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Yes, He Has A Top Hat. No, He's Not Fred Astaire

Reviewing: Level 5, Nintendo Professor Layton And The Curious Village  |  Rating:
By dandelion on
Badge: Author | Level: 1 | Gaming Expertise:
Image for Yes, he has a top hat. No, he's not Fred Astaire

Professor Layton and the Curious Village is certainly a unique game. Much like Phoenix Wright, it is a point-and-click adventure and a nice, relaxing depart from the usual. You progress through the game by solving puzzles, which sounds rather dull but is surprisingly fun in practice. Being a huge fan of platform jumpers and RPGs, I was at first reluctant to give it a try, but was definitely not disappointed once I did.


The game's graphics borrow a little from Japanese anime and American cartoons. There are a number of cutscenes; watching these is almost like watching a scene from a Miyazaki film. During actual gameplay, you'll be wandering around a number of still backgrounds which are very nicely painted and suited to the game's style. The puzzle art is also fun to look at.


The music is pleasant and fits the 19th-century feel the game has, although I wouldn't have minded a little more variety from area to area. There is voice acting during certain cutscenes, which is really well-done and heightens your enjoyment of the scenes that much.


The puzzles of Professor Layton and the Curious Village are unlocked by speaking to various people-about-town (linear puzzles) and looking in nooks and crannies and strange objects (hidden puzzles). All give you a number of picarats (currency) based on their difficulty level. Some are deceptively simple, and you might miss the answer by overthinking everything, whereas others are genuinely difficult and challenging to solve. 200 Hint coins are hidden throughout the town, and using these on difficult puzzles (you can unlock 3 hints per puzzle) will help you out from time to time. The balance between gameplay and story is excellent; the puzzles blend right in and don't feel gimmicky at all and you can still enjoy the adventure aspect of the game.


One area where PL really shines. You begin the game learning that there has been some confusion over the inheritance of the late Baron Reinhalt's money--in his will, he states that whoever finds the "Golden Apple", perhaps a family heirloom, perhaps a precious jewel, will get every last coin of it. Professor Layton and his trusty (but overenthusiastic) apprentice Luke have been invited by Lady Dahlia to solve the mystery of the Golden Apple, but along the way, multiple smaller mysteries will come up in Prof. Layton's investigation.

The game's protagonists, Professor Layton and Luke, are utterly charming (although Luke's voice can be a little grating at times). There are many other characters inhabiting the village, all with distinct personalities (you'll undoubtedly have favorites and least favorites.)