Professor Layton and his young assistant Luke travel to the mysterious village of St. Mystere, at the behest of Lady Dahlia. The last will and testament of her late husband, Baron Reinhold, mentions that whomever can solve the puzzle of the Golden Apple will inherit his fortunes. Investigating this matter requires that Layton and Luke solve the various puzzles the villagers of St. Mystere are fond of.
The game is broken into chapters, each one revolving around mysterious happens which present themselves to Layton and Luke as they try to discover of the secrets of St. Mystere. As with most DS titles, you are going to be using your stylus in order to play this game. Your two main screen icons are the Professor’s Trunk, where you will find your Journal, save option as well as others you will unlock, and the Shoe icon. Tapping the Shoe will allow you to move from screen to screen by tapping the yellow arrow buttons or the hand icons which allow you to enter certain buildings. Also hidden within each area are Hint Coins. You will want to collect these in case you get stumped on certain puzzles and need some help. Each puzzle allows you to unlock up to three hints, should you need them.
Puzzles are what drives the gameplay of Professor Layton, and there are over 120 puzzles in the game alone for you to discover. These vary from simple math problems to sliding blocks, brain teasers, hidden images and the like. Nintendo also offers downloadable puzzles to expand your database and test your knowledge. Finding other hidden items like Art Scraps and Gizmos will unlock new bonus areas for you to explore.
Professor Layton has some of the best graphics and sound that I have seen in a DS game to date. The backgrounds for each screen/location are very well detailed. The village is drawn so well that the character of it oozes off the screen, reminding you of those quaint European villages and towns you see in pictures. The animations during the dialogue screens are vibrant, and I love the silly facial expressions that sometimes appear. Layton is always calm, holding his chin thoughtfully, while Luke will get wide eyed and anxious.
I was most impressed with how well the voice overs come through on the DS. Layton, Luke and the other characters who are voiced during the few CG scenes were done wonderfully, and they come through so clearly. This really showed me that the DS really has the capability to do some amazing things. And having those brief moments with voice over helped bring more life to the characters. You could “hear” them talking in your head as you read the dialogue throughout the rest of the game.
Fun Factor/Replay Value:
This game has wonderfully witty and charming dialogue between Layton, Luke and the villagers. Even some of the names of the people living in St. Mystere are delightfully funny. It’s hard not to fall in love with or hate some of the characters in the game. And if you missed a puzzle, don’t fret! It’s probably been sent to the shack by the Clock Tower for you to solve at a later date. You can even choose to try a puzzle that you have gotten right previously to see if you can user fewer moves, etc.
St. Mystere has some very interesting (and important) female characters inhabiting it. The Lady Dahlia, Beatrice the Inn Keeper, and Claudia the snobby cat, to name a few. This game appeals to both male and female players simply because the puzzles and story are so compelling.
I loved this game! While it did get put aside for a while, I managed to power through the last half of the game within the last few days. Some of the puzzles reminded me of ones from my childhood. Others really tested my brain. I am anxiously awaiting the second installment. I really want to know what is behind that hidden door in the bonus section, and I can’t discover what it is until I get the clue from the next game!!
(Reviewed for GamingAngels – Jun 19, 2009 using the old format for reviews which changed in Summer 2009)