An excellent addition to any DS owners' library
As I--and many--argue, gameplay is the most important aspect of a game. Arguably, without this aspect a game would crumble. Professor Layton, however, excels in this aspect. Nearly every one of the puzzles made me think logically; almost all of the answers are something seemingly incorrect. Albeit there were a few easy puzzles that I solved with a mere glance, most of the puzzles made me sit down and think "how does this work?"
As if the puzzles weren't enough (most any other game developer would probably release this game as a compilation as puzzles as opposed to a full-fledged game), you explore St. Mystere, interacting with the villagers and uncovering hints, items, and bonus puzzles. The game is very friendly to both hardcore and casual gamers, allowing people to clip along at a quick pace, or take their time to solve every puzzle that they come across.
The gameplay, overall, was superbly well done. I could barely keep myself from playing start to finish. To top it all off, there is a new downloadable puzzle every week. Unfortunately, hackers have uncovered that the puzzles are actually already on the cartridge and connecting to WiFi merely unlocks them, so that probably won't last very long. But while it does, the bonus "downloadable" puzzles are quite entertaining, and provide an extra chunk of entertainment for gamers already finished with the main game.
One of my favorite things to see in a game is a fantastic story that keeps me drooling for more. That is exactly what Layton serves up; an intriguing, mysterious story. Professor Layton and his apprentice, Luke, are called to St. Mystere to investigate a so-called "Golden Apple," which if found, will grant the finder a late baron's entire wealth and estate. As the story proceeds, you continue to unlock more and more mysteries that keep you guessing as to who--or what--is behind the strange happenings of St. Mystere.
However, as good as the story is, there was one thing that I disliked. I never really connected with the characters as if they were real people--specifically, Professor Layton and Luke. I've seen that done incredibly well in another one of my favorite DS games, Hotel Dusk: Room 215, in which I connected with the interestingly woven characters incredible well. But in this game, the characters felt dead, so to say. Albeit this minor complaint, the story is superbly enacted out throughout the entire game.
The graphic style is unique. It is unlike everything that we have seen before. The characters vary in sizes and shape--even completely round. The color in the game is a mix of vibrant with pale and dull colors, providing a quite good contrast. In game graphics are just as stunning with beautiful cut scenes and amazing backgrounds. However, there are a few jagged edges on a couple of the characters and you can see a bit of image noise during the cut scenes. Overall, however, the graphics are some of the best 2D graphics that the system has to offer.
As I mentioned last paragraph, there are beautiful cut scenes, but I didn't mention that they are fully voice-acted. The characters are chosen superbly (save for a couple) and the voice-acting is some of the best in a Nintendo game. Only one character's voice did I dislike, and that was Luke. He seemed too whiny to me. Despite that, the characters are wonderfully voice-acted and it really adds a whole new level of interactivity to the game.
Music is an important aspect of a game. It can set the mood for an important scene, or present a situation in a different way. Professor Layton's music is well-done. From the first menu, the gamer is presented with clever little tunes that present the correct mood for the game: mystery. While a few of the songs are a bit repetitive, most of the game's songs are incredible.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a wonderful little game that will keep you entertained. While the adventure is a bit short (I completed it in 12 hours or so), it is well worth the $35.00 price tag. I recommend picking up this rare gem.