It's the professor's debut on the gaming media,but did it manage to crack up the case,or did something went wrong on the process?
Curious Village is a game that combines the style of puzzles and point-and-click games,so let's start off with the story.
The story starts with Professor Layton and his young assistant,Luke,driving to a mysterious village,known by the name of St.Mystere,by the request of woman named Lady Dhallia,recent mother of a rich family,and they're looking for an important object to the village,the Golden Apple.Once they arrive,Manny,the one who's responsible to lower the bridge,apparently has his gizmos out of their mechanical spot,but the duo manages to get pass the bridge either way.Starting off from that point,it's a series of strange and mysterious happenings,and you'll explore every part of St.Mystere,so you can uncover the biggest case out of them all,but I rather not talk about it,since that'll be giving spoilers off for free,but in conclusion,the story's pretty well written,with a great presentation a timing to explain everything.
The gameplay has two styles of a point-and-click game and a puzzle game,as mentioned before,so I'll talk about how both of these styles affected the gameplay experience.Curious Village will have you moving around the village of St.Mystere,while talking to some other side-characters,which I'll discuss on them later on,finding puzzles through them,and even some hidden ones,finding Hint Coins(which'll help you if you're stuck in a certain puzzle,but be warned they're limited,so you might want to not use them desperately),and more.The other style is the puzzle solving,which plays a major role in this game,and there are over 120 of them in this game.In those puzzles,the top screen of the DS will give the description of the puzzle,while the bottom screen will serve to do the solving,and some of them will have you choosing between certain alternative answers,answering with a certain number and other,and they range from various different situations.I mentioned about the Hint Coins before,and the purpose of them in puzzles is to give you hints that will help you in case if you're having trouble to find the puzzle's solution.You'll get 10 of them from the start,and you'll have to find more of them throughout certain locations in the game,but as stated before,don't go using them in every puzzle you encounter,since I'm pretty sure that you'll end up needing them in certain point in the game.When you finish a puzzle,you'll be awarded with a specific number of Picarats,which purpose is to unlock extra content,such as character profiles,arts,music,voices,and cutscenes.The tougher the puzzle is,the bigger the number of Picarats.You must be careful to not end up with a wrong solution of a puzzle,since the number of Picarats will be increased,if such thing happens,so you might want to analyse your answer before clicking the Submit button.Not all of the puzzles need to be solved to finish the main story,but you'll have to reach a certain number of them occasionally to reach the final part of it,and there will be specific puzzles that will need to be solved in order to progress further in the story.You can always give another try at them,after solving them for the first time.
The game also features 3 mini-games,and you'll earn more pieces for usage on them as you solve certain puzzles on the story.I'll go into detail about each one of them:
Gizmos:In here,you'll need to collect gizmo peaces to end up with a certain robotic form,that will help you on finding hidden puzzles and Hint Coins in the village.
Inn:Your objective here is to design Layton's and Luke's inn rooms,according with their satisfaction on the object you got.Some of them will be specifically for eather one of them,while some will work for both.
Painting:Arrange pieces of a paiting to form a picture,by rotating each piece and putting them in certain spot.
When you complete one of these mini-games,you'll unlock three puzzles of Layton's Challenges,which are basically tougher puzzles,with more Picarats than any puzzle in the game.You can unlock more of the by finishing the main story,and solving all of the puzzles available in the main gameplay and the ones from the previous Layton's Challenges.
The game will have occasional cutscenes,which takes the "anime-ish" style to express certain parts of the story,and they're incredibly done,by having perfect pace to specific moments,and having certain number and time to watch them,so it'll have the feeling that you're still playing a game,never feeling like an interactive movie,since I bet that certain point-and-click games could be a gameplay mechanic on a DVD/Blu-Ray movie of some sort.Overall,they're amazing.
The characters in Curious Village are very well-written in terms of personality,design,characteristics and more,and this statement goes for ALL of them,not only the main characters,but I'm going to talk about the two protagonists of the game.Professor Hershel Layton is an archeologist professor from England,and he's quite famous through his country,by always solving cases,including the most thoughest ones,but he's also quite the gentleman with people,and always doing the right thing.He also states that every puzzle has a solution,and that a true gentleman never leaves a puzzle unsolved,and they're quite true and inspirational.The other protagonist I want to talk about is Luke Triton,Layton's young assistant,always cheerful and looking to help the professor when possible.He also can somewhat communicate with animals.
Last thing I want to mention is the soundtrack,which is amazingly composed,with lots of great and memorable pieces of music.
The British professor's debut was a great start-off for the franchise,with many memorable characters,well-made puzzles and gameplay,amazing soundtrack and cutscenes,good story and cases to keep the player interested until the very end,and overall incredible work put into it.Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a great option for your DS stack of games,and a must-have for those who like investigation/mystery and suspense games.It's certainly one of the best DS games out there.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village R-view
Review #3 of my series of game reviews