Videogame Review #1-- "Professor Layton" Franchise

Videogame Review #1--"Professsor Layton" Franchise


Hello, fellow Movellians! NinjaTogepi here, with an idea for a blog that I hope will not suck... 

As can probably be gathered, I would like to start a blog on videogame reviews! Videogames are pretty much my obsession, and what better way to get all this information and critique out of my brain than rant on and on about it on Movellas!

Er--forget I said anything... 

Without further ado, lemme begin with one of my favorite videogame franchises ever: Professor Layton. 


The Professor Layton franchise is a puzzle based adventure videogame developed by the company Level-5 for the Nintendo DS and 3DS. The games follow the puzzle-loving archeologist Professor Hershel Layton and his young apprentice Luke Triton, as they solve mind-boggling mysteries that lead them on incredible adventures. 

The first three games of the series (The Curious Village, The Diabolical Box, and The Unwound Future) focus on the duo's later accomplishments, while the next three (The Last Spectre, The Miracle Mask, and The Azran Legacy) relay how the two met and their early years together. 


The gameplay is rather unique. I might go even as far to say that there is no gameplay. At least, not in the common sense of the word. The player controls the party of investigators as they travel throughout different areas of the map, which is divided into intricately drawn images of the walkways and corridors you may explore. You are given a conflict at the beginning of each game, and are sent into the town to solve it by...solving puzzles. I won't lie; it's a strange concept, especially for those that do not like straining their brains while playing their games.

Players are given riddles while they trek through the game's location. When presented with these puzzles, there are a certain amount of Picarats available to earn. Picarats are a currency that can be used in the game's bonus features. The more Picarats the puzzle is worth, the more difficult it is. And the more the player submits the incorrect answer, the more Picarats are depleted from that total available to earn. If the players need help with a puzzle, they can spend Hint Coins on clues, another currency of which are strewn about in every nook and cranny of the town.

These puzzles can be found literally everywhere, and can be given by people you encounter, or objects you interact with. Some of them can even have an impact on the mystery and story, while others are no more than a fun little challenge or a Picarat grind.

Throughout Luke and Layton's journeys they delve deeper into the town's history, meet aquaintances and foes along the way, and uncover secrets that no one else would have thought to look for. But that is what the gentlemanly Professor does best; solves puzzles. As he always says: "Every puzzle has a solution!" 


The game is very much story-based. If such thought-provoking and heart-wrenching stories weren't present, the games would simply fall flat. At the end of every game I find either my eyes misting, or my heart throbbing. (To put in perspective, I rarely ever cry at videogames.) Whether it be bringing together families, proving a character's innocence, reuniting loved ones (*bawls*), or even so much more, this franchise somehow can take farfetched mysteries and abnormal gameplay and turn them into epics of love, or bittersweet tales of loss. 


The art style is sort of a Western form of Japanese anime (which is interesting, because the game was made in Japan...). The backgrounds of the different areas you explore are drawn with the utmost care. The environments fit the mood and tone of the games, in both the wide variety of color and the great attention to detail in every panel.

I wouldn't be shy to say that perhaps a good third of the game is a combination of both cutscenes and dialogue with animated cutouts. In conversations, while the animations of the characters are simple yet fitting, the cutscenes...oh, don't lemme even get STARTED on the cutscenes! For merely games for the Nintendo DS and 3DS, the cutscenes are astonishingly detailed. If shown on a television, I would have never guessed that they were made to be shown on an itty bitty screen like that. It is obvious that the developers took the painstaking time to make sure the game was as charming as could be. And it certainly paid off, I would say. 


There is none, I am sorry to say. Since the gameplay is all based around the player solving puzzles, there aren't a seperate selection of riddles for another playthrough. You would be answering the same riddles you encountered before. This, of all things, I believe is the games' biggest flaw, for lack of a better word. 


There is an option at the title screen that reads BONUSES. When selected the player has a choice of four options: Puzzle Index, a list of all the puzzles solved in the game's story mode; Dowloadable Puzzles, where the player's pretty self-explanitory; Layton's Challenges, a complilation of extra puzzles that can be unlocked from the game's story mode, and award extra Picarats to the player when solved; and Top Secret, which is where the Picarats come in. There the player can read characters' profiles, listen to their voice acting, look at cutscene art, and watch animated cutscenes, but only once a certain amount of Picarats are earned. Also, there is a place to enter codes from different games in the franchise, which unlock concept art and whatnot. Other than that, there is not much else to cover upon the topic. 

Well, there it is. The Professor Layton franchise is certainly an unusual style of gaming. But that doesn't by any means imply that it is bad. For the gamers that don't mind riding in the backseat to let the story take them places, and aren't afraid to strain their brains and go on unimaginable adventures alongside Luke and Layton, the games are definitely worth a shot. Personally, I recommend it for a calm, yet mind-engaging, experience. 


Wow, my first blog. I can't believe you sat and read the entire thing. I'm impressed.

Honestly, I'm not sure if this is something I should continue. 

Feedback is very much appreciated (though I would prefer respectful critique...). 

Thank you, and have a fabulous day! \(^_^)/

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