Professor Layton Games by Level-5 (video game review)

Posted: November 25, 2012 in LIBR 264 - Materials for Tweens

Genre: Adventure
Subjects: Puzzles, Mystery, Adventure, Detective, Work
Developer: Level-5
Interest: Everyone (Mild Violence)
IGN Game Rating: 8-9/10
Professor Layton:
1 – Curious Village (2008)
2 – The Diabolical Box (2009)
3 – The Unwound Future (2010)
4 – The Last Specter (2011)
5 – The Miracle Mask (2012)
6 – 2013 (final game)

“No puzzle is without an answer” – Professor Layton

Though each Professor Layton video game is titled as either a sequel, prequel, or prequel’s sequel, each game can be played as a stand-alone since the opening video clips tells the backstory (excluding Last Specter) filling in any missing information beside the satisfaction of completing the previous games puzzles. The Professor Layton games are center around two main characters, Professor Hershel Layton, a well-mannered gentleman and famous archeologist, and his apprentice, the curious and cheerful boy, Luke Triton. The professor travels to various locations in contemporary London to solve bizarre mysteries.

Solving puzzles is the idea behind the adventure’s story-line mystery in each video game in the Professor Layton series. These games are rated “E” for everyone, but the puzzles which can range from easy to quite challenging  which may discourage and halt gameplay with very young players. The need to make use of the DS keypad, write/draw with the stylus, problem-solving, and reading text is much more targeted to upper elementary/middle school gamers (tweens) and gaming enthusiasts/puzzle lovers young and old that love challenges, great storylines, beautiful graphics, charming music, feature-films, and voice over conversation in addition to text requiring reading.

Puzzles are all accompanied with hints that can be obtained through purchasing with coins found hidden in the game’s setting or by conversation with other story characters such as shop keepers. Unlike some video games in which reading text can quickly be skipped and the overall game-play isn’t greatly affected, hints provided by NPC’s (non-player combatants) requires taking the time to read and absorb the hints for approximately 50% or more of the puzzles. Professor Layton video games have on average a minimum of 12 hours game play which includes 100+ puzzles. Each games in the Professor Layton series also offers supplemental material such as the option to redo puzzles or solving puzzles that were skipped and weren’t a necessity to continue gameplay, mini-games, RPG (role-playing game) options (Last Specter, Miracle Mask), and online downloads of newer puzzles from Nintendo’s game network. The first four Professor Layton video games are compatible with the DS Lite and newer DS systems, and the most recent game; The Miracle Mask, is only available for the 3DS.

The Professor Layton video games are far more engaging and enjoyable than any other Nintendo DS puzzling games such as Big Brain Academy or Brain Age. The gameplay, plot strength, inventiveness, and overall aesthetics may appeal to those fans of either the popular Ace Attorney games by Capcom or even the Scribblenauts games by 5th Cell.





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