Published on March 6, 2008
Never before I have felt so connected to a Penny Arcade comic. I recently picked up Professor Layton and the Curious Village, a puzzle-adventure game for the Nintendo DS. After roughly 10 hours of game play, I’ve completed the game, so I thought I’d post some thoughts on it. Before we get to that, however, I’d like to explain how this game works.
Professor Layton is one of those hybrid titles like Puzzle Quest. It is neither an adventure game, nor is it a puzzle game; it’s somewhere right in the middle. Layton himself is a private detective of sorts who is hired to figure out a puzzling will left behind by the late Baron Reinhold. Along with his assistant Luke, Layton quickly finds himself in an ever-increasing mysterious situation. There are twists and turns all over the place, and plenty of mysteries to be solved in the process.
Each person you meet will give you clues to the ever increasing list of mysteries you encounter, but only if you solve a puzzle for them. And by puzzle, I mostly mean ‘brain teaser.’ The puzzle difficulties are all over the place in this game. Some puzzles are easy to solve, while others will have you banging your head against a hard surface in frustration. There’s a hint system in the game that offers you three hints per puzzle, which is often enough to help you figure things out, but sometimes the hints are themselves quite cryptic. Getting a hint costs you a ‘hint coin,’ of which there are a limited amount (though plenty are hidden throughout the game world). When you solve a puzzle successfully, you are awarded a number of ‘picarats’ (essentially points). Each puzzle is worth so many of these picarats, with harder puzzles being worth more. Answer incorrectly and the value awarded goes down. I’m not sure what this point system is good for. At one point you learn that if you get enough of these picarats, something special happens. I never saw anything happen as a result of my score, so I must not have gotten enough. But enough about these details. Let’s jump into my review.
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