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Review: Professor Layton And The Lost Future - Nintendo DS

by Steven Williamson on 11 October 2010, 15:55 4.6

Tags: Nintendo (TYO:7974), DS, Action/Adventure

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Find out how he obtained his well-renowned hat.

"If yesterday’s day after tomorrow is Sunday, what day is tomorrow’s day before yesterday?

The setting this time is London. Big Ben chimes majestically in the background as double decker buses and Hackney cabs bustle along the busy streets. Initially, it appears that the developer, Level-5, has captured the vibe of the "Big Smoke" very well. However, it soon becomes quite clear that the creators obviously haven’t visited the U.K. that often. The architecture of the buildings mimic a French style, while the accordion-heavy music that tinkles along pleasantly as you explore the streets creates a sound that you’re more likely to hear while sitting outside a Parisian café than a noisy Piccadilly Circus. Nevertheless, the cockney accents are spot-on and it’s a charming looking game with fine attention to detail in the drawings and impressive animations.

Once again, the gameplay is solely based around dozens of brain-teasing puzzles designed to test your math, logic and puzzle solving skills to the max. There are visual and jigsaw puzzles, word and mathematical games,Tangrams and Sokobans, connundrums and riddles -- lots of variety and lots of gameplay hours to get through. The introduction of more downloadable puzzles shortly after release looks to add further replay value. Such is the creativity of Level-5 in the way that they've designed the puzzles, you rarely come across the same type of question. Cleverly, they've spaced out similiar puzzle types but also made each one feel unique by disguising them in new ways, and often making them relevant to the storyline.

Like past Professor Layton games, you navigate around the city using your DS stylus, interacting with parts of the environment and talking to characters who reveal information in return for solving their puzzles. Puzzles are once again rated by difficulty with Picarrats and reduce in value should you get the answer wrong, so your end score determines just how clever, or dense, you really are! Gold coins make a return and can be spent in exchange for hints to the solutions. The most notable addition to the series is the Super Hint, which costs you two gold coins. It's a brilliant inclusion which eliminates some of the frustrations that you might encounter if you can't solve some of the more trickier puzzles. Embarrasing to admit, perhaps, but this is the first Professor Layton game where we haven't had to search online for an answer! Of course you don't have to use the Super Hint, but it's nice to have the option here if you really need it.

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