My trip into the land of puzzles (and almost deadly headaches) with Professor Layton

I don’t know exactly what prompted me to get Professor Layton and the Curious Village (2008) for the Nintendo DS.  In late 2008, I remember seeing a review for it on X-Play and it seemed highly enjoyable, but…puzzles?  I’m not so good at those, and I don’t mean the actual cardboard puzzles that come in boxes and will forever perpetuate the legacy of Thomas Kinkade (RIP).  I mean brain teasers, logic puzzles, movement or slide puzzles, mathematical quizzes, or anything that requires the use of my overtaxed left brain.  But the Curious Village, with its droll humor and unusual look, had wormed its way into my mind.  Okay so that worm had to sit around, feast on thought compost, and wait for almost a year until I saw the game on sale at our local Gamestop and decided to by it, but still.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village cover art © Level-5, Nintendo (source)

 

Professor Layton and the Curious Village (PLCV) told the very British story of the aforementioned professor and his odd, youthful companion Luke’s adventures in the curious village of St. Mystere where, at the behest of one of the town’s denizens, they were to retrieve a certain “very special item.” (Doing my best to not be spolier-y.)   The player’s progress through the village was measured by the completion of puzzles.  This base play was accompanied by some fantastically animated cut scenes they were kind of a mix of European animation and low-key anime.  The game used both DS screens to their fullest, with most of the action being on the bottom screen and necessary information being displayed on the top screen.   The game possessed 120 puzzles and a limited number of hints for each puzzle could also be bought using coins that were collected in each level.

A screen shot. And omg, so..many..words… Where’s the fun in reading?! (source)

What initially caught my eye about PLCV was its style.   The trailer made it look like an animated movie.  All the characters were fully voiced (no Mario “woo-hoos!” or Lego game grunts here) and interacted with each other, both in the game and through the cut scenes.  The controls were unique, incorporating both action movements and puzzle solving using the DS’s stylus.  It seemed like a fine investment…and it mostly was.

Wot?!?! (see, cos they’re British and all) (source)

Despite my perceived limitations, I really enjoyed playing through PLCV, but some of those puzzles…man.  Some of them were just damn frustrating.  Especially the sliding puzzles in which you had to slide blocks or obstacles around in order to free an object.  Honestly, I’m not much of a cheater when it comes to video games.  I’ll check the occasional walkthrough if I get really stuck; but when it came to PLCV, I was a blatant rogue.  This blog became my best friend and me and the internet became a little closer.

******

Dear Internet,

Thank you very much for introducing me to Professorlaytonwalkthrough.blogspot.com.  As you probably know from the writing all over you, the Curious Village is a fun puzzle game with a bit of difficulty thrown in.  Some of those puzzles are really meant to stretch one’s grey matter, eh?  Well, my grey matter seemed to be doing just fine with the game, until I hit #97: Princess in a Box 1.  This puzzle…oh how shall I put this delicately?… This puzzle sucked royal otter balls.  I tried to remove the red block, and nearly had an stroke while doing so.  Why would Professor Layton want to hurt me so?  Is it because he is tortured by having to be accompanied by Luke, with his questionable “boyish” nature, that he feels the need to cause gamers to suffer brain damage whilst solving his puzzles?  If that is the case, I do feel sorry for him, but that’s no reason to take it out on me.  My money is already spent.  Anywho, the aforementioned blog was certainly a big help, and I am very glad that you allowed a very nice and creative person to write down all the helpful advice needed for one to make it through the Curious Village without a trip to the hospital.

Truly,
cary

P. S. You remember that one time when I searched for “Professor Layton and the Curious Village” and porn appeared in my sidebar?  You should let those women know that the tag “Professor Layton and the Curious Village” is much different from “Professor Lay-a-ton and the Bi-Curious Village,” which is what I’m presuming they were going for. Just trying to pay it forward. c.

******

Professor Layton and the Curious Village was enjoyable, even if it meant having to careen through the dodgey yet loveable internet for help with the puzzles.  You couldn’t beat the animations and renderings – amazing stuff for the DS. The amount of detail that was put into each scene of the village was truly astounding.  And it felt very dimensional, even though it wasn’t.  For me, though, the game lacked any replay value.  At most, since you didn’t have to beat every puzzle to complete the game, you could have gone back and played all the games you missed.  And I did…and I cheated some more, just to get 100%.  I didn’t feel very good about myself, but dammit, I didn’t need further headaches either.  I vowed to do better with the next game in the series.  (And did I?  Stay tuned…! *cue dramatic drum solo*)

The village. Very British and VERY curious, no doubt. (source)

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