Review of Professor Layton and the Curious Village for Nintendo DS
Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a puzzle-based adventure and mystery game for the Nintendo DS. It will run on the Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi and the NIntendo 3DS (in two dimensions). The game itself includes excellent voice acting, clever characters, and a strong storyline that you're sure to enjoy (particularly if you like mysteries). The game is easy to play and fun to work through. It will offer challenges even on a second play-through for those who didn't complete the game in its entirety the first time around, and it provides unique opportunities for post-completion play through Layton's reward puzzles (offered for completing certain goals).
All in all, Professor Layton and the Curious Village comes highly recommended from this player!
Who is Professor Layton?
Professor Layton is the intelligent and witty puzzle-loving archaeologist who is the hero of the Professor Layton series of games for the Nintendo DS and 3DS. He has a sense of adventure and a problem-solving capacity that makes him a natural at participating in the investigation of the mysteries that are occurring in St. Mystere, and he can make his way through any puzzle thrown in his direction!
Along with his apprentice, Luke (pictured in the image above), Professor Layton is the hero who must solve the puzzle of the people of St. Mystere and find the golden apple so that he can resolve the mystery he came to the town to solve.
The Official Trailer for Professor Layton and the Curious Village
The Mystery of St. Mystere
The story of Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a simple mystery in nine chapters. The story starts when Professor Layton and his apprentice, Luke, are summoned to Reinhold Manor by the Lady Dahlia. Everyone in town has been searching for the legacy of her late husband, the Baron Reinhold. The Golden Apple remains undiscovered and the people of the town are looking to Professor Layton and Luke to find it and set the minds of the villagers at ease.
In the quest for the Golden Apple Layton must face a murder investigation and the curiosity of the villagers themselves. There is something very strange in St. Mystere, and Professor Layton can only discover what it is if he unlocks the puzzles that the villagers and the village itself continue to throw at him!
Professor Layton and the Curious Village is the first of a new genre of video games. It originated in Japan and has become popular in several different countries. The game is played on the Nintendo DS, DSi or 3DS.
The game combines elements of problem-solving adventure games with puzzle. Puzzle lovers will love Professor Layton for the challenges that he faces through the different riddles and problems that he's given by the people he meets in St. Mystere, and lovers of the adventure genre will enjoy this excellent new twist and the exciting story that Professor Layton brings with him.
Players will use their stylus to move Professor Layton and Luke through the village of St. Mystere, meeting new characters along the way and uncovering new hidden puzzles and "hint coins." Each puzzle comes with three hints (which must be purchased with "hint coins") that are designed to help the solver get closer to a resolution to the problem they are trying to solve. Puzzles are difficulty-rated with picarats, a score from 10-90 meant to tell you how difficult the puzzle is going to be. Puzzles do not get progressively harder (until the end).
There are 135 puzzles in Professor Layton and the Curious Village (not including bonus puzzles earned through playing). Each of these puzzles must be completed in order to complete the story of St. Mystere. If you're stumped on a puzzle, you can either use a Professor Layton and the Curious Village Walkthrough to get you through the problem, or you can skip it and come back to it by going to Granny Riddleton's Puzzle Shack.
The puzzles are difficulty-rated on a system of "Picarats." The ratings range (in ten-Picarat increments) from 10-90, with 10 being the "easiest" of the puzzles and 90 being the most difficult of the puzzles.
You will have the opportunity to solve anything from the optical illusion to the left, to logic problems, math problems and slider puzzles. Some puzzles take time to figure out (but you'll get it eventually!) others require skill (like the math problems) and some are simply tricky wording designed to trip you up.
In addition, there is a jigsaw puzzle (of sorts) and a guessing puzzle that come about as the result of game rewards, and additional puzzles that the gamer receives as a result of having completed certain tasks in the game.
Which type of game is your favorite?
Comparison of Pros and Cons
Faulting Rating System
Hints Not Helpful
Great Voice Talent
Rushed Storyline (Ending)
Personal Review of Professor Layton and the Curious Village
First of all, let me say that I loved this game. I've been playing video games of various types (but mostly PC) for about twenty years now, and it's very rare that I come across a game that makes me as happy as Professor Layton and the Curious Village made me. The game itself absolutely delighted me, and apart from those moments when I felt like I was going to lose my mind due to the fact that a puzzle had me totally stumped (but hey, that's what walkthroughs are for, right?), this game satisfied me on so many levels.
It's not perfect, however.
The first problem that I had was that the rating system is faulty. While I understand what the developers were trying to do in using a rating system, it's static, and doesn't take into consideration the fact that different people have different talents and skill sets. I'm particularly good at logic problems, do fairly well with spacial puzzles, and am generally terrible at math puzzles. A low-rated math problem is harder for me than a high-rated logic problem as a result. I found that it was easier to simply ignore the rating system and pay attention to the puzzles. I was happier that way.
The second problem that I had was that the hints often did nothing more than repeat the problem. This is a common complaint from people who have reviewed the game. The first hint often simply repeats what the puzzle itself already told you, and is therefore a total waste of a hint coin (which must be found in the world). This presented me with a minor problem for the most part, since those puzzles that included hints that did nothing but repeat the puzzle were generally easy for me. Others may have a harder problem with this.
I also felt that the story was too rushed. The first half of the story was great, but as it went on, the story became very rushed. It seemed at some point that there was a mad dash to get to the finish line that I found jarring. Most of the mysteries throughout the story were wrapped up very quickly instead of the writers taking the time to work through them.
There were several very good things about this game, however. Because of how very much the good outweighed the bad, I've given this game an overall star rating of 4 (5 on Amazon since I'm not comfortable bringing down the star rating on an item when I don't absolutely have to!).
I loved the voice talent in this game. The animated scenes, including the voice talent, were absolutely incredible and very much worth watching. They were just incredibly terrific. This in particular really impressed me (and has impressed reviewers on Amazon as well). I've never played a game that had anything quite like this and I really enjoyed it.
The storyline was another part of this game that I really appreciated. While it was rushed toward the end, I really do enjoy a good mystery, and not only did it keep me guessing, but it gave me a reason to keep playing in order to find out what happened next. Professor Layton and the Curious Village was something like playing through a puzzle game and reading a mystery story all at the same time. That was pretty cool!
The game challenged me and that's something that I always look for in a game. I don't want them to be too short (this one took me three days to play all the way through, and I didn't get all the hint coins or the mini-games covered, either).
All in all, I think that Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a wonderful game. It receives 4 and a half stars on Amazon (average 4.6) and both one star ratings were given for what I would consider to be bogus reasons. On the overall merits of the game, it solidly deserves those 4 and a half stars with a few points off for things like the screwy rating system and the fact that it would be nice if the puzzles got harder more gradually than they did.
If you like puzzles, you'll probably enjoy the Professor Layton Games. I've included a list of the five games for purchase on Amazon so that you can purchase them if you would like to play through the entire series, but please make yourself aware that the final game in the series is only available for the Nintendo 3DS. If you don't already own a DS or if you are considering an upgrade, this is a good example of why you should be playing on the Nintendo 3DS, which will run games for the DS, the DSi and the 3DS.
The four games at right are listed in order. Professor Layton and the Curious Village is the first game in the series of five, and if you want to work your way through in order, you should start with the one which has been reviewed above!
Discover More Professor Layton and the Curious Village
- Professor Layton and the Curious Village Official Site
There's a lot to do on the official Professor Layton and the Curious Village site. Nintendo has done a beautiful job of really showing you what the game is all about and giving you examples, as well as providing a sample for you to download and play.
- Professor Layton and the Curious Village Walkthough
This is the walkthrough that I used to help me through some of the puzzles that I simply could not solve. This is a very good walkthrough and it includes links to walkthroughs for the other four games in the series as well as a preview of Game 6.