Home / Gaming ↓ / Nintendo DS / Professor Layton Impressions (DS)


layton-boxart.jpgWhere Cherry was hypnotized by a mere e-mail, prompting her to research like a mad-woman, Professor Layton and the Curious Village has me in a trance as well. Five puzzles in to the 2D adventure and I am losing my mind, figuratively and literally.

The Studio Ghibli visual style blends with a Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas influence absolutely perfectly. There are few visual combinations that could outshine this one. I’m crazy for it, and the difficult puzzles have me pulling my hair out. I’m losing it, and I love it.

But the visuals aren’t the star of Layton. In the 90 minutes I was able to spend with it up until now, the game has presented a number of things that have absolutely floored me. Even reading our own preview didn’t peak my interest, but after playing 20 or more puzzles, Layton is one of the greatest games on the DS. While it tries to have a story, and so far it works well enough, the stars of the game are the puzzles.

Each individual brain-teaser is unique, and bears no resemblance or pattern to any previous problem. Familiar grade-school problem solving, mathematics, differentiation and mind-boggling time consumers are only a few examples of the first batch of mini-games we’ve seen.


Probably the best puzzle yet… Serious fun.

And that’s really what Layton is. It’s a bunch of Brain Ageesque mini-games stuck in between boxes of text. What this title does right, though, is making you feel like a damned genius. The solving of the simplest puzzles will have you applying for Havard in your high. What really makes you feel good though, are the big puzzles. Earning a mysterious form of funny money (Picarats, of which the worth decreases as you fail) for every puzzle, Professor Layton and his apprentice Luke will put up with puzzles worth 10 or 20 mystery-dollars for a short while until the 50 pointers start coming along.

The first puzzle that stumped me had my kitchen table littered with notes, pens and two digital clocks as I began to decipher how many times three numbers came one after another in a day. 2:22, 3:33 etc… No, I’m not giving you a hint. It’ll just feel that much more gratifying when you nail the number down yourself. Even if you need to spend coins to get hints, you’ll feel great as you solve each mind-stumper and learn more about the incredible cast of quirky villagers.


Β Try and solve this one – It’s simple.

Straight up: Professor Layton is awesome. It’s feeding my nerd fantasy of a detective story in tandem with puzzles. While I’m still confused as to why everyone and their cat (seriously) has a puzzle for Luke and Layton to solve, but I’m not complaining. There are at least 120 puzzles in the village alone, and considering its limited size, I think the game has a lot in store for gamers, and I mean outside of the 100 + puzzles and weekly downloadable content.

Check out Professor Layton and the Curious Village February 12th, or you can find it in in a couple of sneaky street breakin’ retailers today.


About the author: Mitchell Dyer


Mitchell Dyer is an Alberta, Canada-based Reviews and Previews Editor for Nukoda.com, as well as a freelance videogame word typer with Official Xbox Magazine and OXMOnline.com where he writes reviews, features and more nonsense.


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  1. Now that you’ve had more time to play the game, does your opinion of the story and puzzles hold up? It seems a lot of good games start out great but become repetitive midway through…

    Oh, and any word on a possible article about my petition for Assassin’s Creed on the PSP? Back in early Jan. Lloyd said he would try to get one of the editors to write a small article about it…any luck with that? He agreed that it couldn’t hurt to post about it.

  2. The story is actually pretty cool. I thought, initially, “A story, whatever, it’s text wrapped around brain-teasers”, but it’s actually a murder mystery. I’m about 6 hours in now and I’m stopping to do EVERY puzzle, looking for coins and other goodies like painting pieces or garbage trinkets just to complete my collection.

    I’m addicted.

  3. I haven’t had a chance to play, but my first question is how is the save system? And secondly, is the game easy to play in short bursts?

  4. I wish I hadn’t given up shopping for Lent! I haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet and I’m dying! There are ways around giving up shopping, I’ll figure something out, and I am REALLY glad to hear that it stood up to all the hype, including my own, lol πŸ™‚

  5. I am rearing up on puzzle #50 (which is story related – as far as I can tell the puzzles up in the hundreds are bonuses) and am still loving it. Some of the latter puzzles are difficult as a result of deliberately awful wording and I’m further delving in to insanity.

    Oh well. It’s fun.

  6. Got it, played it, LOVE IT! I think when I saved last night I had four or five hours of playtime on it and I only put it down because I was nodding off. I can’t wait to get out of work so I can play more!

  7. My mother bought her own copy. In 24 hours, she has surpassed me in to chapter 4.

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