if you loved the first, you will really love this one
and if you didn't play the first, but you love adventure games, charming art, good writing, and fun puzzles, you need to play the first one first
that being said, this game's biggest improvement over the first is just that the puzzle design is just a lot more logical than the previous game. the first game suffered from having a lot of puzzles with arbitrarily chosen solutions that weren't necessarily factual to the situation described. there are a lot fewer of those bad ones in this game
This was my first Professor Layton game, but won't be my last. It's a lot of fun, and it's great if you're looking to challenge your mind rather than your reflexes.
My only two gripes:
1. The ending to the story/mystery was kind of lame, IMO.
2. There are several infuriatingly cheap puzzles. By the time you figure it out, at the end of every puzzle there's an explanation. In these cheap ones, the explanation is usually "we never said you couldn't do THIS", and is just generally misleading. I hate puzzles like that.
Proffeser Layton and the Diabolical Box has a different feel to it then the first game Curious village. You travel aruond the areas on a train unlike the first game. Unfourntunatly once you leave a town you might never go back. Like the first game you collect items. You collect toys and tea ingrediants. Using those you can train a hamster and using the tea you can make .... well tea. Don Palo returns as a villian but is not the main villian. Who is. You'll have to play to find out