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Professor Layton and the Curious Village (Nintendo DS)

86
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Pixelspeech (955)
Written on  :  Feb 07, 2012
Rating  :  1.57 Stars1.57 Stars1.57 Stars1.57 Stars1.57 Stars

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Summary

Nothing worse than a broken puzzle game.

The Good

The game has a very unique and interesting style that matches very well with the puzzle-solving theme. It's quite stylish and many of the buildings and people are designed to look like they are from the 40's. It's very pleasing to the eye to say the least.

Ehm... yeah, that's about all...

The Bad

As the title might suggest this game is awfully broken, it looked good when I started the game out, but very soon I started running into some stuff that was just wrong and reeked of poor play-testing. The most glaringly obvious of which was a puzzle with matches where I had to change an image by changing the positions of two matches. The first time the game punished me because apparently the wrong side was pointing up and the second time one match was apparently tilted slightly too far to one side. How do I know? Because after that I looked up a walkthrough and the images were the damn same!

In the good section I wanted to pull the most desperate card I can possibly use by saying: "Well at least it's a new IP!", but that would mean I'd acknowledge the fact there is actual creative thinking behind this game. Very early on I was faced with the ancient puzzle of the river and the chickens and the wolves, a puzzle I have only been asked to do like fifteen times since the new era started. There was also this broken puzzle where I saw the most poorly drawn map ever and they were talking about intersections, but I just couldn't figure out which of the shapes was supposed to be what. And just when I thought I had seen the worst they pulled the earlier mentioned matches puzzle, something as ancient as the invention it's based around. This, may I remind you, were the first ten minutes of the game.

The developers were also not aware of the difference between a puzzle and plain boring math. The fourth puzzle I ran into had me figuring out how often a digital 12-hour clock displays three or more of the same numbers per day. Dear, whoever the heck made these puzzles, I get crap like this two times a week in the form of school. I play puzzles to relax and face interesting challenges. There was also this puzzle (triggered by tapping on a completely random group of flowers in the background) where I had to calculate how much money some dude makes when he sows seeds on half a farmland as opposed to some other guy who plows twice as fast, but sows at a speed of 1/3. If you could follow that, congratulations and my apologies. If you made this puzzle, if you are throwing this at me then kindly fuck you.

The few puzzles that weren't rip-offs or just plain math were very easy to cheat, hell I didn't even need to put effort behind it. The punishment for failing is a decrease in points, something I couldn't care less about, so when faced with four different options I'd just go down all the options in order of whatever seemed logical. There were also puzzles you could keep restarting before submitting the answer, like one with weighs where one was not as heavy as the others and I had to figure out which with a limited amount of moves. I just kept throwing the same two weighs on the scale and kept resetting until one would come out different than the other, problem solved and full score.

The Bottom Line

I went into this game really hoping I would like it, but it didn't last more than 15 minutes before I put it down and decided there are a million things I'd rather do than playing this. I can forgive a game for starting out easy, but this was just downright silly.

Puzzles are either:

Broken or easy to break

Unoriginal math assignments

Variations are direct copies of overused puzzles

Too precise when it comes to answering

Compare this to Super Scribblenauts which had a very solid main mechanic and a lot of fun and interesting puzzles and contexts to back it up. It just makes it perplexing that it's Layton however that has the huge series, hell I had trouble finding out which game was the first to be released.

Since this review is based on but a fragment of the entire length of game you can take this review for what it's worth. The game was simply too flawed for me to continue playing. Definitely skip this one.