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Professor Layton and Pandora's Box (DS)

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Genre: Puzzle / Video Game for Nintendo DS / Parental Guidance / ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ / Release Date: 2009-09-25 / Published by Nintendo

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    42 Reviews
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      02.01.2013 17:50
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      A game for the whole family to enjoy... if you have the patience

      The Professor Layton series has proved to be an insanely popular title for the DS/3DS with developers Factor 5 turning out several titles to both critical and public acclaim. The whole phenomena had passed me by, until I acquired a couple of titles last year and got to see what all the fuss was about for myself.

      This time around, the Professor and his apprentice Luke are investigating who killed his mentor Dr Schrader. They are also on the trail of the mysterious Pandora's Box, said to kill anyone who dares open it. Before they can solve either mystery, however, there are lots of puzzles to be solved.

      Pandora's Box is essentially a series of puzzles held together with a loose storyline. It takes its cue from the old point and click adventures that were popular in the 90s (solve puzzles to gradually unveil the storyline) but updates the format for a new audience and new machines.

      In particular, the game is very well structured and gets around the traditional frustration that afflicted most old adventures where getting stuck on a particular puzzle effectively prevented any further progress. Instead, the game implements mechanisms to prevent this. If you get stuck on a particular puzzle, you can "buy" up to three hints using puzzle coins that you discover as you move through the various locations. Each hint gives you a bigger and bigger clue as to what you need to do, but stops short of providing the full solution. Even when you have bought all clues, you still need to work out what to do, so you can't just "buy" your way through the game puzzles.

      The second feature is even better. Pandora's Box has a fairly open structure. If you can't solve a puzzle, you can simply carry on and then return to it later. This has a double benefit: you never completely stuck and unable to progress; and you will often find that when you return to a puzzle, something clicks that you had missed previously and you are able to solve it. The combination of hints and free roaming gameplay goes a long way to removing the standard frustration with this type of game.

      There's no doubting the long-term gameplay of Pandora's Box either, with around 150 different puzzles to solve, plus additional ones that can be downloaded. Solving puzzles also unlocks additional features or mini puzzles, so there are a lot of challenges ahead.

      There's also a nice variety in the type and difficulty of the puzzles. Each puzzle is worth a certain number of points (the higher the points the trickier the puzzle). Some logic-based, some are maths-related, whilst others require spatial awareness (like those old-style block-sliding puzzles where you have to move particular piece to a particular location by shifting the pieces around). This stops the game from becoming too repetitive or dull.

      The difficulty level of the game is perhaps a different thing. Puzzles range from incredibly easy to brain-scratchingly difficult and there's no knowing what you will get next. Traditional puzzle games tend to get harder as you progress; here you can come up against a really easy puzzle and then the next one you encounter is one of the toughest. This does mean that you sometimes feel that there are massive sudden spikes in the gameplay (although the ability to leave a puzzle helps with this, of course).

      Some puzzles may also cause issues for younger gamers. Although they are generally clearly explained, there were a few occasions when I had to read the instructions several times before I fully understood what I had to do. Even when I understood, actually solving them still represented a real challenge and there were more than a few times when I was reduced to trial and error. Younger gamers might need the help of an adult but in a way, that adds to the appeal since people of all generations can play together.

      The really disappointing aspect was the story. Although there is a running narrative linked by the puzzles, some of these have only the most tenuous of links to the plot and are integrated in a very clumsy way. The very best adventures seamlessly weave devious puzzles into the fabric of the plot, meshing the two together carefully. In Pandora's Box the links are often quite contrived and (for me) destroyed some of the atmosphere reminding you that you were, after all, only playing a game.

      Presentation is generally very good, although it's not without its annoying aspects. Graphics are bold and cartoon-like with a slightly quirky look and feel. They reminded me of the old cheap French cartoons that BBC TV used to show during the summer holidays. That's not a criticism, by the way, since the artwork is of very high quality. Cut-scenes are well-rendered and help to break up the monotony of puzzle solving (although they were a little too numerous and lengthy for my liking at times).

      Sound is similarly strong, with a series of tunes playing throughout. These are fairly innocuous so they don't break your concentration, but there were a few nice ones that you could hum along to. Sound effects were OK, although I find the voice work little short of embarrassing and actually quite patronising. Again, this is perhaps because this aspect of presentation is aimed at a younger audience.

      Despite its obvious appeal, I did find Pandora's Box a bit of a mixed bag. I enjoyed the puzzle-based gameplay, but did find that I couldn't play the game in long bursts. After a while (despite the nominal plot) I did start to feel like I was simply moving mechanically from one puzzle to the next, with no real engagement with the story. As such, I find that I only play the game in bursts of 30 minutes or so before I lose interest and move onto something else. This possibly tells you more about my preferences as a gamer than it does about the game itself, but I did find it rather too slow-paced at times.

      I guess it boils down to this: if you like puzzles and slower-paced games, this title will have real appeal; if you're an adrenalin-junkie that prefers shooting and racing you're likely to find it a bit dull. If (like me) you sit somewhere in the middle, then you'll enjoy Pandora's Box in small bursts. I have to say, however, having now played it, I can't for the life of me see why the series is so popular. It's fun enough, but it wouldn't even make my top 100 of best games of all time.

      © Copyright SWSt 2013

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      • More +
        06.06.2012 10:13
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        A puzzling but addictive game.

        ==Professor Layton and Pandora's Box. Nintendo DS==


        Professor Layton and Pandora's Box is a puzzle based game for the Nintendo DS. I have always enjoyed puzzles and games which make my mind work, my love of games began with Tetris way back in the late 80's! I have borrowed this game from my nan as she has completed it and no longer plays it. She has actually moved onto other Professor Layton games in the Professor Layton series. This is apparently the 2nd game in the series so much to my annoyance I will be playing these in the wrong order!


        ==The Story==
        Following the unexpected death of a friend Professor Layton, an English Professor, along with his young assistant Luke embark on a quest to find a box mentioned to Professor Layton in a letter from his late friend, the box in question is Pandora's Box. The box is an unknown box of mystery and all who have been said to have found and opened this box have later died mysteriously. No-one likes to talk about the box and quite a few people deny all knowledge of its existence.


        ==Professor Layton and Pandora's Box: The Game==
        At the start of new game you will be shown the first of many video clips, which to my annoyance, you cannot skip. The video is actually quite relevant to the game, as are most of them because the game isn't just a random selection of puzzles that have been thrown together, but rather a game with a storyline where you must work your way through the game completing puzzles and if your puzzle solving skills are good enough then eventually solve the mystery and complete the game. The main story is set on the Molentary Express train and along your journey you will stop off in different villages which you will need to explore to find new puzzles, hint coins and talk to the locals to find out as much as you can about the mystery of Pandora's Box and its connection with Professor Layton's deceased friend.

        The puzzles involved in the game are a complete mixture and to be honest I couldn't put a general set difficulty level to summarise them all up together as some of them I have found really easy to complete and have hardly had to think about, where as others I have found myself stuck on for ages even after using all of the available hints! Some puzzles involve maths, where as others are more of a logical puzzle. The logical ones are my favourite, closely followed by ones where you need to slide items around to rearrange the order of them. The maths ones drive me insane as they are not simple in anyway, I always thought I was quite good with numbers but these puzzles are worded in such a way that it really confuses me.

        For each puzzle there are 3 possible hints available, but to use these hints you must unlock them with hint coins. If you don't have enough hint coins to unlock the hints then you are on your own and may have to come back to the puzzle later. Each puzzle is worth a certain number of points or as they are called in the game 'Picarats'. If you solve a puzzle correctly you will earn the full amount of Picarats, if you answer incorrectly then the number of picarats you can earn will decrease. The overall total of picarats you have earned is displayed beneath the amount that each puzzle is worth.

        The game uses both screens of the Nintendo DS. The top screen is mainly used to show a map of the area you are in, or if you are on the train then you will see a plan of the carriage you are currently travelling on. When you find a puzzle the top screen is used to display a short text explaining the puzzle and the touch screen at the bottom is used for completing the puzzle. Most puzzles are completed by either moving pieces around or inputting a number with your stylus pen.

        The sound in the game is mainly music with the occasional sound effects and speech, but most of the speech is actually just written on the screen for you to read. I like this setting as I quite often play this game with the volume turned down completely and therefore being able to read the speech is very useful for me. The graphics are really good, the images are sharp and everything seems to run smoothly on my DS.

        The controls are simple and mainly a case of tapping the touch screen with the stylus pen. If you tap certain parts of the scene you will find Hint Coins. These are great to save and they can then be used to help you with solving puzzles which are a bit too hard to solve alone. When you are exploring a scene you can also tap certain items to get a description of the item from either the Professor or Luke.

        Professor Layton and Pandora's Box is available on amazon.co.uk for £16.99 which I think is a reasonable price for the quality and longevity of the game.


        ==Mini Games==
        During your travels with Professor Layton you will inherit a hamster who you must train and exercise to help him lose weight. This little mini game is a bit boring and I usually use it as a break from the puzzles which I am struggling with as you don't need to think too much to make the hamster move around.

        Another mini game is the tea set, in this game you need to blend different kinds of tea using ingredients you will randomly collect from completing certain puzzles.

        The final mini game is the broken camera. While completing puzzles you will be given a selection of pieces belonging to a broken camera, as you collect these pieces you need to fit them into place to fix the camera. I quite enjoy this mini puzzle, however I'm a little frustrated that my last 2 pieces seem to be hidden very well within the game.


        ==My Experience and Opinion==
        I am finding this game to be very addictive as I really enjoy the challenge of the puzzles. As I mentioned earlier, some of the puzzles are really easy but I would say that this is only a small percentage of them and the rest of them do present a bit of a challenge and make you use your brain! I am totally stuck on 3 puzzles at the moment and while the temptation of googling the solution does exist I cannot bring myself to do it as I don't think I would enjoy the rest of the game. I spend a lot of time playing this game and it has kept me distracted for many hours during a few recent long train journeys. I have lost count of how many hours I have spent playing this game and I think it would probably scare me if I knew how many, but regardless of this I think I am almost halfway through the game as I am on puzzle 62 and I have been told there are approximately 150 in the whole game. I am not bored of this game yet and if it continues to be as good as it has already been then I can see myself having to purchase the other Professor Layton games in the series.

        I would say that although the game is rated as age 7 years and over, it is quite possibly too hard for children of this age and more suited to around 13 or 14 years up. My brother is 9 and when I told him I was borrowing it from our nan he rolled his eyes and told me he played it once but it was too hard so he didn't like it.

        For me, the lifetime of this game will probably be endless as I can see I will want to play the whole game again to try and beat my picarats score, but unless you are like me and you would want to play again to try and beat your previous score then I would say this game literally only has the lifetime of however long it takes you to complete.

        Overall, this is a highly recommended game from me.


        Thanks for reading :)

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        • More +
          05.12.2011 15:44
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          More mind bending puzzles from the Professor

          INTRODUCTION

          Having really enjoyed playing Professor Layton and the Curious Village, it was an obvious choice to get the sequel Professor Layton and Pandora's Box, which is the second game in the popular puzzle and mystery solving series. In the US, the game is known as Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box.

          (I am planning to review Professor Layton and the Curious Village, but I need to play it again first!)

          AVAILABILITY

          I bought the game from an Amazon Marketplace seller for £17.99 in the Summer of 2010, but it is still available from all good video game stockists. At the time of writing the review, most places are selling the game for around £24, the home shopping catalogues seem to charge far more with Littlewoods selling it for £37, so  it is worth shopping around to get the best deal.

          The game is rated 7 and like the first game, it carries the fear warning.

          It's published by Nintendo, developed by Level 5, and was released in 2009.

          COME ABOARD THE MOLENTARY EXPRESS......

          As with the first game in the series, I take on the roles of Professor Hershel Layton and his young apprentice Luke, this time they're investigating the mystery of the Elysian Box, also known as Pandora's Box, which was claimed to kill anyone who opened it. The story begins with the Professor receiving a letter from Dr Andrew Schrader stating that he was in possession of the box, and to continue his investigation if the box lived up to it's dark reputation. Unable to shrug off the feelings that something terrible has happened, Professor Layton and Luke head to Dr Schrader's house to find him murdered, and all that remained was a ticket for the Molentary Express, said to be the most luxurious train in the world.

          As the story unfolds there are several mysteries to solve, and along the way,  I'll meet loads of different characters and also some familiar faces I met in the first game. I won't say any more about those to avoid spoiling it if you haven't played Professor Layton and the Curious Village.

          ~Another puzzling time...~

          As with Professor Layton and the Curious Village, the game involves solving some perplexing puzzles to earn those all important Picarats. The box states that there are over 150 of them to solve this time around.

          The navigation system is pretty much the same as the first game, the overview is located on the top screen and I move my characters around the touchscreen by tapping on the shoe and arrow icons. When I want to save the game, I just tap on the trunk icon and save the game to one of three save files, I can then either go back to the main game, the solved puzzle index, play one of the mini games once unlocked, or turn the console off. The game is saved automatically at the end of each chapter, but at all other times, it's manual save time. It's best to save often otherwise I have to start again from the point I last saved (with the exception of completing a chapter) if the battery goes which gets very annoying. If I want to resume the game after restarting my console, I just tap on 'continue' when the game loads up and then select my save file.

          Once again, I carry out my investigation by asking various characters by tapping on them and on my surroundings to find out information, earn hint coins (which can be just about anywhere on the touchscreen), or have to solve a puzzle. There are a couple of differences this time, firstly there are more locations in this game, and secondly some of the puzzles are more tightly integrated with the storyline and characters which I thought was a nice addition.

          As with the first game, there's a host of logical and lateral thinking puzzles, which once again got me thinking. The puzzle task or question is located on the top screen, and I enter my answer via the touchscreen, then have to wait to see if the answer is correct. When I'm wrong sometimes I'm given a comment that makes me feel like a naughty schoolchild! The puzzles are challenging, sometimes annoying, to downright frustrating where I spent days or evenings trying to fathom out the answer, and putting the game away for a few weeks and going back to it with a fresh mind. The Patterned Box, the flag one, and Shoe Maze spring to mind as a few examples of puzzles that gave me the most grief, as with the first game I couldn't progress on to the next stage unless I solved certain puzzles. I felt on the whole the puzzles are tougher than the predecessor, even taking in to consideration the number of Picarats they're worth. Getting the right answer is still very satisfying. I still think 12 is a better rating than 7 for these games, I just cannot imagine many 7 year olds being able to solve these puzzles - I'm in my mid 30s and I got stuck several times!

          The vast majority of the puzzles are new, but there are some from the first game but put in a way that's fresh and new and blends in with the game, so it doesn't feel like lazy programming. The best example is the Get the Ball Out puzzles, which became putting rubbish into a bin and a few other things on Pandora's Box, they still had the annoyance of moving blocks around in circles getting nowhere! There are also a few puzzle series which get harder each time such as Piles of Pancakes, and Disappearing Act.

          ~At first if you don't succeed, try, try, try again.....~

          The number of Picarats gauges the difficulty of the puzzle, say for example puzzles worth 50 Picarats are harder than 20. Once again if I get an answer wrong, the number of Picarats depletes, but don't go down to zero, which is just as well really, so I kept trying to get the answer.

          Each puzzle has three hints available which costs one hint coin per hint. Sometimes they can be a useful means to solve the puzzle such as a starting point or part of the answer, and sometimes they are as much use as an umbrella with holes in on a rainy day or give a bit of trivia about the puzzle. I found the puzzles were a lot tougher than the first time round, so I found myself using more hint coins.

          ~Where do unsolved puzzles go?~

          Granny Riddleton puts in an appearance from the first game. As the story progresses, it's easy to miss puzzles and at the end of each chapter, many puzzles end up in Granny Riddleton's puzzle shack which you can visit at any time to solve them, which is somewhere with in each location I visited. Not all puzzles end up in there, and I had to revisit some of the sites again to solve them.

          MINI GAMES

          As with the first game, there's a range of mini games available which I unlocked as I played the game. I felt this time, some of them played a much greater part in the game than the ones in the predecessor. These are all located by tapping on the trunk icon.

          ~Exercise that hamster!~

          Early on in the game, I'm given the task of looking after an overweight hamster and helping him to get fit. As I solve the puzzles, sometimes as a reward I'm given a toy to help set up a playground to help him get the exercise he needs. There are five stages, and each requires the hamster to walk so many steps to achieve his goals, when I finally did I was given a reward. I found this really addictive, and I spent ages setting out different courses to achieve his goals, and latterly break my record, so there is great longevity there afterwards.

          ~Cup of tea anyone?~

          Here I'm given a tea set, and I have to collect different ingredients to make the different herbal blends, again as with the hamster game they are awarded after solving certain puzzles. I had to work out all the 12 different recipes which suit different moods, tastes and situations on the basis a good cup of tea can help solve different problems, and periodically a character in the game wants a cup of tea to help them out. This is not as easy as it looks, as it took me forever to find the correct combinations, and I spent a lot of time creating as the game described as 'poison' and I lost count of the times I didn't serve up the correct blend to certain characters, though I put that down to not having all the correct ingredients due to the order I solved the puzzles in.

          ~Smile for the camera~

          The final mini game is the camera, again I'm given pieces of a broken camera after solving certain puzzles which are then fitted together like a jigsaw. Once completed the camera is used to take photographs where the camera icon appears, which is used to play a spot the difference game.

          ~Piecing together an old diary~

          I wouldn't classify this as a mini game, but I also collected  keys to unlock parts of a diary which helps with the mystery.

          BONUS CONTENT

          There are opportunities to unlock various bonuses as I complete certain tasks such as Layton's challenges, and there is also the opportunity to download a weekly puzzle via wi-fi for a limited period. By the time I had the game, they had stopped the new puzzles. The weekly puzzles do not form part of the main game. They don't earn any Picarats. There is only one hint available for these puzzles, and I can't use any hint coins.

          There is also a password to unlock content in Professor Layton and The Curious Village, and also an area to unlock after playing the sequel Professor Layton and the Lost Future, which at the time of writing I haven't got. As with the first game, I can't access the bonus content through the trunk icon, and that means restarting the console to access the Bonuses section. I had hoped this would be improved in the sequel.

          GRAPHICS AND SOUND

          I really like the graphics used in this game, the elements of this game are all beautifully drawn and animated, and brought the characters to life. The game controls and input were excellent, and made good use of both DS screens.

          The soundtrack, as with most games got annoying after a while especially the tinkling music when solving the puzzles, but that's what the DS volume control is for. I liked the fact that music score changed in the different locations and situations which really set the ambiance of the game.

          FINAL THOUGHTS

          Overall, I really enjoyed playing this game. Once again there was an engaging storyline which I think is rare for a game, and I could not predict the outcome of the story with plenty of twists and additional mysteries along the way. A gripe for me, is that I felt some of the dialogue was a bit longwinded in places which resulted in what felt like endless tapping to get on with the game.

          I think it does have some replay value as it isn't possible to remember all the answers, and I can play again to increase my Picarats score, but maybe not as much as other games in my collection such as Bookworm which is played at a much faster pace.

          I've awarded a 4 star rating, as I think autosave after each puzzle and easier access to the bonus content could have been implemented given this is a sequel. Other than that, the game is excellent and offers a very solid sequel that's worth buying.

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            06.11.2011 20:31
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            The Professor does it again!

            ===The Story===

            Most of the cast of the first Professor Layton series are back for this second instalment. Professor Layton is a British professor with a penchant for puzzle solving. When he gets a mysterious letter from an old friend about the mysterious Elysian box - also known as Pandora's box - he and his apprentice Luke set off immediately to visit said friend. What they find there will send them on a journey on the legendary Molentary Express, where they will meet some larger than life characters and, of course, solve plenty of puzzles.

            There are a lot of twists and turns in the story, and certainly very little of it is predictable! Unfortunately the final denouement is a little...well...unlikely, to say the least! This does feel a bit disappointing but luckily the rest of the game is good enough to cancel this out!

            The game is recommended for ages 7+. I don't have children but would guess from playing with my cousins that some seven year olds would definitely need occasional help with this, but it would certainly be enjoyable for them.

            ===Gameplay===

            Playing the game is extremely easy. You're basically tapping on anything that you need to interact with, whether it be a person or an item. You also tap an icon at the bottom of the screen to move to a new scene.

            There are over 150 puzzles to solve. Puzzles are usually given to you by people you meet along your journey, or you may have to solve them to get through a door or to find out what you should try to do next.

            The puzzles vary in both content and difficulty. They might involve working out a mathematic problem, moving blocks to make a clear path, or interpreting logical clues. If you are struggling, then there are three hints with each puzzle to help you out. However, in order to access the hints, you have to spend a hint coin. You start the game with ten hint coins, and you have to find more to help you in the quest by tapping on items that could conceal them. They tend to be hidden in things like light fittings, bushes, stones on the ground and signposts - you easily get the hang of where to find them.

            A couple of the puzzles are very frustratingly worded. It's extremely annoying to input your answer, be told it's wrong and have to spend valuable hint coins to finally realise they meant something completely different! Also, each puzzle is worth a certain number of 'picarats'. Once you've made an incorrect guess, the number of picarats that you win from the puzzle is decreased. This doesn't matter a great deal until the end, when you can use your picarats to unlock things like the ability to watch all the video sequences. Also, if you're a perfectionist like me then you'll want to get as close to a perfect score as possible.

            You don't especially need any general knowledge to help you out; it's more like you have to be able to spot connections and use all the clues that are available to you to get the answer. Some of them just involve persevering until you've tried as many different combinations or movements until things click into place! You have unlimited time to solve each puzzle, so occasionally I find putting the game down and coming back with a fresh mind does help.

            In addition to the main game and puzzles, there are some 'side games' that you can work on as and when you please. One involves looking after a hamster, which you need to collect toys for and exercise. Once your hamster has lost some weight, it will sniff out hint coins that you have missed. Unfortunately this isn't incredibly helpful as you can't collect enough items to get the hamster healthy until near the end of the game, when you could already have missed tons of hint coins. Another minigame involves putting parts of a camera together to unlock a spot the difference game, which, when completed, unlocks bonus puzzles. Finally, you get a tea chest and collect different tea ingredients which you can blend together to help people out by cheering them up or curing their cold. Hopefully you will then get something in return! These minigames add interest to the game and are something a bit different to work on if you've got stuck or you want a break from the main game.

            It's worth noting that there are further bonus puzzles that can be downloaded via your DS's Wi-Fi connection, but this isn't the easiest thing to get set up.

            ===Graphics===

            The game is done in a Japanese cartoon type style; the drawings are eccentric but the landscapes are rather pretty. The British countryside is very nicely depicted. To be honest this really isn't the kind of game where you have extremely realistic graphics, but neither do you need them.

            ===Sound===

            The sounds are pretty irritating; I usually play in silent as when characters are speaking during normal game play, there is a really irritating beeping noise. The background music is nice enough and blends in, so you don't especially notice it; it can get a bit repetitive though.

            ===Price===

            Brand new this game was retailing at around £30-£40. It was quite difficult to get hold of because the first game had been such an incredible success! Because it's so successful, it's not gone down by that much - it's still about £25. I'd say go second hand if you can, you'll probably pick it up for between £10 and £15.

            The game logs how many hours of play you put in, and the average I've seen the game completed in is usually 12 to 15 hours - but obviously if you do it in a few long blocks you'd probably get through faster than if you keep dipping in and out. There's plenty of scope for replay, and it is a bit easier the second time round because you can generally remember the mistakes you made last time!

            Because I really enjoy this game I was happy to pay over £30 for this. I consider it good value for money because I enjoy puzzles and I think this is a good quality game with decent longevity. I'd say if you're not familiar with the series or if you haven't tried a puzzle based game before, then pick up a second hand one if you fancy giving it a try.

            ===Conclusion===

            I think this is a great game although it's probably not for everyone. It's very addictive - you find yourself doing 'just one more puzzle' again and again! But at the same time, you do have to enjoy puzzle solving to enjoy the game! The storyline is gripping and the puzzles are varied and keep you thinking. If you enjoyed the first game, this definitely won't disappoint. The characters are pretty likeable - and ladies, watch out for Professor Layton sword fighting. Oh, yes.

            Recommended if you want: a fun game with a good variety of challenging puzzles.

            Not recommended if you: prefer super realistic shoot-me-ups.

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            • More +
              28.03.2011 19:02
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              Really, really fun puzzler that everyone can enjoy.

              I got this game for my birthday last year and had never even heard of, let alone played, a Professor Layton game. I am a big fan of puzzles in general so after reading the back of the box I was looking forward to getting stuck into it.

              On starting the game you are given a selection of different options, the majority of which need to be unlocked by solving puzzles in the game proper. The presentation is bold and colourful and done in an appealing cartoon style.

              Selecting New Game will let you begin the story. The game treats you to a cut scene, one of many in the game, that introduces the main characters and draws you into the story. You will help Professor Layton and his trusty sidekick to solve puzzles and unravel the riddle of Pandora's box.

              The gameplay mostly consists of walking around different areas within the game and speaking to characters who can provide you with information to help you advance in the game. These characters, and others not related to the main story, will ask you to solve puzzles for them.

              The puzzles make up the main body of the game and there are well over a hundred to tackle. The puzzles are graded on difficulty and you get rewarded more for the difficult ones. You can also earn tips that you can use on puzzles to get a clue. There are 3 clues for each puzzle, each one making the puzzle easier to solve.

              There are lots of different types of puzzle with enough variation to stop them becoming repetitive. The game also rewards you for solving them without using hints so there is a good incentive to really test yourself.

              The sound to the game is quite good but nothing particularly exciting and my main gripe would be that the voice acting is quite poor. Well, the acting is probably ok, but the actual voices themselves can be pretty annoying. having said that, the game doesn't lose anything by being played with no sound so it isn't a major issue.

              Once you complete the game there are lots of bonus puzzles to work on and there are hidden extras throughout the game so you won't be completing this too quickly.

              This game has a lot to recommend it to both older kids and adults and is enjoyable for both. This is one of the most enjoyable and challenging games I have played in a long time and I look forward to playing the other games in the series.

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                13.01.2011 20:33
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                A book of puzzles in a game

                The great thing I love about this game is the story telling while completing loads of little puzzles. Pandora's box is made up a a mystery whereby everytime you complete a puzzle you complete a little part of the jigzaw of the story.

                I like the fact there are all sorts of different types of puzzles, the kind you would find in a puzzle book. Some of them are really hard though.

                It is very difficult to continue with the story until a puzzle is completed. I found some of them really hard and spent ages on them until I found that the answers are available on the internet. So if I was stuck on one I would go straight to the internet instead if trying to work out the answer without even trying to complete the puzzle.

                I wanted to complete the puzzle just so I can see the story develop. This took me a long time to complete, probably about three months but I was not playing it every day.

                It is very addictive though.

                Love this game

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                  01.11.2010 12:36
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                  The second addictive puzzle game for the DS

                  Having bought and thoroughly enjoyed the original Professor Layton game it was no surprise that upon the release of this second game last year we would be buying the follow up. Both Jen and myself had been addicted to the original game and with the return of Layton and his apprentice Luke we were looking forward to getting into his latest adventure,

                  The Concept

                  The premise of this sequel follows a pretty similar concept to the first game. You again take on the role of Layton's assistant to help him solve a number of puzzles and unlock the secret's of Pandora's Box. Like the previous game in the series the game is based around this central storyline with a few sub games to keep you occupied, as if the 150 puzzles wasn't going to be enough. Unlike the previous game however the storyline is spread across Europe from a starting point in London you board the Molentary Express to an unknown destination and meet a number of strange characters with even stranger puzzles to answer along the way.

                  The Puzzles

                  Having increased the number of puzzles from the first game it is fair to say that creating 150 different puzzles will have posed a difficult task for the developers Task 5. Once again though they have done a decent job and each of the 150 puzzles is slightly different from both the other puzzles in this game and those in the original. The concept of certain puzzles is similar but the developers have created them in such a way that they are either more involved or more complicated each time they appear.

                  Once again you collect points as you progress through the game and from a continuity point of view this is exactly the same as the original game. The points are awarded based on the difficulty of the puzzle and the number of attempts you take to complete each puzzle. It keeps the best elements from the game play in the first game, which I felt was crucial. Once again this increases the lifespan of the game if you are trying to get the highest score possible.

                  They have once again created a number of puzzles and another engaging storyline that will hook your attention. With the introduction of new locations and a trip across Europe it was always going to be a tricky concept to pull off but I think the developers have done a reasonable job of it.

                  Like the previous game the developers have kept the 3 hints to help you solve the more difficult puzzles. These hint coins are collected using the same method as the first game and are spread through the many different locations within the game. Like the previous game this is a good addition to the game and makes it a little more involved. Obviously you can rush your way through the game, but I think collecting the hint coins, even if you aren't going to use them creates another nice side aspect to the main story.

                  Like the original game the developers have aimed for a reasonable length of game with this second instalment taking me around 15 hours to complete. Another improvement from the original game was certainly the way the story was pieced together. The developers have introduced a few longer sequences and a bit more detail to the story to get the player more involved.

                  Side Lines

                  Once again the developers weren't simply content with the main storyline and have created a couple of sub games to draw you in a little more. Like the mechanical dog in the first game you have a overweight hamster, which along the way you collect toys and fruit for. The idea is to get the hamster fit so he can help you to look for the hint coins.

                  The second sub game is the tea chest, with the idea to make a blend of tea for a selection of characters. Whilst the final game involves building a camera from parts collected through the game and playing 9 games of spot the difference. These again add a little something to the overall experience and I think it's the determination to complete the whole game that makes Professor Layton so addictive.

                  Graphics

                  The development of the graphics in this second game makes it look more impressive than the first. It takes on the look of a Japanese style cartoon once again, but there are an increased number of cut scene's to help tell the story and these look very good. It brings the animated adventure of Layton and Luke to life and I think with the size of the DS screen they are very well designed. Some of the scenes have been developed a little further than the original game and with a good mixture of colour and design it makes the game look very impressive

                  Sounds

                  With the increase in the number of cut scenes there is also an increase in the amount of interaction between the characters. The interaction between characters can seem to be a little too long on this second outing however and I think that detracts a little from the game play. The musical score for the game is incredibly well chosen and really fits each of the scene's well. Like the previous game it is possible to skip past long sections of dialogue, but that will loose the overall effect of the full story.

                  Game Play & Control

                  Once again the game puts the touch screen aspect of the Nintendo DS to good use. The DS stylus controls each puzzle and action in the game. 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 were a little sensitive and wouldn't find items, such as hint coins, when you were looking for them but once again that is a very minor complaint.

                  The only major complaint I have with the second game is echoed from the original Professor Layton game is with the navigation system. It relies largely on you remembering where all locations throughout the game are and with the increased size of the game this is a much bigger problem than with the first game. Once again though it is a very minor problem and one that certainly doesn't detract from the overall quality of the game itself.

                  Conclusion

                  Whilst there are a few elements of the second game that aren't quite as good as the first game there are plenty of improvements too. The graphics look a lot better and the storyline aspect of the games has certainly been developed very well. The puzzles in this second game do seem a little easier, but then I think that is because the concept of the puzzles was revealed in the first game and to create 150 totally new puzzles would have been almost impossible.

                  The game itself is still as addictive as the original and will prove to be another hit with adults and kids alike. Once again the developers have set Professor Layton and Pandora's box aside from other puzzle games by the sheer amount of detail that has gone into the main story and animation. The third adventure with Layton and Luke is released later this week and having played the first two in the series I am really looking forward to it.

                  Platform: Nintendo DS only
                  Age - 7 plus

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                    18.10.2010 21:26
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                    A great game, i can't recommend it enough, i would say its the best game on the DS i have played.

                    This is the sequel to probably the most advertised game on the DS (at least in the UK it is anyway.). And it doesn't disappoint.

                    There is still a shocking amount of puzzles, and they are totally new puzzles, its amazing how the developers think of all these puzzles to put into the game.

                    Just like the old Layton game, there is an involving storyline, something which few DS games have. The amount of cutscenes is lower in this game, but that doesn't really matter, the game flows beautifully.

                    Theres not really anything to complain about, the game is a perfect puzzle game, challenging puzzles, simple puzzles and seemingly impossible puzzles, but all of them are fun to figure out, and im sure you'll give yourself a facepalm when you finally figure some of them out. As i did.

                    I can't recommend this game enough, if you have enough time to figure out the puzzles (takes me around 10-20 minutes to figure out the tough ones) its brilliant. Especially if your into puzzle games. As the game is totally different from the original, its worth buying both of them as each one of them has completely unique puzzles. Other than that however, the games are the same, some characters are in both games, presumably so the developers didn't have to bother designing more characters, Layton Luke and Inspector Chelmey all feature in this game as main characters, and all of them maintain the same graphical representation.

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                    29.09.2010 19:56
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                    A very good game

                    Professor Layton and Pandora's Box is the second game from the popular Professor Layton challenges and again you have to tackle many puzzles in order to find the mystery and solve it as quickly as possible.

                    Your mission is to take Luke your companion and go searching for clues whether at local stores or visit people on the street and gain information from them in regards to the box and see if you can solve the mystery.

                    Whilst tackling this you have to find other items such as camera parts and you to put together a camera and doing this will unlock some other puzzles and actually assist you further on your journey.

                    You have over 150 puzzles and they do begin easily with simple puzzles to get you ready for the more difficult challenges ahead and they do come quick and fast but they are well worth it.

                    The game requires you to be calm and to take things slowly because whether in a tree or along the pavement there could be a hidden puzzle anywhere and sometimes you are going to need to complete them all but some you do in order to advance the storyline further.

                    The game will give you hints on the puzzles you have and the hint coins you find are scattered around the trees and inside lights and many more locations should you find them all and some are hidden very well.

                    When you find a puzzle on the top screen your presented with the information about what you need to do and you find out other information such as what they want as an answer from you, the more pacarats on offer for the puzzle usually results in the puzzle being much more difficult.

                    You get maths in many of them as most do involve numbers but some just a simple guessing format but you need to think carefully as some seem really difficult and yet they are actually extremely easy if you concentrate on the puzzle you have in front of you.

                    You have many people to encounter and some are familiar from the first game in the franchise and some are not but there is so much in terms of language and conversations it tends to drag the game on so fortunately you can save the game whenever you wish and any puzzles you might have missed or never completed you can come back to as well.

                    I would say the graphics are not that bad and sometimes they do have video clips which are good and all the words are easy to see and understand when the game is on and playing as well. The game play is usually pretty good whenever you move around using the map in front of you your character does move around much quicker than you might expect.

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                    13.09.2010 19:22
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                    Awesome Game, Try It!

                    After playing the first of this game series (Professor Layton and The Curious Village), it left me looking forward to this, the second game.
                    Professor Layton games are puzzle and mystery based, but they are certainly not your average puzzle game. The puzzles vary from easy to quite difficult and will give your brain a thorough workout.

                    Many people may make the mistake of thinking this game is simply a bunch of puzzles with a few characters thrown in for kicks but that is far from it.
                    There is a full story to this game, with smaller mysteries to unravel as well as the big mystery which starts the game.
                    You will follow Layton and his apprentice Luke, trying to discover the location and mystery of Pandora's Box and whether it did kill their close friend when he opened it.
                    The story of the game is awesome, I love games who have a proper story to them and this one certainly does. You'll be pulled in by the story itself.

                    There are a lot of puzzles to be solved of all different types, some of vital to progressing in the game, others are there for you to solve as and when you speak to people. The latter if you decide you can't you can leave them until later. Just beware that at a few different points in the game you are required to have a certain amount of puzzles solved in order to progress so solve as many as you can.
                    To aid you in solving puzzles three hints are provided which you can buy with the hint coins, which you earn finding them laying around in scenes (hint - lamps are usually concealing one).

                    You also have a few different challenges to meet was well... you have a tea set for making tea for people - making them possibly give you more information, there is a camera to be built and you will need to exercise the chefs hamster (if you get the hamster to a healthy weight early in the game, he will help you to find hint coins).

                    Solving puzzles also gives you picarats, the more picarats its worth the more difficult it is. Answering wrongly will give you less picarats to play for.
                    Picarats don't serve too much purpose in the game, they allow you to unlock extras from the main menu screen like character profiles - if you're not interested in stuff like this then don't worry too much about how many picarats you have.

                    You can also unlock some extra difficult puzzles by completing certain things within the game.

                    There is also the function to connect to the internet and download a new puzzle every week so the game doesn't become unless even if you have completed the story part of the game.

                    For me this was a great buy, it has a great storyline to keep you interested, puzzles to really make you think and it doesn't become useless when you've completed the main game.
                    The voiced parts are very well done and although curious village was great, I believe this one is better and has a slight anime feel to the ending.
                    For me this game was around 19-20hours game play. But it would depend on how quickly you solve the puzzles of course. You certainly get a good length of play time of out of this game.

                    Awesome game. Highly recommend it.

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                    15.08.2010 14:05
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                    Another great Professor Layton game

                    This is the 2nd game in the wonderful Professor Layton series and hurray I have just found out there is also a third game on its way one to look out for. This game cost me £20 from Amazon and it was worth every penny.

                    For those of you who haven't played these games they are puzzle games which feature different brain teasers, riddles, logic puzzles etc and there is lots of variety so you don't get bored.

                    The storyline for this game is Professor Layton and his handy side kick Luke are trying to discover what or who caused the death of Professor Layton's mentor, Dr. Schrader. The adventure begins after purchasing a ticket and boarding the Molentary Express train. As you walk around the train you will find different people who will help you with your journey if you solve the problem puzzle they have. As with the last Professor Layton game you collect 'hint' coins as you go along your journey these are hidden in plant pots or curtains so press around the screen with your stylus as you play don't just go for the obvious people option. You use the hint coins if you are struggling with a puzzle you can use up to 3 coins per puzzle the answer really becomes clearer on the third clue although sometimes I still struggle to get my head round it and have to put it down take 5 then return and carry on.

                    If you can't complete some puzzles don't worry you can still continue with the game and the puzzles go into a 'shack' which you can visit at a later date. The game has over a 150 puzzles which is great because it can keep you entertained for hours. I have been playing for 6 hours so far so have not completed the whole thing yet will update once I have completed so I can tell you how long it took to complete.

                    I enjoyed this game as much as the last one I like the puzzles some are harder than others but it just makes you more determined to solve them.

                    5 stars another great Professor Layton game can't wait for the next one Professor Layton and the Lost Future release date is 22/10/10.

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                    01.08.2010 20:54
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                    Sequel game to Professor Layton and the Curious Village

                    Professor Layton and I

                    I'll admit to being hesitant the very first time I played Professor Layton and the Curious Village. The idea of playing a computer game which revolves around constant puzzle solving didn't really float my boat too much. However, it was right up my wife's street, so I bought it for her as a present. Needless to say, I gave it a go, too, and the storyline it revolves around, with the titular Professor as a sort of Sherlock Holmes character solving a mystery, added to the enjoyment and I was hooked.

                    So, when the second Layton game came out, with promises of new storylines and newer puzzles, I was quick off the mark with getting it, too. I was curious to see just how different the puzzles were, and whether they'd manage to match the impressive secrets of the Curious Village with explanations of this Pandora's Box conundrum.

                    Gameplay and plot

                    The split screen on the DS starts things off, flicking through the top and bottom screens as the story is introduced. A friend of Professor Layton's lies unconscious in his study, having written him a note about a mysterious box he has come across. Before long, the Professor and his sidekick, Luke, have puzzles to solve and a mystery to unravel. The story takes them on a curious train and to a couple of other locations, which I thought was a nice touch, providing more locations than the first game did.

                    This all gets rather puzzling

                    To develop the story, you have to solve certain puzzles that come up. They could be a variety of various brainteasers, some ridiculously hard, and some quite obviously easy. Here, there is no real difference to the first game, and as with the previous one, I like the fact that the puzzles don't necessarily get harder as the game progresses. There are around 150 puzzles in all, as well as the maps and locations to navigate, so the game can take a long time. As you progress, you can save your time, and it maps out how long you have taken. I finished it in a total of 26 hours or thereabouts.

                    The puzzles are very varied, from ones you have to work out, to ones that require clever wordplay, or reading the question a bit more closely. One thing's for sure, you'll never get bored of them, as there are maths ones where you have to work out people's ages from cryptic clues, mazes to decipher, codes, riddles and the like, and they could pop up anywhere, either from a character in the game, or from a picture on the wall. Thumbs up for the puzzles this time round, although some of them I did recognise, and I'm sure there are some repeats from the first game. To help you with the puzzles, you can pick up hint coins from around the screens, using the stylus the DS comes with. This is how you play the game as well. The directional button isn't actually necessary, as it is all interactive and touch screen related. I found this a very good way of playing the game, much as happened with the first game, too.

                    So how's the story?

                    The plot/story revolves around this mysterious box, and the devastating effect it seems to have on anyone who opens it. The plot does twist and turn a bit, and it's this that is the biggest puzzle of the whole game. If you progress properly through the game, then all will be revealed, but it's kind of fun to try and work out exactly what is going on as the story progresses. The first game also had a bit of a secret twist in the tale, and was very good. I think it would have been hard to create a better plot, and this one does fall short of the first game's clever piece of scriptwriting, but it's still impressive.

                    Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

                    If this weren't enough, the game also comes with some extra games, that are given their own little relevance in the plot. In the first game, you had to assemble a dog, and sort various items in the room that Layton and Luke were staying in. In this game, you need to assemble a camera, and other things such as mix various different herbs you acquire to make different types of tea to refresh the inhabitants of the town you visit. Ultimately, none of this is particularly necessary to completing the game, and there may only be the occasional part of each sideline game that is needed to progress through the actual main game.

                    And so back to the gameplay

                    But the glory of it all is just how much gameplay it involves. The only really difficult thing about it is the puzzles that need solving. The rest is intriguing and fun, but offers no great challenge other than the high entertainment value. It carries an age recommendation of 7 years, and this is probably as there are some perilous and sinister moments, but age is not only relevant with their recommendations. It also has relevance with the level of the puzzles, as some of them are really tricky, and our 6 year old son loses patience quite frequently. He enjoys the game, sure, but for short bursts at a time. He's more interested in Lego Harry Potter on our Wii at the moment anyway!

                    Animation

                    The animation the game uses is also very good. It's aimed at an English speaking market, but has a very distinctive Japanese anime style. This is evident in the characterisation, the way they interact, laugh and move. However, this doesn't detract from enjoyment in anyway. It adds to it, if anything, and the way the characters are presented throughout the double screens and with the touch screen flows very smoothly and with great difference between them. Well designed characters and presented story indeed. There are some story sequences dotted throughout the game, with suspenseful music and the occasional lighter mooded music accompanying it. The sequences are cartoons and with fully moving animation, which is a nice touch, too.

                    Wrapping things up

                    Overall, then, this is a sequel that I highly recommend. Fun gameplay and very well designed puzzles that vary in difference as the game progresses make for getting you hooked on playing, while the actual story is decent enough. The fact that it isn't quite as good a story as the first game does play on my mind a bit, and I couldn't help think that I did actually prefer the first game, but both are highly recommended. There are moments in the second game where the story in the first is mentioned, but this does not mean that having played the first one is necessary to play or even enjoy this second one - both are very enjoyable, and can provide you with hours and hours of puzzle solving fun. Recommended.

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                      16.07.2010 12:23
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                      A great game for puzzle fans. Lots of hours of fun.

                      If you enjoy sloving puzzles, and the adventure genre then this is a game for you.

                      I absoluetly love this game as it is just me playing solving puzzles there is no fighting, battles etc.

                      Pandoras box is a follow on from the 1st professor Layton game 'The curious Village'.

                      It is a game that concentrates on Professor Layton and his nephew. They travel around different villages on a train and have to solve a crime. In solving the crime there are a great deal of smaller puzzles to solve.

                      These include riddles, maths questions, picture puzzles etc. There is a puzzle genre for everyone.

                      The puzzles are by no means easy, and i think that the only criticism of this game is that some of the puzzles are too difficult to solve.

                      You get many hours of game play so get good value for your money.

                      It is easy to navigate around the game and the instructions are very clear.I dont think that this game would be suitable for someone under 8 because of the complexity of some of the puzzles.

                      The graphics are good , and are set in a cartoon like theme, with a story that runs constantly through the game.

                      If you cant solve a puzzle straught away you can come back to it later, which is good with some of those irritating puzzles.

                      Professor Layton is an incredibly well thought uot game with great puzzles and a good storyline. It would make a great gift for someone else or as a treat to yourself.

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                        10.06.2010 14:37
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                        Fantastic, as good as the first - when is the next one?

                        Professor Layton is back and brilliant once again. I loved the first game and found this one just as juicy and mind bending. Everything about this game is fantastic and something that you can do as a couple or even in a group. My husband was hooked and was 'helping' me as I was completing it. I must admit I finished this game a lot quicker than I finished the first one, but I'm not sure if it was because I found this one easier or because the second time around I had more of an idea of what I had to do! Either way the game is great entertainment and really gets the brain juices going without you really thinking that you are doing the difficult tasks which are set out.
                        Although the game is set for children as well there are some parts which I did struggle with at first and unless you are planning to complete the game with your child I would think twice before buying it for a smaller child, although over 10 years old would be great. My 10 year-old nephew tried it, but he has little patience and when he couldn't do a section he just said it was rubbish and gave up. Consider this before buying it for a child if you know they are not puzzle minded. Overall though a great product, especially for puzzle-minded grown ups, 'buy' it for your child and when they don't like it, it's all yours!!!

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                          02.06.2010 00:27
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                          A good game to give hours of puzzles solving.

                          Ok this is my first game review so here goes.
                          Having received a ds for Christmas 2008 I played and played it then the novelty wore off, I'd played the games and completed most of them and the rest were repetitive.
                          My son has now discovered by ds and likes to play some of the games. I took him to get him a proper child's game at the weekend and also got myself Professor Layton's Pandora's box game. I had played the previous Professor layton and enjoyed it so couldn't wait to get home and start playing it. The problem I had was I had to wait for my son to hand over the ds when he went to bed.


                          The basis of this game is that Professor Layton and his young assistant Luke are on a mission to find the Elysian box, otherwise known as Pandora's box. They begin the journey when they find a train ticket at the murder scene of the man that did have the Pandora's box but it had vanished. Myth has it that the person that opens the box will die.
                          Inspector Chelmey is also searching for the box, He is a mean looking character.

                          The beginning sounds a bit nasty but from then on the puzzles and mysteries start. From trying to solve one mystery then stubble on another and then another so they are trying to solve many mysteries to solve the main box mystery.

                          You use the stylus pen to guide the pair around from the train to the towns they will visit. On the top of screen there will be instructions as to where you should be heading for more clues or puzzles.

                          With over 150 games this game will last quite a while. I've been constantly playing it and am nearly half way through. I don't know the age range for this game but it is sure an adults game. I can honestly say I am completely stuck on some of the puzzles. Some I do quick others take a while before I work out or see the answer but some really are not easy.
                          As you travel around you can collect hint coins, These can be used to get hints on the puzzles you get stuck on. And yes after using the full 3 hints allowed I'm still stuck on some puzzles. Some are mind puzzles whilst others are visual, a range of many different skills are used to solve them.

                          Each part of the game is set into chapters. When you leave a chapter the puzzles that you did not find or complete will be sent to Granny Riddletons shack so you can do them at a later time. Like when you've found a cheat website for the answers which I'm sure there must be and will head there as a last result lol.

                          Whilst travelling around you can enter inside buildings or carriages on the train to find clues or puzzles and sometimes more evidence.

                          I like the animations on the game and the voices that they put with it too.
                          I find I get really into this game and find it hard t put down, Which does explain my lack of sleep due to playing a few hours before going to sleep the last few nights.
                          The way they put a puzzle into a puzzle into another puzzle is clever. You are always aware the main aim is to find the box. The current stage I'm at in the game is finding 15 pieces of photo to put back together to get another clue.
                          I won't say too much about different parts as you will find your own way around when you play.

                          As well as the main game you are playing they also put some mini games in as well.
                          It is easy to find your way around and when you start the game it is explained well how to find areas and items.

                          Something important you should know is that you must save the game before you turn off else it will resume at the previously saved place.

                          This game is available on Amazon at £14.99.
                          I purchased mine in Cex store at the same price for a used copy.

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