Professor Layton and the Last Specter
For anyone who isn’t aware, the Professor Layton games are a bit of an ongoing puzzle game series on the Nintendo DS. They follow the adventures of Hershel Layton, an archaeology professor, expert puzzle solver and a bit of a detective to boot.
However, if you’re a newcomer to the series, Professor Layton and the Last Specter is the perfect place to start. While it’s the fourth game in the series, it acts as a prequel to the first three, introducing us to key characters and showing us exactly where the professor got his start.
The game takes place in a village just outside of London called Misthallery, where lately a mysterious giant has been appearing and destroying homes and parts of the village. Everyone believes the creature to be the mysterious Specter, talked about in legends, said to appear whenever a magical flute is played.
We’re also introduced to a young boy by the name of Luke, who can seemingly predict when the Specter will next appear. Layton and his assistant, Emmy, are called to the scene by Luke’s father, and asked to solve the mystery and save the town in the process.
You navigate the game world using a point-and-click function, tapping on people and objects of interest to progress the plot, find a new puzzle or just get a bit of amusing dialogue from the characters.
Speaking of puzzles, you’ll be solving a lot of them through the course of this game. Every single person seems to have their own puzzle to give you, and the more you solve, the further you’ll advance in the game. They range from maths puzzles through to tricky word games and riddles that will have you sitting around for quite a while trying to figure out the answer. I can’t even begin to recall the amount of times I’ve had my whole family involved, coming up with different solutions together.
The soundtrack is amazing, and the game even features beautiful animated cutscenes that wouldn’t look out of place in a Studio Ghibli film, complete with brilliant voice acting, even if it is a little corny at times.
All of the character portraits and the backgrounds have this gorgeous hand-drawn aesthetic to them that makes you want to stop and admire each new screen you come across. Even when you’re done, there’s a lot of content to unlock that drives you to go back and find all those puzzles you might have missed.
But if you get a bit tired of puzzle-solving at any point and want a break, then this game introduces a new feature to the series called "London Life". It’s like an entirely separate game in which you create an avatar that can be customised at any point and use it to live out your day-to-day life in Little London, a world inhabited by the Layton series regulars. You run errands, get a job, get some money to decorate your house and buy new clothes, make new friends and just generally live your day-to-day in this adorable, miniature version of London. For anyone who’s played Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing, it’s a very similar concept.
So if you’re looking for a great brain teaser or two, or maybe just something to sit back and unwind with, check out Professor Layton and the Last Specter. It might get frustrating, but you’ll be rewarded for the effort you put in.
4 out of 5
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Articles Written by Grace H
Reviews written by Grace H
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