In the world of Professor Layton & the Curious Village, all reviews would be handled in brain-teaser fashion, although they'd likely be much cleverer than anything we could come up with. The game is based around intelligence as proven by your ability to swiftly solve logic problems thought up by the Curious Village's inhabitants. When you're not matching wits, you'll be tap-tapping around the touch screen - a tedious but impulsive act - to uncover more hint coins to help you solve harder puzzles.
The riddle-solving repetition of Professor Layton would prove far less entertaining if not for the intriguing storyline behind it. Shortly into the quest we were enthralled at the prospect of discovering more about the Curious Village’s quirky inhabitants and uncovering the secrets of its past. The plot can move a bit slowly at times, but the dialogue is always quick and funny, making the talking segments before each puzzle worthwhile.
What's truly impressive about Professor Layton is the number of puzzles packed into it. In addition to the 100 or so in the main story mode, there are weekly downloadable riddles provided by the developer. A few repeating structures - chessboard placement puzzles, emptying liquids into different sized glasses, etc. - appear in the game, but for the most part, the puzzles are always fresh and challenging, and you’ll never quite be tired of a certain type.
Professor Layton can occasionally get too clever. A few of the tasks left us frustrated and the only thing we could do is dole out hint coins that unlock clues. Sometimes we unlocked all three clues for a riddle only to remain completely stumped. CheatPlanet will of course solve most of these problems for you, but we would have preferred a more elegant in-game solution or even just some stronger hints.
Mental deficiencies aside, Professor Layton and the Curious Village is an enjoyable game with a wonderfully-written storyline. So few games succeed at making us exercise our brains; you’d be blockheads not to give this one a go.
Feb 25, 2008