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Puzzle / Adventure






Level 5



E (Everyone)



February 10, 2008



- An excellent puzzle game wrapped in a blanket of mystery!

- Great interface

- Should even appeal to non-gamers

- Looks very good



- Some puzzles are made all the harder with the crummy hint system

- Getting it away from your wife might be tricky



Review: Meteos (DS)

Review: Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (DS)

Review: Trace Memory (DS)



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Professor Layton and the Curious Village

Score: 9.0 / 10


Professor Layton and the Curious Village gets a perfect score for a number of reasons, among them that it’s a good adventure game and presents some excellent brain twisters.  But the biggest reason it gets a perfect score is that it changed my wife’s mind of what video games can be.


professor layton    professor layton   professor layton


Previously, she was resigned that the only good video games were puzzle games like Tetris and Dr. Mario.  She had even soured on adventure games after a bout of trying to grab the bunny at the start of Space Quest IV (1991 on PC).  And just forget about action games.  However, a bout of pneumonia forced her to slow down and she spent two days playing through Professor Layton and the Curios Village .  And she was enthralled.  She would challenge me with the puzzles she 




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had unlocked during the Professor’s investigation into “The Mystery of the Golden Apple.”


The game completely revolves around solving puzzles.  In fact, everyone that populates St. Mystere has a puzzle to hand out then a necessary item or useful piece of information when the puzzle is solved.  And if 


that’s not enough for you, there are plenty of places to “tap” in the town to get you to another puzzle – there are more than 120 puzzles, which range from logic to math to slider puzzles and more.


Some of the puzzles are downright mind-bending.  Each of the puzzles with worth a number of “picarats”, which boils down to the difficulty level.  If it’s worth 10 picarats, the puzzle is usually easy; 50 picarats, get a pencil and paper because it will require some work.  Reportedly, a big name in Japan in the field of puzzles – Prof. Akira Tago – provided input for the game, along with some original puzzles so it’s not like the puzzles were hobbled together by game designers who just don’t have the same insight as a real-world puzzle designer does.


A built-in hint system should help those that get completely stuck.  At the cost of Hint Coins, scattered all over St. Mystere, the game offers hints of three degrees.  The first hint is usually useless, the second is just as useless, and the third will generally give you a nudge in the right direction.  So, when you’re about to use a hint, it’s with the knowledge you’ll likely have to use three hint coins to get there.


Another small problem is that the game sometimes doesn’t read your inputted numbers and letters correctly.  The puzzles are solved using the touchscreen, and the puzzles that require you to you write your answer on the screen don’t always translate into what you want.  You need to touch “submit” when the answer is finished so any changes can be made prior to making it final, but a number of times I pressed “submit” thinking the answer was right when it was off slightly because the game didn’t “read” my number correctly.  It’s a small quibble, but it shows some room for improvement.


Professor Layton and the Curious Village looks a lot like old time adventure games – like The Adventures of Willy Beamish – with great hand drawn backgrounds and the occasional stretch of animation, complete with sound.  There was obviously a lot of effort put in and the results are a great looking DS game.  The fact that it has a real mystery adventure game here, along with a ton of thinking required to make progress, makes the game all the more complete and perfect for the handheld experience – with bit-sized pieces that can be played here and there or long play sessions in the event of illness or travel.


- Omni

(April 7, 2008)


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