Status: 1 playthrough complete
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Reviewed for GamingAngels – Aug 27, 2009
Repost of review:
Hershel Layton and his young assistant Luke return this fall as they investigate the murder of the professor’s mentor and the disappearance of a cursed box the scholar had been in possession of. A train ticket leads them to hop aboard the Molentary Express, where they travel along the rails, investigating the passengers as well as exploring the towns they pass through.
Several interesting characters join the ride, providing some wonderful mystery and humor: Molentary Express’ owner Mr. Beluga, the outrageous Babette and her little Tom, and rocker train conductor Sammy Thunder, to name a few. Some friendly faces from the first game also make appearances (but will not be revealed as it could ruin the story for some of you.)
As well as enjoying the train ride, you will also visit countryside towns such as Dropstone and Folsense, towns which are linked by some unknown past. The addition of adding the different locations to visit is a wonderful touch, as there is so much more opportunity to show off the power of the DS and it’s ability to hold all this information on a single cartridge.
Treating us to over 150 puzzles, with more to come via downloadable content (new puzzles to be released each week), the search to retrieve the Elysian Box (the Diabolical Box) provides similar puzzles and more advanced puzzles than our first experience with Professor Layton. There is everything from math to word to map puzzles and a whole bunch of other brainteasers, some of them becoming harder each time you talk to the puzzle’s “owner”. Just as in the Curious Village, you are going to find that everyone and almost everything has a puzzle for you to master. And don’t worry if you missed a puzzle here and there. Granny’s Puzzle Shack is back, as she sets up shop conveniently along your path. Hint coins are also scattered about, hiding in lampposts, garbages, and other such spots.
New mini-games are also included: creating new teas with your Tea Set, snapping pictures with your Camera, and taking care of an overweight Hamster (I named mine Mochi). By sharing teas with people you can get more information and clues to help you figure out who has the Box. Using your camera once you have restored it to working order unlocks hidden puzzles. Look for the camera icon underneath the Professor’s Trunk icon to see if there is a hidden puzzle on the screen somewhere.
Professor Layton proved with The Curious Village that the DS is a powerful little machine, providing high quality full motion videos and top notch audio, including wonderful voice-over work. The sequel offers even more in the voice and FMV department, which makes me wonder why other developers can’t seem to pull this off. Instead of only giving us voice work during cutscenes, we also are blessed with audio during text screens. I cannot help but get a huge smile on my face whenever I have the opportunity to listen to the wonderful voice over work. By far, it is some of the best work in a video game I have ever heard, across all platforms. The game’s musical score is also terrific. Each song is completely fitting to the backdrop or scene it is tied to.
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box is a wonderful journey with a well construed storyline that is easy enough to follow and allows the player to truly become a detective in her/his own right. Come to your own conclusions and see if Layton and Luke can confirm your predictions yet again.
If you haven’t played the original Professor Layton title, I strongly recommend that you do so before playing Diabolical Box. It doesn’t really affect the story much if you haven’t, but there is crossover between the games that is more enjoyable if you have finished the first. You can check out my Professor Layton & the Curious Village review here.
My total play time: 16hr 30min Total Puzzles Solved: 122 puzzles Total Picarats: 3478 Picarats