to a single npc without them giving him a puzzle to solve and there are even more puzzles found in the static scenery by just clicking around with the stylus. All the puzzles are logic related; there are no quiz show general knowledge questions here. Most of the puzzles are pretty good, they offer a fair challenge and require some thought, some are more interactive than others requiring you to slide panels or join dots while others just give a question and a box for an answer. My personal favourites include ones where you have to slide balls though a maze of moveable panels and the more maths related ones.
It is often possible to write notes on the touch screen during a puzzle to help solve them which is very useful however on a few puzzles where notes would have been helpful it is impossible to write them. It is also impossible to erase only small sections of your notes, instead having to clear the entire screen resulting in much frustration as when the screen is full of calculations, there is no room for more and no way to make more room other than deleting it all.
Some are of course better than others and there are a few duds along the way including some that were less logic puzzles and more trick questions which left a rather bad taste in my mouth. You see that is the biggest flaw in the puzzle system in the game, you are rewarded points upon completing a puzzle however the number of points you receive decreases with each wrong answer you give. This is both a good and bad idea, good because it encourages the player to take their time (there is no time limit on any of the puzzles) and only submit an answer when they are certain on it. However this is very irritating when trick questions come along as then there are seemingly two answers and its left to a guessing game as to which is the correct one.
Here is an early example in the game -
"Ten candles stand burning in a dining room. A strong breeze blows in through an open window and extinguishes two of them. Checking back in on the candles later, you see that one more candle has gone out. To make sure no more flames go out, you shut the window. Assuming the wind doesn't extinguish any more candles, how many candles do you have left in the end?"
The correct answer could either be 7 or 3 depending on how you look at it giving you a 50-50 chance at guessing how straight forward the answer is. In this case it is most likely going to be 3 as 7 seems a bit to obvious but there were other times where both answers needed some thought behind them making it more of a guessing game. You're penalised for making the wrong guess which is just rather annoying.
But enough of that, the fact remains that if you like logic puzzles and don't hold your hopes up for a good story or anything beyond puzzles, chances are you will like this game and I do strongly recommend it. There is however no reason to replay the game once you've finished it so the best advice I can give you is to buy it second hand, complete it then sell it on and chances are it will cost you about the same amount as a good puzzle book. Only this one's interactive.
Summary: Better than the average puzzle book
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