Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Review
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Box Art
System: 3DS
Dev: Level-5, Capcom
Pub: Level-5, Nintendo
Release: August 29, 2014
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: N/A Mild Blood, Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Violence, Use of Alcohol

The two games come from completely different visual styles, with Phoenix Wright leaning towards traditional Japanese anime while Professor Layton takes on a completely unique design with earthy tones and windswept backdrops. Each excels in its own right, and the cinematic cutscenes are some of the best I've seen in an adventure game. However, the styles do clash, with new characters clearly on the visual spectrum of Phoenix Wright, who when placed beside Professor Layton makes his cylindrical head look like a LEGO figuring trapped in a manga. With no disrespect to the Professor, as I think his unique art style is one element of his success, there's simply too much separation between the two designs to feign disbelief.

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Screenshot

One element that marries beautifully is the orchestral score. Both series have fantastic compositions, and a stunning array of both are found here. Professor Layton composer Tomohito Nishiura takes the helm alongside Yasumasa Kitagawa to produce both classic tunes for the series as well as new renditions. The subdued chimes of successfully solving a puzzle are punctuated with action packed effects that slam the characters off their feet in the courtroom. I was slightly disappointed with some of the localization voice acting, which at times felt both under and overacted, but overall the delivery was decent enough to elicit the emotion it was trying to impress.

As a fan of both series, I can say with confidence that Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney pays equal tribute to both. If you're a fan of either, you'll find plenty of nods to your respective adventure alma mater. If you're a fan of both, you're in for a memorable experience with two praiseworthy protagonists embarking on a journey side by side. Some story elements and newly hatched characters are a bit flaccid, and there is a remedial quality to the puzzles, but they are small criticisms that are overshadowed by great artwork, remarkable music, and well-blended gameplay from both universes.

Sean Engemann
Contributing Writer
Date: August 26, 2014

The designs of both series are highlighted, though they do clash when put in close proximity to one another.
The puzzles, as well as courtroom menus, make intuitive use of the touch screen. The rest of the time you’re tapping through a seemingly endless novel of script.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Magnificent orchestrations are highlighted with great sound effects from both series. The voice acting is spotty in places.
Play Value
The courtroom scenes outshine the puzzles, which are timid by Professor Layton standards. The story isn't the best of either series, but it's worth seeing these iconic heroes working in tandem.
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Follow Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright as they are transported from London to the mystical city of Labyrinthia, a world created by the Storyteller that is plagued by the Great With Bezella.
  • Two different game-play styles work together in unexpected ways. Solve puzzle familiar to fans of the Professor Layton series in Adventure mode to move the story forward, and then cross-examine witnesses as Phoenix Wright in Trial mode.
  • Phoenix Wright must be on his toes for new cross-examinations, that involve multiple witnesses at once. Pit one testimony against another's to get the story straight, and then solve a perplexing mystery alongside the city's greatest puzzle-solving duo.
  • During courtroom trials, Phoenix Wright can use Hint Coins – a staple of the Professor Layton series – to narrow down options when presenting evidence, or to provide helpful hints when cross-examining witnesses.
  • Listen to the gorgeous musical score by the original composers from both series, combining the vivid sounds of Professor Layton with the dramatic themes of the Phoenix Wright games.

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