Picarats for your brain
Nintendo DS is in some way focused in different games for people of any ages as well as Wii is. Professor Layton and the Curious Village is another game of those, featuring many different puzzles playable by anyone with a main interesting background story which is the biggest mystery in the whole game.
If Nintendo continues providing this kind of games, soon we'll have a new generation of super humans.
The structure of the game is easy, you play with your stylus, walking around the streets of the village like a detective solving the mysteries of the main storyline, talking with the village's inhabitants and collecting information about the village and what happens there. Most of the characters that live in the village will challenge you with different puzzles, which have nothing to do with the main story. You can also find new puzzles by examining concrete things, for example, if you examine an empty bottle you'll have a puzzle with empty bottles or something related.
Most of the puzzles are difficult, but you have coins to get extra hints. You can collect those coins examining objects in the screen and you'll have three hints for each puzzle. Puzzles are really different and unique, including math problems or classic puzzles. Variety of the puzzles is one of the best points of the game.
Talking about technical aspects, graphics are original too, combining the Asian anime with the European feeling (I've noticed a french essence during the whole game) that really works. You have also cutscenes in which you can appreciate that combination clearer.
Besides the main story and the puzzles during your adventure, you'll get extra objects like furniture for your bedroom or parts for a mechanical dog. Once you've completed the mechanical dog he will help you finding coins in the stages. When you've completed one of those "side quests" like collecting all the things for your bedroom and place them as they should be you'll unlock new puzzles, in theory the hardest ones, to complete the experience of the game.
Any puzzle could be played at any time, which is something great for casual players that only want to play some puzzles or just try the game, without having to play the main story. There's also a place in the village where you can try again all the puzzles that you've not beaten.
To start with, you can figure out what's happening (talking about the story) really soon... and you'll be right. The storyline is beautiful anyway, but more surprising parts should've been better.
Some puzzles doesn't need the use of coins, but you may use your coins if you get stocked up in one puzzle looking for help. Sometimes you just use one of them because the hint says "there are no hints for this puzzle" or something like that, but some puzzles have vague hints that doesn't help you at all.
Picarats aren't as important as they could be. Picarats are like points that you'll get once you've beaten a puzzle. If you've done it at the first attempt you'll get more of them, if you need more tries picarats will be reduced, bu they're not important because there's no use of them during the game, is just like a meter and nothing more, just to say "hey, I've beaten the game with all the available picarats".
The most part of the puzzles could be solved by logic, but some of them require basic arithmetic concepts, which is something that not all the people know. Anyway you can use your coins to get extra information, but if you've used your three coins and you still don't know what do you may have a big problem.
Music's good, but there's only one song during your adventure, really mystic and suitable with the game essence, relaxing and many other adjectives, but just one.
The biggest problem of the game is the one that any game like that could have, a bad explanation of the puzzles. It only happens in a few of them, but when it happens it's a problem that will angry you. What's worst, some of the puzzles may have alternative solutions, and the game only accept one of them. All those things happens just a few times, but...
Game's funny (at least until you get stocked up in one puzzle from hell), but once you've beaten it there's not much things to do because now you know how to solve every puzzle. The only thing that you may do is complete the extra puzzles unlockable or beat the puzzles that you didn't beat before, but there's nothing special in completing the game twice.
The Bottom Line
A nice game for all the people who loves puzzles and mysteries, and the worst game on Earth for those who prefer solving their puzzles shooting a shotgun. If you're in between, you'll enjoy a unique game with a beautiful design that will make you feel clever. The only danger in this game is smashing the cartridge down because you got stocked in one puzzle.