The Diabolical Review
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box is one of the few games that keeps it’s secrets close to the vest. The player never truly knows the whole story until the very end of the wonderful tale. Diabolical Box is the second game in the Professor Layton saga, and it takes many aspects of the first game, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, and improves upon them greatly.
The biggest change to the gameplay comes in the form of the new Memo function, which overlays a clear layer above any puzzle, and lets the player draw over to help deduce solutions to the puzzle. The Memo pad is incredibly useful in maze puzzles, as well as some of the more difficult math problems. Compared to the last game a lot of Diabolical Box’s puzzles fall into the “Maze” category rather than the brainteasers found in the previous game. This is a disappointment, as most of the fun puzzles from the previous game were in the form of riddles, and brainteasers. There still are some of these puzzles, but not nearly as many. The other gameplay aspect in the Professor Layton franchise, the adventure game style movement, remains largely unchanged. A few segments in the end game had strange directional issues, where what looked like down was actually going right instead. Diabolical Box plays it safe with gameplay additions, but the Memo pad is a feature that is truly useful.
To say that the story of the Elysian Box is one of epic proportions is an understatement. Professor Layton is tasked with discovering the mysterious secrets of the box after his friend Dr. Andrew Schrader mysteriously dies upon discovering secrets about the box, and its mysterious abilities. Upon examining the Doctor’s things he left behind the Professor discovers a ticket to board the infamous Molentary Express. From there Layton, and his apprentice Luke, venture to several towns looking for answers to this pressing mystery. Along the way Layton meets a myriad of interesting characters, along with some familiar faces from the previous game. The charming officer Chelmey makes a much needed return, as does the wonderful Flora. The thing that the Professor Layton series does incredibly well is the twists that get thrown in throughout the story. The story in Diabolical Box twists and turns like a road through the mountains, weaving in and out of different storylines; in the end however it all comes together and almost all of the questions are answered. The game ends with a truly incredible sequence of events that fulfills the entire ten hour quest to get there. To say that the ending of Diabolical Box is an outstanding achievement in game design and storytelling is an understatement. The ending is so well realized, and expertly throughout it rivals the giants of storytelling.
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box takes everything that the first game did so well, and adds on a few new features, along with a few new mini-games. The true difference between Diabolical Box and Curious Village however is the scope of its story. Diabolical Box tells one of the most interesting, and truly real stories I have ever experienced. The story is whimsical while still being quite serious. Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box is easily one of the best DS games on the market, and should be played. Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box tells a story that none should miss out on. Now, speaking of which, this review reminds me of a puzzle…