Professor Layton and Luke are asked to visit a village and solve the mystery of The Golden Apple. The richest man in a village (Baron Reinhold) died and in his will he said he would leave his entire fortune to the one that solved his last puzzle. The treasure seeking individual simply must find the Golden Apple hidden somewhere in the village and they’ll inherit his fortune. The wife of the recently deceased Baron Reinhold has invited Professor Layton to the village to help her solve it. However everyone in the village are just as obsessed with puzzles as the late Baron and in order to accomplish anything and gain their assistance you need to humor them and solve their puzzles throughout the game.
First off let me say this game is a PUZZLE GAME, if you don’t like puzzles then nothing I say matters because you won’t like the game. BUT I didn’t think I’d like puzzles like these ones until I gave it a try, I liked the puzzles in Zelda but I assumed these ones would require too much thought and calculations. But I’ve really enjoyed the puzzles, I get a satisfying little thrill every time I figure one out. At the very least I believe the existance of Professor Layton and the Curious Village shows that video games can be successful and educational. So when people are being completely biased and saying games rot your mind this game is a perfect defendable example.
The dubbing never once bothered me, I liked their voices. I also loved the animation/art, it suited the type of game and setting that this game is. The whole thing felt like one of those cheesey murder mystery plays and I loved it for that. The story was good enough for me, I have no complaints over it. However I have heard some complain that this game would be better if the story were more suspenseful and compelling but I think I prefer it this way. After all, the whole point of this game is the puzzles, not the plot.
There were some kinds of puzzles I favored over others, for the ones I really hated I’d use a hint coin. Hint coins are found hidden around town, each puzzle allows you to get a maximum of 3 hints. Although you can save at any point throughout the game so there is nothing to stop you from using hint coins to see a few hints and then re-starting…don’t look at me like that! So what if I may have done that on a few of the types of puzzles I hate 😛 I know it’s a dirty trick but I don’t mind. What types of puzzles do I hate? The ones where an unknown number of people are lying about something and you have to figure out who is lying and who isn’t. Although I have to admit…by the end of the game I finally started to understand the best way to approach these puzzles. So I may have actually learned something from this game.
I like that the game doesn’t get progressively harder too intensely. Throughout the game it seems like a nice mix of easier and harder puzzles are available at all levels. So at the end of the game I don’t feel like I’ve been pushed into a corner between lots of hard puzzles. I get a little confidence boost from an easier one before I return to the one that makes me hit my head on the table.
What I REALLY liked the most was the little extra goals you could accomplish. Certain puzzles in town unlock items when you solve them and these items correspond to these “extras”. There are painting scraps that you have to arrange like a puzzle, there are gizmos that when put together create a robot that proved to be quite helpful, and my favorite was getting items for the duo’s rooms at the inn and trying to arrange them in the way that pleases them both the most. I’m not sure why I liked that one the most…maybe it’s the interior decorator in me.
Although it was getting towards the end of the game and I was missing a gizmo piece and it seemed that Layton wasn’t yet 100% happy with his room. So I went to this guide and found out where the 2 pieces I was missing were. I was astounded at how well this guide was done, if you need to reference a guide this is the one I’d recommend, but please don’t overdo looking up answers, it defeats the purpose of the game. I used the guide on one puzzle…the stupid one with the chocolate you get from your girlfriend that has a “message” in it. I thought that puzzle was probably the game’s worst puzzle.
Another very positive aspect of this game was that you could never “lose” a puzzle. If you accidentally miss one, that you lose access to, then it gets put into a special building and you can go to to solve it. I really really love that. My only complaint is that when you’re searching and touching every part of the screen with your stylus looking for hint coins and hidden puzzles there are a lot of items that generate an unnecessary/boring response. I would prefer to not see a comment about the chandelier as I’m furiously tapping the screen looking for stuff.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village filled a need for fun puzzles that Phoenix Wright only somewhat satisfied. I’m very happy to welcome this new series into my collection and I look forward to the second installment.
(I cannot comment on the weekly puzzles that are accessible through Wifi since I haven’t done them)
EDIT: I forgot to move over this review from my old blog! I just started Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box and so far I’m just as in love.