DS: Professor Layton and the Curious Village
Published by Nintendo
Developed by Level 5
Rated E for Everyone
There are some gamers out there with whom puzzles are great because they are just puzzle games. And there are other gamers out there who love a great storyline to get them through to the end. Professor Layton and the Curious Village marry those two ideas together and it works out well. The puzzles are thrown in throughout the game and the story drives you to want to find all the answers you can. Because these two items mingle so well with each other in this game, you’ll find yourself trying to get to the end of the game to find out what is so curious about this village and why you were asked to come.
You begin the game going between two characters; Professor Layton and his sidekick Luke. You’ve been summoned to St. Mystere to make sense of a strange will that was left and to search for a “Golden Apple” but in the midst of figuring out that mystery, you’ll dive into several other ones. Some mysteries you’ll figure out before the conclusion, others will keep you guessing until the end.
In order to solve these mysteries you’ll have to travel around the village and speak to the people who live there. Some will talk easily but others will not. In order to win the hearts of these people you’ll have to solve puzzle after puzzle. Everyone you meet will have a puzzle to solve, some more than others. With over 120 puzzles in the game, you’ll have to click on everything; not just the people who live in the village, as there are hidden puzzles for you to find.
The puzzles themselves range from easy to complex. Don’t let this game fool you because it’s rated E for Everyone. Yes…some puzzles are so easy you could do them with your eyes closed but others are pretty complex and you’ll find yourself thinking outside the box. But fear not, if you get stuck on a puzzle you can use up to 3 hints. Each hint costs you a “hint coin” and you can earn these by searching the village. All these puzzles are without time limits and if you get frustrated with one you can always quit and try again at a later point in time. There are a couple of puzzles that if you don’t get to it before moving on in the storyline, you may not be able to get back to it.
Once you solve a puzzle you can earn collectibles. You can earn items for the Professor and Luke’s hotel room, “gizmos” for a contraption, and scraps from a painting. There are certain thresholds you’ll need to meet in order to move on in the game so look for all the puzzles you can while still following along the storyline.
The graphics in this game are pretty good. They switch between 2D and moving cut-scenes. The cut-scenes are full motion mini-videos that are scattered throughout the game and are nicely done. 2D scenes are what you get for most of the game. You’ll move yourself around the village by way of a map and tapping on a shoe in the lower right-hand corner and then choosing a direction you want to travel.
The Audio is well done in some regards and annoying in others. The music starts to get repetitive and when it does…it also gets annoying. I found that I turned the sound down for most of the game so I wouldn’t have to listen to it. I did turn the volume up during the cut-scenes because it’s during these mini-videos that you also get to hear the characters speak. During the rest of the game sound effects are present, no voices to be heard, and it’s “alright” overall.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village marries the ideas of storyline and puzzle games together to make for a fun game that will push you to completing the game. The story is entertaining, the characters unique, and the puzzle games keep you on your toes. It’s a pretty good educational experience as it will make you exercise your brain. Don’t let the ESRB trick you into thinking this is a childish game. It’s a must play for puzzle lovers. But if puzzles aren’t for you, don’t bother picking this game up because most of what you do is encounter them. Will you find out the mystery behind the Curious Village?