Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box
Professor Layton and the Curious Village was of course a top game and one of those titles that gave the Nintendo DS a face of its own and a place in the gaming scene. Meanwhile we’ve finished the first adventures of the Professor and his annoying under-age assistant and it’s time to open up a new can of puzzles with Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box.
The entire game is put in the native language of the country it’s sold in, so for instance over here it’s in Dutch. Kids and mommy’s will no doubt applaud this and with good reason. The game is a lot more accessible due to this and also adults will find it easier to solve the puzzles. Too bad that the voicing isn’t always so great. For the rest there’s nothing to complain when it comes to presentation. Good music, atmospheric graphics, excellently animated and enchanting cut-scenes and menus and sounds that are spot-on.
Also the story appeals thanks to its originality, Japanese distinction and the rather comical setup. Layton gets a message from an old friend stating he has found the mythical Elysian Box and that despite the legend dared to open it. That the brave man is nowhere to be found after his last letter is therefore the start of a new mystery which leads our two friends quickly to the appartment of the missing person. There they find a train ticket for the famous Molentary Express and decide to take the same route. What follows are interesting locations, funny and well worked out characters and of course tons of puzzles.
Concerning gameplay the formula remained unchanged, only perfected. You need to click on locations or talk with people to discover puzzles and you can still find coins that can be exchanged for the (not always as helpful) tips. You’ll need these tips with all the brain teasing. Prepare for maths, visual puzzles like divided areas, do-puzzles like running through a maze, and of course a couple of trick-puzzles. More than enough variation and it comes in handy that this time you always have the possibility to take notes on the puzzles themselves thanks to the touchscreen.
New are also some extras like the possibility of producing tea from an abundance of ingredients. The right variation of tea then needs to be given to the correct person at the right time. You can also help a hamster with losing weight and afterwards putting together a camera which allows to take pictures and play a game of “find the differences). And just like in the first game solving puzzles will unlock more and more content while you can download extra puzzles each week through WiFi. Quite addictive and extensive, this game, which makes that you’ll spend dozens of hours with it.
It’s not a difficult assignment to puzzle together a conclusion. Just like its predecessor this game is beautifully put together, you get tons of fun and varied puzzles and a funny story to keep everything together. Those looking for innovation may be a bit disappointed but why out criticism on such a decent unique, magical, intelligent and immersive game!?