Britainâ€™s favourite tea loving archaeologist is back to his grand puzzling adventures with â€˜Professor Layton and the Lost Futureâ€™. This will be the third instalment from the Professor Layton series developed by Level-5.
The storyline commences with the sounds of bustling crowded streets, Big Ben chiming in the background and people walking through the streets ofÂ Englandâ€™s busy capital City London. Its here we see Professor Layton and his faithful side kick Luke Triton travelling on one of Londonâ€™s famous red buses. During their conversation we hear Professor Layton and Luke talking about a strange letter they have received. The letter informs the Professor and Luke that the mystery sender is in quite a predicament and urgently needs their assistance. The strange revelation of this letter is that it appears to be from Luke Triton himself, only ten years in the future. Theyâ€™re asked to head to the Clock Shop on Midland Road in Baldwin. Itâ€™s a rather peculiar letter and if it is authentic, how on earth did it arrive in the hands of the Professor and Luke? Is this really a letter from the future?
Flashbacks from a week earlier find the Professor and Luke at a demonstration from Dr Alan Stahngun, who after years of research in the field of time travel wants to share his new time machine. This time machine will be influential to their investigation as it travels through vortexes and wormholes. Prime Minister Bill Hawkes is in attendance at this audacious occasion and gives a speech to the locals within the city. Mr Hawks fully supports the idea of a time machine and steps inside for the next demonstration. As he steps into the time capsule, dials begin to turn on the front of the machine, and suddenly the capsule starts to vibrate and shudder, smoke bellows out of the pipes and without warning the time machine explodes into pieces and Bill Hawkes disappears. Has Londonâ€™s prime minster simply evaporated into thin air?
Game play is, as always, started with a simple tutorial for those not familiar with the Professor Layton series. The top screen shows the destinations that need to be reached and the bottom screen shows a shoe icon in the bottom right of the screen, and once youâ€™ve tapped the shoe, arrows then appear. Simply tapping an arrow allows the player to move in that direction. The game also gives you some brief information about Picarats. What are Picarats, I hear you cry? Picarats are basically points that indicate a puzzles difficulty. The more picarats a puzzle is worth, the tougher that puzzle is going to be. When you submit an incorrect answer for a puzzle, the number of picarats you can earn from that puzzle decreases. At the end of the day, sadly youâ€™ll not be getting every puzzle correct, so have that in mind when you suddenly see picarats decreasing, unless youâ€™re a super brain.
The Professorâ€™s trunk is another defining feature about this game. Inside we can see Professor Laytonâ€™s journal in which all the storyline is recorded in brief text form. The puzzle index shows the puzzles that have been solved or have yet to be unravelled. There is also the Toy Car, Parrot, picture book and save section. If you recall from the last Layton game, we were faced with challenges such as piecing a camera together in a briefcase, getting a rather over-sized hamster from point A to B and trying to brew some odd concoctions of tea while trying to find all the required ingredients.
This time gamers are faced with Toy car mini game. This mini game gives you an overhead view of a 8 x 7 square grid within which is a small toy car which needs to be negotiated around a course which is surrounded with flags you have to manoeuvre around or collect money bags. Players are given a limited number of up, down, left, right, movements in which to perform this task. Get it wrong and youâ€™ll end up in the trees with a crashed toy car. It takes a little while to get used to this puzzle, but itâ€™s very good and requires players to think ahead.
The picture book is a combination of stickers and storyline. During gameplay, players will have the chance to uncover a collection of stickers. These stickers are required in certain pages throughout the book. Clues are given in the storybook which you must work out, and will let you know which stickers go where to complete the 3 storybooks.
During gameplay youâ€™ll be introduced to the Parrot mini game. My parrotâ€™s name wasÂ Bob and Bob has the task of bringing an apple to me. Using the limited number of ropes available, you must guide the parrot to deliver a package. This involves placing ropes down in the right places in order for the parrot to bounce his way to the finish line. Again, this takes a little more precision thinking as these ropes are very bouncy. Bouncing the parrot the wrong way will mean only one thing for your parrot, and it’s not good.
There are 165 logical and lateral thinking puzzles in this game. All are aimed to test your skills of reasoning, thinking, and examine how well you can calculate puzzles. I would recommend this DS game to anyone who wants to explore their understanding of puzzles and gain a good insight in learning new skills in logical thinking. Some of the puzzles are very easy, while others have you going away and having a rethink. The puzzles consist of everything from solving maths equationsÂ to moving a red garnet from the bottom of a cluttered briefcase to the top. In all manner of speaking, Professor Layton does what it describes on the box, it fully immerses you into Laytonâ€™s puzzling adventures. Players will meet a selection of shady characters, a strange character known as â€˜the devil in the top hatâ€™, and finally find out what happened to the missing Prime Minister.
Professor Layton and Luke Tritonâ€™s relationship is always characterised with the full understanding that Luke will remain curious aboutÂ deep unresolved mysteries and Layton will proceed cautiously, but withÂ great humility with his puzzling adventure. The two remain completely faithful to the mysteries, always allowing each of them to reserve judgement before a mystery is solved. The storyline keeps players gripped from start to finish whilst they explore the city and interact with various characters throughout the game.
Personally I found that some of the puzzles were a little harder than last time and Iâ€™m notÂ sure why. The voice work in the game has been vastly improved with much more lip sync and greatly improved cutscenes. Professor Hershel Layton is the finest gentlemen with a debonair charm that every gamer will become fond of. Professor Layton is truly â€˜Britainâ€™s favourite tea loving master sleuth adventurerâ€™.