Professor Layton and the Curious Village Review

“Would you like to read my review of Professor Layton and the Curious Village for the Nintendo DS? Well then to prove your interest, you’ll have to solve this puzzle for me…”

Had GamerNode somehow slipped into the realm of the DS and the curious village of St. Mystere, things would have undoubtedly continued along that path until I had you scribbling on maps, rearranging matchsticks, and doing my little brother’s math homework. Clearly, that hasn’t happened – because I don’t have a little brother.

What I did have for a while, though, was an addiction. Professor Layton and the Curious Village (which will henceforth be written as PLCV, to save me time and effort) is like crack for the brainy gamer, and if it’s something you can sink your teeth into, you’re going to feel compelled to play it any chance you get. “Just one more puzzle…” is the mindset you’ll probably adopt – and we all know how that goes.

PLCV is basically a point-and-click adventure game whose entire library of puzzles reads like a Mensa Mind Teasers book. The Professor and his sidekick Luke are called upon to solve the mystery of the recently deceased Baron’s hidden golden apple, and soon find themselves jumping from one plot device to the next, eventually arriving at the game’s final resolution.

Clearly, the story isn’t the reason to play PLCV, although the solid voice acting and colorful, animated visual presentation certainly don’t act as deterrents. The game is about the puzzles. Mystere’s apparently peaceful community is entirely comprised of puzzle-obsessed (and certifiably insane) individuals who never hesitate to drag you right along into their dementia, and actually force it upon you if you hope to make any progress.

These brain-teasers are fun to complete, and quickly transform from a bother into a mild obsession. You’ll soon find yourself seeking out all of the optional puzzles that lie hidden in candles, chandeliers, clocks, and empty bottles in addition to those required to advance the story. You may even forget the story exists in the midst of your spree.

The questions range in difficulty from insultingly simplistic to head-scratchingly abstruse, and are worth point values that are meant to roughly correspond. The scale doesn’t always seem correct, however, with some 20-point puzzles requiring more thought than the 50-pointers. If you’re ever stumped, “hint coins” hidden throughout the town are exchangeable for up to three clues per puzzle. You’re likely to have a truckload of these by the end of the game, though, because for the most part the puzzles aren’t quite tough enough to warrant their use.

So what happens when the game is over? You will already know the answers to all of the puzzles, making a second play-through completely pointless. Do you just put the game on the shelf or sell it to your local used games shop? In theory, no, because Nintendo has promised to deliver weekly puzzles over their Wi-Fi Connection for everyone who might find themselves in that situation. Unfortunately, the last update was just about two weeks ago, so I am inclined to question the reliability of that plan – but we shall see how it pans out.

All in all, Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a very enjoyable little game. It may be easy to poke fun at the concept of a town full of puzzle-junkies, but there is really very little to complain about in terms of raw game design and playability. It offers perfectly bite-sized gameplay, and is a wonderful alternative to using illegal psychotropic substances. Try it – you may very well get hooked.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.