Professor Layton and The Curious Village Review
Professor Layton and The Curious Village box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Level-5 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Nintendo 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Feb. 10, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The characters are simply charming, and their looks are quite revealing. Many times you'll know who to trust by judging their "caricaturesque" appearance. Of course your instinct is not infallible, so even if you're careful you'll encounter lots of twists and mishaps that will complicate the story in ways you didn't expect. Your patience and reasoning are your best allies in the game.

Professor Layton and The Curious Village screenshot

When I first started playing, I was pleased with the delightful, magical melody that goes with the story. It has a French feel to it that you will find in artistic movies like Amelie. The sound of the accordion, xylophone, and piano is very relaxing, and the very similar tune within the puzzles helps you concentrate on the challenging mind-benders without too much interference. However, even though it’s the perfect background music for the game, the developers failed to recognize that making them the only tunes is a mistake. You may be hypnotized with them and not turn down the volume, but the truth is, no one should have to just deal with it. If there were more variety in the soundtrack, everyone would have been happier. If you want to know what I’m talking about, just visit the game’s official website.

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Some of the cutscenes are accompanied by nice voiceover work. It's great to see that happen in a DS game, as sometimes developers forget or ignore the system's capabilities. Considering the great hand-drawn art, voice acting, classic animations, intriguing story, and engaging gameplay, very few games can compare to this one, especially on the DS. The only one I can think of right now is Hotel Dusk: Room 215, but I liked this one even better. Also, you'll be able to download a new puzzle every week for the next six months through the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection. It's a nice addition that keeps the game fresh. The only problem is… there are no hints! - At least not yet. It seems like they'll be releasing hints for the puzzles once in a while, which means you'll have to wait for them if you can't solve it on your own. That, or cheat by going online and finding the solution!

This game won't appeal to everyone, as the puzzles can get difficult and slow down the flow of the game. Nonetheless, many of the riddles and brainteasers will sound familiar; you may have come across some of those at some point in your life. The question is: do you remember the solution? Ultimately, if you're willing to take some time to solve the puzzles and enjoy this kind of gameplay, Professor Layton and The Curious Village will become one of your favorite games. If you're not a thinker and what you like is action, you're better off ignoring it; you'll save yourself a headache. Are you ready for the challenge? If you smart, curious, and patient, I recommend you to jump right in!

By Maria Montoro
CCC Site Director

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.7
Graphics
Professor Layton's hand-drawn art style is unique, and the classic animations enhance the experience even more. The characters are cute and funny-looking.
4.5
Control
Puzzle-solving controls are perfect. The DS and the stylus are a true equivalent to pen and paper - they just feel right. Moving characters around town by clicking on little arrows is a bit too basic.
3.7
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Classic-style mystery tune is spot on for the game. However, the soundtrack lacks variety. Characters' voices are nice and add a new layer of reality.
3.9

Play Value
It's a fun game the first time around, as you won't know the solution to the puzzles right off the bat. Conversely, it can become tiring and time consuming. Smaller doses are recommended. Weekly puzzle downloads is a plus.

4.4
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • You will be faced with more than 130 puzzles integrated into the story - In order to unravel the mysteries of the village you will need to tackle more than 130 puzzles all woven tightly into your adventure.
  • You will be aided by easy touch-screen controls - The easy touch screen controls of Nintendo DS at your disposal make this adventure accessible to aspiring mystery and puzzle apprentices of all experience levels.
  • Be prepared for a strong story and characters - It should be noted that St. Mystere's fully voiced animated scenes bring the mystery before you to life, while the funny and eccentric villagers and classic, hand-drawn art provide stylish charm.
  • Be warned! The mystery doesn't stop with the treasure - Each week for half a year new puzzles will be available to you for download via Nintendo Wi-Fi.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Professor Layton and The Curious Village screenshot - click to enlarge Professor Layton and The Curious Village screenshot - click to enlarge Professor Layton and The Curious Village screenshot - click to enlarge Professor Layton and The Curious Village screenshot - click to enlarge Professor Layton and The Curious Village screenshot - click to enlarge Professor Layton and The Curious Village screenshot - click to enlarge Professor Layton and The Curious Village screenshot - click to enlarge Professor Layton and The Curious Village screenshot - click to enlarge

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