Professor Layton and the Curious Village
Stupid, that’s how I feel. I, the puzzle champion of the sixth grade, king of the quiz, master of logical reasoning, embodyment of common sense… I totally lost it.
And that because I went puzzling for a few days with Professor Layton, an oldfashioned gentleman with high hat and a soft English accent. A warm and loving man as well, someone with principles and I like that. Together we went to St. Mystere, a charming and pittoresque place, away from everything and everyone. You know, a village where nothing is what it seems, filled with intrigue and inbreeding.
Our goal was to solve the mystery of the golden apple that’s hidden somewhere in St. Mystere. To find the thing we decided to interrogate the local population. As such not a problem were it not that the remarkable inhabitants all share one passion: puzzles.
And puzzling you will. Just about every conversation ends up in a brain teaser where spatial view, you skill in chance calculation but most of all your common sense will be tested. The answers vary from simply filling in a number to putting up ropes, drawing lines, moving blocks, placing chess pieces or multiple choice.
Let me give an example:
Three identical umbrellas are laying in a bucket. Considering the three owners don’t look at the name tags, what is the chance that two out of three go home with their own one?
Or this one: five cats catch five mice in five minutes. How many cats would be necessary to catch 100 mice in 100 minutes?
A child can solve those, right? Well, apparently I can’t (anymore) as it took quite some time before I scribbled the correct answers (0% and 5 cats) on my touchscreen. It seems the years of excessive drinking and weak TV soaps are finally taking their price.
Still I managed to solve all riddles (about 130), which you can call a matter of prestige. The answers I found often on routine, sometimes with an ingenious idea, then with luck or with help of some hints. And those hints, of which you can unlock three per question, I used too much in my opinion. Especially as the answers are often so easy, so simple, that the “aha”-feeling afterwards came with a slight feeling of shame.
Still I have to admit that, despite the painful dent in my ego, the trip to St. Mystere is definitely worth doing. The game looks charming, the texts are well-written and the overall storyline is also quite alright. The many puzzles of course make for the largest part but they’re original and varied enough to keep you occupied for about 20 hours.
I’ve said it before but the DS is made for this type of adventurous puzzle games. Chilling at home on the couch or waiting on the train, each moment is suited to open your DS and solve a riddle. And if you’ve finished the great Advance Wars and have a brain age of 20 it might be time for a trip to St. Mystere. You won’t regret it, although…