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Professor Layton and the Unwound Future (Nintendo DS)

86
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.7
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  MAT (70581)
Written on  :  Jan 26, 2012
Rating  :  2.83 Stars2.83 Stars2.83 Stars2.83 Stars2.83 Stars

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Summary

Layton and Luke strike back, but they miss

The Good

For a ridiculous story that it was, the presentation was not so bad, and the anime style cinematics (with occasional 3D elements) are quite a few, more as you draw near toward the closure and they seem anything but simple, which is nice. Even though the story presents various range of conflicts and emotions, it is all being resolved through the puzzles. It never gets old how Layton and Luke can find a hidden puzzle in the grass or wherever. They're gentlemen, and true gentleman leaves no puzzle unsolved.

Puzzles come in abundance and dialogs seem to be the side effect here, only to move the story a little bit further until the next puzzle. Mainly being a puzzle game, Professor Layton series are certainly among the finest and most fun to solve, each presenting an illustrious puzzles with hints and a way of collecting coins to pay for the hints. Having a top-layer to draw or calculate your own solution is a nice touch even though it is not necessary for majority of the puzzles.

There are a couple new mini-games now, such as the parrot game and car game, both which add some time to gameplay, and can be fun, especially the car game, but neither of them seem to offer multiple solutions to reach the goal which would've been slightly more fun to undertake.

So far I've only played one more Layton game, and while it was even more fun, it felt kind of quickly over. Unwound Future on the other hand turned out pretty long-winded for which I clocked over 20 hours of gameplay.

The Bad

After you finish the game and find out the entire story, all those people you met along the way seem very unlikely to have been there. It's actually downright ludicrous. While the story can get more emotional as you draw near the end, it is equally ridiculous and the lack of an actual happy ending for pretty much anyone is not so suitable for a game that sort of feels childish at heart.

In comparison with the immediate prequel, both setting and puzzles are mediocre at best. Many puzzles lack the proper description (and I don't refer to trick puzzles) and many are variations on the same one, such as trying to find a way out of a maze or pushing some buttons or rotating reflective mirrors and such. But in general, puzzles are not as fun as they were in the prequel.

While it is nice to have unlockable soundtrack and all, many tracks are downright taken from the older game version (if not, it is way too similar). Okay, main theme can be understood, even if there is no variation in instruments, but puzzle solving BGM, town exploring BGM, they all feel the same (it's been a while since I've played the prequel, but I am pretty confident most of the gameplay BGM didn't change). They should've followed the steps of Capcom's Ace Attorney series and at least renew all the tracks with each new game release.

The Bottom Line

If you can look past the story and the setting, this game will give you over 150 mediocre puzzles with additional mini-games, plethora cinematics and occasional voice-over. It's not a game that will require your utmost attention or become addictive while playing, but will do its share to keep you sleepless nights or long travels a bit more interesting.