This week’s Monday Night Gaming: Professor Layton & the Unwound Future, game #3 in the Professor Layton series.
The Professor Layton series is definitely one of my favorite game series–mystery coupled with puzzles and a full-fledged story line = WIN. The first two games played fairly straightforward, but with this 3rd game, the makers decided to turn the game on its head. Instead of a linear game as expected, we get a mystery-stuffed puzzle game that occurs in the present day and in the future (sort of).
Game Play: As like the two games before it, the player solves puzzles offered by characters in the game. The puzzles often advance the plot forward or give the player more information about the character. Players can use hint coins when stuck and most puzzles have no time limit. And as before, the puzzles are a variety of brainteasers (visual, math, logic, etc.). Because this game is on the DS/3DS, the touch screens make playability easy. There are also three mini-games:
- Sticker Books: The players collect stickers and try to place them in the correct order to tell a story. At the end, the player can read through a completely illustrated story.
- Parrot: The players train the parrot to carry items as it travels across ropes and platforms. The parrot can bounce off of certain walls the player can place, so it’s a puzzle to try and figure out the best scenario to get the parrot to the other side.
- Toy Car: The player creates a path of arrows to get the car to a specific destination while dealing with a multitude of obstacles. The arrows tell the car which way to travel.
There were also additional puzzles released when the game came out (1 per week). Unfortunately, Nintendo is stupid about this and turned off the ability to download the additional puzzles after a certain date, meaning that if waited to purchase this game (like me), you lost your ability to get the extra puzzles at all. Not everyone can afford to purchase a game at release, nor does everyone have the time to play it immediately. I feel like this move punishes people with busy schedules and the poor. Or hell, anyone who likes to buy used games.
Plot: Of all the Layton games I’ve played, this one is my absolute favorite. The story takes us into the future (sort of–trying to stay spoiler free) where we learn about Professor Layton’s past, including where he got that dapper hat! We also learn about other people the Professor has met before he met Luke. The setting is very steam-punk, which is also a big bonus for me.
This plot line, unlike the ones before it, is the most emotionally impacting plot line as the Professor has suffered a good deal of tragedy in his past. The writers could have turned this into the typical cliché handling of a tragic past, but they didn’t. It was written tightly and with a high level of tension.
What I Liked: The plot line. OMG. I honestly don’t know how they are going to top this. The plot line here is superb. Also, the music is amazing as usual!
What I Didn’t Like: There is the occasional puzzle that irritates someone with my “think-outside-the-box” brain, meaning that there are other answers or ways to solve it that the designers didn’t consider. Instead, you’re forced to solve it the way they think it should be solved. I’ve never liked that, but its a minor irritation.
Overall Rating/Impression: My absolute favorite Layton game. If you like mysteries, steampunk, and puzzles, you need to play this game. 10/10
(Images from the game are Copyright Level-5 and Nintendo and are used under fair use in order to review/criticize a product.)