Monday, 29 October 2012

Professor Layton and Curious Village for Nintendo DS



A true gentleman never tells, but in the case of Professor Layton and the Curious Village for the Nintendo DS I believe that it is my duty to let you know just how amazing this game is. Having just said this, I believe it will be quite easy to do so considering just how popular this title and its sequels have become.


Professor Layton and the Curious Village is part of an ongoing series that focuses on mind bending puzzles that are wrapped around the fascinating adventures of a one Professor Layton and his apprentice Luke. It seems that people have always been attracted by enigmas that test one’s ingenuity, and it is this very curiosity that has led Professor Akira Tago and studio Level-5 to create one of biggest mysteries out there that only a keen mind and a sharp eye could ever hope to unravel.


          The quest for the Golden Apple


Upon receiving a letter from Lady Dahlia concerning the death of her husband, Baron Augustus Reinhold, professor Layton and his apprentice Luke set forth on a journey so perilous and perplexing that it will require all the willpower and determination that our heroes can muster in order to overcome and solve the obstacles and puzzles laid before them.
Reaching a small yet curious village by the name of St. Mysteré, Layton and Luke are asked to find the whereabouts of the mysterious Golden Apple. It is said that whoever finds this most precious treasure shall inherit the baron’s fortunes. Unfortunately, no one has even heard of the Golden Apple let alone its location. With their work cut out for them, our heroes begin their investigation unknowing of the dangers that await them.
Will Layton and Luke manage to find the Golden Apple or will they fall short is something that only the dedicated player can discover.
The story in Professor Layton and the Curious Village is indeed a captivating one and, it is the reason why I kept playing until the very end. The characters in this game are all strange and very curious if I should say so myself. Having spent my childhood summer vacations in a small village, I am quite aware of how inquiring people in small communities can be. But it is their very nature that has made me become attached to these people.
The villagers of St. Mysteré will constantly test you by asking you to solve puzzles only revealing so much about themselves and the town they live in. Playing the game, I always wanted to learn more about St. Mysteré and its inhabitants, but because of how the story is set up I could never really do that. And that is understandable considering that Layton and Luke are foreigners in this secluded place and as such are seen as trespassers.
All in all, I found the story to be wonderful and, it is the very reason why I loved playing this game. I love adventure games because of how they manage to tell a story while taking the time to present interesting characters and situations. If you are anything like me, Professor Layton and the Curious Village is something that you will surely enjoy.


           Every puzzle has an answer!


At its heart, Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a puzzle game. It is set up as an adventure game with the ability to walk around and explore St. Mysteré, but every puzzle in this game is presented in its own separate window. While it is so much better than simply having to choose puzzles from a list like in other brain teasing games, I found the puzzles to be poorly integrated within the game. One moment you will be walking down a road only to be greeted by a person who wants you to solve their puzzle. At other times, you will hear either Layton or Luke say something like, ‘this [insert object] reminds me of a puzzle I once heard’ only to find yourself in the presence of yet another puzzle.
Having grown up playing the likes of The Longest Journey and Broken Sword, I kept wishing I could explore the village at my own pace and not worry about solving puzzles all the time. But I soon learnt that Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a puzzle game disguised as an adventure game and, it should be treated accordingly.
This is the reason I ended up disliking some of the riddles, especially since the game presents itself with some really difficult ones.
However, if you are a puzzle connoisseur then you will certainly fall in love with this game.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a love letter to all the people out there who are constantly testing themselves with new puzzles and new ways of figuring out logical problems.
The puzzles themselves range from the simple ‘mark the right answer’ to ‘sliding puzzles’ to ‘logical problems’ and all the way to ‘mathematical equations’. Some of them require a sharp eye, others a lucid mind, but all of them require you to think logically.
Some of the puzzles even require the use of a pen and paper, but as the professor himself says, ‘every puzzle has an answer.’ If the answer still does not come to you, the game provides the player with a hint system based on coins, which can be found scattered around town. As someone who is not really a fan of math problems, I often found myself looking at walkthroughs as even the hints were not enough for me to get past the latter portion of the game.
A true puzzle fanatic will take the time to solve each and every puzzle in the game not matter how hard they turn out to be. On the other hand, those who just want to experiment a beautiful story should not be afraid to use the hint system as often as they want and, on occasions, even search for help from an outside source.
The game gives you the opportunity of acquiring different objects and parts used for various side quests that, in turn, grant you access to even more puzzles for your solving pleasure. Not only that, but through the use of Nintendo’s wi-fi service you will also gain access to weekly puzzles, which is sure to keep anyone occupied for quite some time.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village is indeed an interesting combination of puzzle solving, exploration, and story-telling that is sure to delight anyone willing to give it a try.


          Exploring St. Mysteré


Professor Layton and the Curious Village is presented in beautiful and vibrant 2D graphics and stands as one of the more attractive NDS games thanks to its amazing style. While it may not push the hardware to its limits, everything is nicely done.
The artwork in particular is simply remarkable. The puzzles themselves exist in a clear aesthetic and, I never had any difficulties understanding just what was shown on the screen.
Regrettably, there just are not enough animations and, you will most likely look at pretty yet static backgrounds. The characters are shown as 2D portraits that animate just enough to convey their wackiness and mysteriousness.
And then there are the anime movies. Each important sequence in the game is punctuated via beautifully done anime movies that you just wish were the game’s overall graphics.
All in all, this is an attractive game particularly thanks to it adorable artwork.


          The music box


I fell in love with the music from the moment I listened it. The accordion, the violin, the piano, and many other instruments come together to create some of the most beautiful songs out there. It is clear that they are of European inspiration and, it is something that one would normally hear in a Parisian café. The songs complement in the most wonderful way the 19th century European inspired theme of the game and the Professor’s British heritage.
Unfortunately, there was something that irritated me. However, it had to do with how the game was programmed and not with the songs themselves. As it turns out, whenever you save your progress, the song that is currently playing stops. After the process has been completed, the song simply restarts. I found myself saving quite often and, I would always end up listening to the same portion of the song over and over. It is not that there is anything wrong with that, it is just that the songs in this game are so fabulous that you never want them to stop.
In fact, I listen to the game’s soundtrack on a daily basis on my PC. And that is a testimony to how incredible the songs can be. It is not very often that I find a game whose soundtrack I can listen outside of the game itself.
Tomohito Nishiura-san has created some of the most amazing melodies that I have ever had the pleasure of listening to and this fact alone is enough to make Professor Layton and the Curious Village an all-time classic.


          The mystery comes to an end


It is no mystery why Professor Layton and the Curious Village is one of the most charming games out there. With its intelligent puzzles, engrossing story, eccentric characters, delightful graphics, and wonderful music, Professor Layton and the Curious Village is an amazing title that you will want to play until you get to the bottom the Golden Apple mystery and even beyond that if you decide to tackle the downloadable content.
This is a title that comes with my highest recommendation.



Breakdown:


- an adventure game like no other, Professor Layton and his apprentice Luke will keep you guessing until the very end.
- beautiful 2D graphics are sure to please even if there is not enough animation.
- classic in every sense, the music in Professor Layton has me dreaming every time I listen to it.
- I love adventure games and with Professor Layton it was love at first sight. Unfortunately, the constant brain teasers took their toll on me and I eventually grew weary. Fortunately, I kept going and in the end I was rewarded with one of the best games out there.





Platform:
Nintendo DS

Genre:
adventure/puzzle

Developer:
LEVEL-5

Publisher:
Nintendo