Professor Layton and the Curious Village for Nintendo DS is an interesting game that combines puzzle solving with an adventure game. In the game you will be given puzzles by different town folk to solve to progress the story. None of these puzzles really relate to the storyline, but you complete them to get clues to continue the story.
The puzzles in Professor Layton and the Curious Village will challenge you with classic and new puzzles that require you to use your math and problem solving skills to complete. If you get stuck on a puzzle you can buy up to three hints using coins you find hidden throughout the curious village of St. Mystere as you travel through the game.
Areas in Professor Layton and the Curious Village are just static backdrops that you navigate to and from using the stylus to click on up, down, left, and right arrows on the touch screen. Once you are at a location you can tap on the screen to investigate and interact with any of the people and background. All of the game is controlled with the touch screen on the Nintendo DS and anyone familiar with Brain Age or Big Brain Academy should feel right at home.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village’s graphics are top notch, but you have to remember that most of the game is made of static backdrops with limited character animation. Speaking of the animation, Professor Layton and the Curious Village features full-motion video throughout the game to progress the story. The movies remind me a lot of My Neighbor Totoro and other movies made by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. The video quality of these cut scenes is all very high and impressive for the Nintendo DS and they don’t seems to be as blocky and grainy as the Game Boy Advance videos that featured Pokémon, Sonic X, and other TV shows and movies on them that were released a few years ago.
Another high quality component of the game is its music. All the music features an accordion and xylophone as the key instruments and works really well to set the mood for this small and strange village. The music is relaxing in nature and is the perfect style that you would expect in a game set in a small village in England. It also fits well with the puzzles and is soothing and doesn’t distract while you are trying to solve the puzzles. Sound effects throughout Professor Layton and the Curious Village are not really elaborate, but fit well with the game for when coins appear and you move from area to area with footsteps. The voice acting is also well done, but a lot of the game has text you have to read. There is enough voice-acting throughout the game to give you a sense of how the main characters’ voices sound, but don’t expect full voice-overs for all the dialog.
The puzzles in Professor Layton and the Curious Village will keep you busy for awhile and some are easy to solve and others can get frustrating. Luckily you can buy the hints mentioned above, but sometimes those still won’t help much. The only bad part about Professor Layton and the Curious Village is that once you solve all the 135 puzzles you probably won’t want to play the game again, since you will know all the answers to all the puzzles. This means that the replay value of the game is not very high, but it is fun while it lasts. Nintendo is also currently releasing one downloadable puzzle per week via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection which helps extend the game’s lifespan a little.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a great game for people that like solving puzzles and brainteasers. It also has an interesting, if a little quirky, storyline that will keep you entertained in-between all the puzzles. If you like games like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Brain Age, Big Brain Academy, and other puzzle and adventure games then you should enjoy Professor Layton and the Curious Village. The game is the perfect game to pick up and play for a few minutes in the evening to relax, but don’t be surprised if you look up and an hour or more has passed while you were in the curious village of St. Mystere solving puzzles.
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