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Professor Layton and the Unwound Future is a puzzle solving game that marks the return of the titular Professor Layton and apprentice Luke Triton as they attend an event revealing a revolutionary time travel device, which leads to the duo receiving a mysterious letter after the device's sudden destruction, and inevitably step into London 10 years into the future. In which, the general populace is wary of Layton, specifically his hat, as they attempt to find "Future Luke," who turns out to be the one who sent the letter. What mysteries will they unravel on this journey through time?
The third game in the franchise, Unwound Future features many of the same elements as the previous incarnations. The story is told in the fashion of an old adventure game, where the player moves between static screens to talk to characters and find new clues to solve the case at large.
Logic puzzles, numeracy, mental co-ordination are just some of the puzzle types the player will come in contact with in this game. These puzzles are given by other characters or can be found by interacting with objects in the world. The puzzles are typically themed after the character or object that gives them. For instance, a character might have problems with a broken clock and it's up to the player to solve their problem.
There are three new minigames in this installment.
- The first is the Picture Book, which features a madlibs style sticker system, where the player has to fill in the missing words. The stickers are collected by completing puzzles in the game and new picture books are unlocked by completing previous ones.
- The second is the Toy Car Courses, where the player must guide a toy car around a course to collect items.
- The third minigame is the Parrot Delivery Errands, where the player draws ropes on screen to allow a hopping parrot to platform from one side of the screen to the other. The player has no control over the parrot but must draw the ropes in the correct locations to prevent the parrot from falling off the screen to an untimely demise.
- The parrot minigame is completely different in the Japanese version of the game. In that version, the parrot learns new words from dialogue throughout the game. The player then has to use these words to complete conversations between the parrot and various characters.
Throughout the story, the player is drip-fed minigames, unlocking them when they meet new characters or interact with specific objects.