The well known Layton smirk heralds this final installment in the series.
Professor Hershel Layton, the world renowned archaeologist and tea drinking gentlemen, bids a final farewell in the last instalment of the Professor Layton series, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy from Level-5.
Over the years, we’ve grown to love Professor Layton and his faithful sidekick Luke Triton as they’ve graced our handheld screens with enigmatic charm and quirky personality. We’ve seen the Professor solve a multitude of mysteries and uncover a number of villains in different locations, and it’s a sad time to finally part ways. But as much as I have enjoyed the Layton series, I think the game has reached its full potential. Best to leave now, before the magic of Professor Layton and his mysterious life become simply mundane.
In Azran Legacy, the game sticks to the same formula we’ve become familiar with in the Layton series. Professor Hershel Layton finds himself in the middle of a mystery to solve and a number of secrets to unravel along the way.
Professor Layton receives a letter from Professor Desmond Sycamore informing the puzzle genius that he has discovered a living mummy and asks for Layton to come to the snowy town of Froenborg and investigate this mystery. Hershel Layton is accompanied by trusty sidekick Luke and Emmy, Layton’s assistant, as they travel in the airship Bostonius to the frozen mountains of Froenborg to unravel the mysteries of the ancient Azran world. Once arriving, after having to initially show evidence that Layton is the real Professor, the adventure begins. You hear news that the local residents are being troubled by some uniformed thugs who have been prowling the streets and you start your investigation. Visiting the local area, you’ll become acquainted with a selection of colourful characters, whose aim is to help and guide you. Exchanging conversations results in gathering information about a mysterious sealed cave, which has an impenetrable ice wall.
With little information to go on, Layton sets out to explore this strange mysterious cave, where a young girl has been frozen in time within the ice for many years. Once she is free from the perils of the ice that has kept her prisoner, it’s not long before the mischievous Targent organization turn up and kidnap her, setting the mystery of the girl at the forefront of Layton’s quizzical mind.
As in previous Layton titles, your objective is to talk to local residents, unravel mysteries and puzzles and make a full investigation in the area. As before, you can use your magnifying glass to explore and investigate the environment and engage in conversations, as well as collect a number of objects used in the treasure hunt mode within the game. If you’re lucky you might discover some much needed hint coins hidden around the game and this all helps if you get stuck on one of those really tricky puzzles.
The puzzles within the game vary greatly from one to the next, with all manner of logical or lateral thinking puzzles, some which will make you feel clever, and some that make you feel stupid when you realize how obvious the answer was.
Layton users will be familiar with the trunk, which is host to Layton’s Journal, giving you a step by step layout of the storyline, the standard puzzle index, episode and various mini games. The mini game collection provides small games to give you a break from the storyline. The Dress Up game is a little strange to be honest, but it’s been randomly injected into the game. In this game, you’re asked to serve a customer and are provided with various fashion items to dress them in, but your only clue of what they want come in the form of subtle hints. It’s a little bit like Style Boutique, where you’ve got to randomly dress NPC customers purely based on a small conversation with them. Another mini game titled Nut Roller involves taking the role of a squirrel rolling a walnut around a grid, avoiding dangers and peril along the way. While most of these mini games cause a slight distraction from the main storyline, they feel short lived and an unnecessary addition to the game.
The rhythm and pace of the game feels just as Layton friendly as always, allowing you to feel immersed in the Professor Layton world. Graphically the characters and voices have advanced over the years and this latest addition to the series is as good looking as ever. The game has some nice cut-scenes to keep you mesmerized through your journey and you’ll find it difficult to fault. With over 500 riddles, brain-teasers and interactive puzzles to solve; it’s sure to keep you entertained and amused for some time to come, and don’t forget the fact that even when you have completed the game there’s an additional puzzle to download every day.
While I am a little sad that the genius top hat wearing mastermind of the puzzle world has come to his last adventure, I’ve enjoyed getting to know the great Professor Hershel Layton throughout the years. Not only has he taught us a lot about solving puzzles, he’s taken us on a journey of discovery about his world and the characters within it. ‘Professor Layton was a true gentlemen’ and will be sorely missed, but always remembered as the greatest puzzle solving master of all time. It is no great puzzle to work out that Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy is the best of the Layton games, and a fitting final installment in the series.