|By Zach Patterson||Friday, 18 Apr 2008|
I think what initially drew me to this game was it’s rather unusual protagonists. It strikes me as strange that a cialis online pharmacy Japanese developed game would essentially feel like a game developed in Europe, having British puzzle solvers explore a European village. Aside from the premise, the glowing reviews didn’t hurt either. The game itself is a point and click adventure game that features many puzzles that are presented by talking to characters or touching objects in the environment. The main part of the game isn’t too different from the Phoenix Wright series’ investigation segments, where you essentially wander around and talk to characters and search the environment to further the story. However, the puzzles, while they feel a little forced at first, tie into the game well and really become the game’s highlight.
The puzzles are logic-based puzzles that often have a trick to them, but also can simply be a case of trial and error. However, most of them are genuinely engaging and really test your cognitive skills. Some of them are more complicated than you think, and others are much simpler than they initially appear. The great thing about the puzzles is tha they are not all the same. There are ones that offer the same type of puzzle in different configurations (getting progressively harder), but the similar ones are spaced out over the course of the game, and most of them are fun and welcome. There are a few puzzles that are just “what the fuck” types, where the puzzle’s set up just isn’t clear, or the solution makes absolutely no logical sense, but there’s really only a handful of them. Additionally, all puzzles have hints you can “buy” with hint coins you find in the game, so there’s usually a little help if you are truly lost.
The story is usually pretty important in adventure games, and luckily Layton has a pretty good story to go along with its strong puzzles. Professor Layton and his protege Luke are called into the village of St. Mystere to solve the mystery of the Golden Apple, which upon solving will reveal a sizeable fortune. As the game progresses, you meet a wide array of charming and bizarre characters that all are pretty memorable. The mysteries in the game are presented to you early, and as you go, you will address and discover the secrets in a well-paced scenario that lasts about 15-20 hours. The game also has distinct and beautiful art that is brought to life in various wonderfully rendered animated cutscenes that actually serve a purpose and advance the plot. They serve as great action sequences such as the ferris wheel scene, or reveal major plot points. In all, the story is good fun and never lets the game start to get too stale.
The music in the game is very keys and accordion-oriented, and gives the feel of a quaint, poor, European village. While much of it is largely atmospheric and forgettable fare, there are a few decent tunes near the end of the game, and the music very much fits the game. While I’m not in a rush to download the soundtrack, it’s good for what it is. The voice acting is also excellent and the characters nail the British accents well. Though Luke’s voice is slightly grating, Layton’s is superb and the rest of the cast does a great job. It has a lot of voice acting too, leading to it feeling like a very top notch production.
There really isn’t too much more to the game than that, but what it does, it does well. The writing is charming and well translated, the puzzles are well written and clever, the interface of the game is responsive, and the pacing is excellent. There is lots of extra content in the game, such as unlockable (and downloadable) bonus puzzles, movie galleries, and sound tests. Quite simply, this game provides excellent value for $30. If you are a fan of adventure games or just love puzzles, this game will surely appeal to you. Even if you aren’t sure about it, I recommend giving the online demo a try on the official website. Definitely another essential reason to own a DS.