Monday, 29 October 2012

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box for Nintendo DS









   Professor Layton and the Curious Village for the Nintendo DS proved to be so successful that there was never any doubt concerning a potential sequel. That sequel came in the form of Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, and it, too, demonstrated just how popular puzzles can really be. Also, you can never go wrong with lovable characters caught up in a crazy story, sweet 2D visuals, and amazing instrumental music.

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box 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 Elysian Box


It all starts with Professor Layton and his trusty apprentice Luke as they make their way to Dr. Schrader’s flat upon receiving a letter in which the good doctor claims to have found the Elysian Box, a mysterious artifact that is fabled to kill anyone who dares open it. Upon their arrival, they find the good doctor unconscious on the floor and the box missing, with only a ticket stub for the Molentary Express as a clue to its disappearance. What follows next is a tale of mystery, suspense, and love.
The plot is well-told and the folly that comes with it is once again as surprising and engaging as ever.
Unfortunately, the plot is also quite focused, which means that character development is kept at a minimum. You are rarely going to find something new about the characters and when you do, it usually involves just a few minor details.
Overall, I found the plot to be charming and engaging, which is quite a feat given that typical puzzle adventures put a strong emphasis on puzzle solving at the expense of character interaction and story.


For every puzzle there is a solution!


Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box is a puzzle adventure that introduces a lot of elements that you would normally see in a graphic adventure. The main goal remains the same throughout the game: solve all of the game's puzzles. However, what sets it apart from regular puzzle games is the fact that you are actually working towards something greater, which is solving the mystery of the Elysian Box. There is a lot of puzzles in the game and going from one puzzle to the other is done through exploration and interaction with the denizens of the places that you visit on your grand adventure.
The game gives you the illusion of playing something similar to a traditional first-person point&click adventure, which definitely increases its appeal. Even so, the constant brain teasers, which are presented in a different panel separated from the environment, will be a constant reminder that you are here to solve puzzles. Some gamers will like this while others might not. I, for one, would have preferred a more traditional game with lots of dialogue and less teasers to worry about.
Professor Layton does not betray its roots and, even though it goes a long way to make itself more friendly to the adventurous types, by the end of the day you will not go very far without a clear head and lots of patience.
The game offers logic puzzles, math puzzles, sliding puzzles, brain teasers, riddles, and everything that Professor Akira Tago and Level-5 were able to create and adapt for the NDS. It is a very diverse package, but it can also become quite tiresome. The prospect of having to solve actual math problems will surely have you sweating in hopes that the school bell will ring out sooner rather than later.
The places that Layton and Luke investigate are much bigger than in the previous version, with lots of side streets and characters just waiting to tell you about a puzzle they once heard.
Weakly downloadable puzzles are also available, and there is also the matter of a little pet that could stand to lose a few pounds.
Overall, Professor Layton the Diabolical Box offers a longer and better adventure than the previous title while maintaining the charm and addictive puzzles.


A Pretty Sight To Behold


From the very first cut-scene, you will notice that Professor Layton the Diabolical Box is a beautiful game indeed. With its colorful anime style and wacky characters, it makes for an attractive game that is a joy to behold. Unfortunately, as pretty as the backdrops are, there is very little animation. You will be looking at still pictures for most of the time. The characters do move their lips and strike different poses, but it still has a lot to learn from the Ace Attorney series.
With more cut-scenes and more locations than the previous title, there is still a lot to see and admire in this latest Professor Layton title.
If you love colorful 2D games then you will certainly love this game.


Surreal opuses


Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box features some of the best instrumental music ever composed in a video game. With a clear European influence, the recurring use of the accordion and violins help create impressive dreamlike compositions. Most of the songs are very romantic and melancholic and set the mood of the game quite nicely.
Even though I finished the game some time ago, I still listen to the songs and let myself be transported to a fairy-tale world.
It is an impressive and varied soundtrack that complements the game quite pleasantly.


Opening The Box


I was not a big fan of puzzle games, which is why I had stayed away from them for such a long time, until Professor Layton came along and changed all of that. And even though I became frustrated and tired with some of the puzzles, I never gave up. I would simply rest for a bit, and then I would try again until I would find the solution that advanced the plot.
Even though it sticks with a tried and true formula, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box is a step up from a certain adventure that took place in a peculiar village.
If you are looking for something to make you feel clever as well as dense, look no further than Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box.


Breakdown:


- professor Layton and his apprentice Luke embark yet again on a journey that you will want to experience through the end.
- while a clear improvement over its predecessor, the visuals could still use a bit of refinement.
- the songs are simply divine and there seems to be more voice acting than ever.
- I never did like math in school and I certainly do not like it in my video games. Fortunately, the puzzle are varied enough to keep one entertained.

Platform:
Nintendo DS

Genre:
adventure/puzzle

Developer:
LEVEL-5

Publisher:
Nintendo