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Professor Layton and the Curious Village
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Console: Nintendo DS
Region:U
Year: 2008
RFG ID #: U-087-S-04360-A
Part #: NTR-A5FE-USA
UPC: 045496739270 (00000)
Developer: Level-5
Publisher: Nintendo
Rating:
E (ESRB): Mild Violence

Genre: Adventure
Sub-genre: Puzzle
Players: 1
Controller: System Controls + Stylus
Media Format: DS Card x1
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Collection Stats:

  • 257 of 7479 collectors (3.4%) have this game in their collection
  • 12 of 7479 collectors (0.1%) have this game in their wishlist.
  • 2 of 7479 collectors (0%) have this game for sale or trade.
Review:

Professor Layton and the Curious Village, developed by Level-5 (Dragon Quest 8 and 9, Rogue Galaxy, and Dark Cloud) and published by Nintendo, is a point and click adventure along the same lines as Phoenix Wright, Hotel Dusk, Touch Detective, and many others on the DS, but it's unlike any of them. The best way I can describe the game is Brain Age on crack with a storyline. The puzzles in this game are some of the most difficult I've ever encountered in any puzzle games and totally make this game worth getting, but there is a whole lot more to this game than just the puzzles.

However allow me to explain the puzzles in this game for a moment, because they are pretty special. The main reason this game exists is because of Level-5 President Akihiro Hino's love of Head Gymnastics, a long-running Japanese series of puzzle books. Hino wanted to turn these puzzles into a video game, so he got in touch with Akira Tigo, the 82-year old author of the series and professor at Chiba University in Japan. Together, they teamed up to create more than 30 new puzzles specifically for the game, and Professor Tago allowed the team at Level-5 to use any of his 2,000 puzzles in the game. Now, Level-5 could have just released a puzzle compilation like Professor Ryuta Kawashima and Nintendo's popular Brain Age series, but they decided to take it a step further and add a story on top of it because, in Hino's words, "Prof. Tago is one of the originators of the genre, we didn’t want to be buried amongst many other similar games." Great decision, great decision. And one that caused Japanese gamers to buy it in droves. Now, Nintendo has made the decision to bring the first game in the trilogy over to the United States.

The story is about a world renowned professor, Archeologist, and puzzle aficionado named Layton and his young apprentice, Luke. The pair is summoned to St. Mystere by the family of the recently deceased village billionaire, Baron Augustus Reinhold, who has left his whole estate to whomever can find the Golden Apple he has hidden somewhere in the village. In addition to the mystery of just where this Golden Apple is located, the townspeople are fond of puzzles and challenge each other with them. That is how most of the game's puzzles are found, by talking to citizens who talk to you and give you information about what they know...and puzzles.

I know that sounds like a minigame compilation with a story, but the thing is that Professor Layton is so much more than that. Almost every aspect of this game is a puzzle, from the various mysteries you'll have to investigate, to the collecting of painting pieces, and even decorating your hotel rooms, this game is just filled to the brim with all sorts of puzzles. As I've stated, the puzzles in this game can be very difficult at times. For example, there are typical pattern matching puzzles, but then there are ones that ask you "What is necessary for human life, appears in almost every house you've visited, and decreases in amount the longer it's around? Oh, and express your answer by moving one matchstick in a series of matches that we have laid out for you." The latter type of puzzles, while very clever and challenging, tend to stump me easily and impede my progress in the game. Damn you Level-5!

The game also is a technical masterpiece, which is surprising considering just what kind of game it is. There are many sequences of fully animated video, the cutscenes have full voice acting, and the music is just incredible, and it all sounds amazing through headphones and even on the built-in speakers. However, I really wish they would have added voice acting for all the text in the game, because it's jarring to go from an animated sequence with voice acting to a Phoenix Wright styled text adventure.

Now, this game is a puzzle game, and will probably lose its appeal once you've learned how to solve everything, but Nintendo offers you a solution to that problem: free puzzle downloads every week over Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection! That's right, you'll be able to download an all-new brainteaser each week in order to keep you engaged in the game. The weekly puzzles do not offer you any bonus coins for use in the game, but will keep you amused for 20 minutes or so every week. It isn't much, but at least it will keep you thinking about the series until Nintendo brings the next game over (please?).

Overall, the game is an extremely challenging compilation of puzzles wrapped in a pretty good story with an awesome art style. However, the replayability issues may keep you from picking up the game at its current price of $30. I also have minor complaints about the small amount of video and voice acting, but I can deal with it as I'm a veteran of Hotel Dusk and Phoenix Wright. Keeping this in mind, I award the game...

9.3/10
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Variations:

Console Reg. Type Title Publisher Year Genre
Nintendo DS K S Layton Gyosu wa Isanghan Maeul Nintendo 2008 Adventure
Nintendo DS J S Layton Kyouju to Fushigi na Machi Level 5 2007 Adventure
Nintendo DS J S Layton Kyouju to Fushigi na Machi - Friendly Ban Nintendo 2009 Adventure
Nintendo DS Canada S Professor Layton and the Curious Village Nintendo 2008 Adventure
Nintendo DS U S Professor Layton and the Curious Village [Demo - Not For Resale] Nintendo Adventure
Nintendo DS A S Professor Layton and the Curious Village Nintendo 2007 Adventure
Nintendo DS Netherlands S Professor Layton and the Curious Village Nintendo 2008 Adventure
Nintendo DS United Kingdom S Professor Layton and the Curious Village Nintendo 2008 Adventure
Nintendo DS France S Professor Layton et L'étrange Village [Colour PEGI] Nintendo 2009 Adventure
Nintendo DS France S Professor Layton et L'étrange Village Nintendo 2008 Adventure
Nintendo DS Germany S Professor Layton und das geheimnisvolle Dorf Nintendo 2008 Adventure
Related Games:

Console Reg. Type Title Publisher Year Genre
Nintendo DS U S Professor Layton and The Diabolical Box Nintendo 2009 Adventure
Nintendo DS U S Professor Layton and the Unwound Future Nintendo 2010 Adventure
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