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Puzzle game provides unique game play (VIDEO)

Game provides intriguing atmosphere, puzzles

[/media-credit] The Curious Village Nintendo DS game cover
Professor Layton and the Curious Village is the first installment in the Professor Layton video game series by Level-5 for the Nintendo DS and DSi. Professor Layton and the Curious Village, released in 2008, follows one of the Professor’s investigations. But unlike his other mysteries, this one must remain top secret, for reasons only known to the people present and the player.

Hershel Layton, the perfect picture of a modern-day gentleman, is a professor of archaeology at the fictional Gressenheller University in London, England. He also happens to be investigating a murder, tracking down a kidnapper and attempting to settle an inheritance dispute.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village is classified under the Puzzle genre. The goal of the game is to gather clues to solve an ultimate mystery and the mini mysteries that come with it. To do this the player moves around town and questions the characters in the game. Most often the character will give a puzzle to the player to solve. Puzzles can also be found hidden around the game and act as locks to locations the player can later explore.

The puzzles take advantage of the Nintendo DS’s dual screen feature, with the instructions for the puzzle displayed on the upper screen and the puzzle itself on the bottom touch screen.

The game seems simple enough upon first glance. Professor Layton and his apprentice, Luke Triton, have received a letter inviting them out to the village St. Mystere to search for a lost inheritance known as “The Golden Apple”.

The game opens with Luke and Layton talking to each other in Layton’s car. Layton asks Luke to pull out the map enclosed within the letter with directions to the village. Much to Luke’s surprise, the map is in the form of a puzzle.

Unlike some puzzle games, the puzzles are intriguing and entertaining. It can be hard to put the game down, even for gamers who don’t enjoy the genre.

Upon arriving at the village and meeting many curious villagers, Layton and Luke arrive at Reinhold Manor, whose owner, Baron Reinhold, recently passed away.

After meeting with Dahlia, Baron’s wife, Layton and his apprentice begin their investigation. Almost immediately after beginning their search, a booming crash is heard and the entire manor shakes violently.

The tremor frightens away Lady Dahlia’s cat and everyone is preoccupied in finding the feline and the source of the noise and tremor. Upon their return to the manor, they discover Simon Reinhold, a suspect in the case, has been murdered.

The story goes deeper and deeper as answers uncovered just produce more questions. Who or what is taking the villagers? Why are there gears lying around town? What is the point of the huge, foreboding tower in the center of town? And why does everything remind Layton of a puzzle?

The storyline is not the only appealing part of the game. This puzzle game features animated cut scenes that look like they came out of a movie and voice acting for the characters, which I have never seen on a Nintendo DS game before.

Even the soundtrack, featuring the violin, accordion, piano, drums, chimes, bells and a fitting tone for each situation, is beautifully made. At times I wished to just leave the game on to enjoy the music.

One of the only flaws in the game is that the game is short. If a gamer played the game for about three to four hours everyday they could complete it in about a week.

Along with that the solution to the mystery seems a bit easy to guess toward the middle of the game, though it was still quite enjoyable to play.

The puzzles themselves ranged from sliding puzzles to math problems to riddles. Instead of the usual, boring puzzle explanations, humor was often integrated into the illustrations and instructions. If the player skips a puzzle or does not discover one of the hidden ones while cruising around town, the puzzle can be found in Granny Riddleton’s Shack, a little house where all the puzzles you miss go and wait to be solved.

Overall, with Professor Layton and the Curious Village’s unique story line, intriguing puzzles, beautiful animation and unforgettable songs, such as the one that plays while solving a puzzle, the game is definitely worth some attention and will leave the player wanting more. Professor Layton makes a return appearance in the second game as Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box.

For more reviews, read the Oct. 13 article, Fair food leaves senior full, includes multiple meals (VIDEO).

Follow The Feather via Twitter and Instagram: @thefeather and @thefeatheronline. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @ejLadd

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