By: Johner Riehl
FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com Founder / Editorial Director
Professor Layton and the Last Specter is a sort of interactive cartoon featuring a number of puzzles sprinkled throughout the game’s story that will test players’ mental dexterity. There are brain teasers, number puzzles, logic problems and more, and they all are tied into a story line which sees Professor Layton and his assistant Emmy investigating a mysterious specter that is appearing and causing destruction in the town of Misthellary.
There’s a lot of text in Professor Layton and the Last Specter, and at times the game can feel like it moves pretty slowly as screen after screen of dialogue prevents players from exploring and playing puzzles. On one hand, we love the deep, interactive nature of the story, but on the other we found ourselves wishing sometimes we could just move things along faster.
Especially at the beginning of the game, the video scenes involve some nice voice acting, and at those times it feels as if you’re a part of a cartoon. But once you get into the game, most dialogue is presented as text only.
Moving around the town is sort of like a series of hidden picture games, in which each area is represented by a static image (and static characters). Many of the characters you encounter will offer up puzzles for the players to solve, and this is the real heart of Professor Layton and the Last Specter.
Each puzzle has an assigned level of difficulty and the higher the number the harder it is. If players can solve it on the first guess, they get all the points. Subsequent guesses earn less and less points. There’s also a nice hint system in place that can help players who may get stuck, and players can collect coins that can be redeemed for hints by “finding” them as part of each of the game’s static scenes.
Professor Layton and the Last Specter is highly recommended for tweens and teens. Kids and grown-ups will love seeing the mystery unfold as Professor Layton and Emmy work to solve the case. We love the emphasis on critical and creative thinking that’s found here, and think families will love this game as a great alternative to other mindless handheld games or apps. It's a great game to play cooperatively while looking over a shoulder.
INFORMATION FROM COMPANY FACT SHEET:
ESRB: E10+ (Everyone 10 and Older): Alcohol Reference, Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Violence, Simulated Gambling
Professor Layton is Back with a Puzzling Prequel
This fourth installment of the Professor Layton puzzle adventure series begins a new trilogy that is a prequel to the original games. Three years before the events in the Professor Layton and the Curious Village™ game, Professor Layton receives a letter from his old schoolmate Clark Triton, telling him that a "mysterious giant" is destroying his town." The professor heads to the town of Misthallery to investigate, and is joined by Emmy, his new assistant. What is the meaning of all the destruction, and is it related to the village's folklore legend of a "specter"? The unfolding story details how Professor Layton and his apprentice, Luke, met.
Players move the mysterious story forward by solving a multitude of brain teasers, riddles and conundrums. This game contains more puzzles than any in the series so far.
Free downloadable puzzles will be available weekly after the game's launch (broadband Internet connection required)
Players will get a bonus role-playing game called Professor Layton's London Life™ that contains 100 hours of additional content.
In the bonus role-playing game Professor Layton's London Life, the player's character lives in "Little London" with Professor Layton and a number of characters from the series. Players can customize their character with special clothing and collect items and furniture. Some of these help the player's character to enter certain areas of the city or perform tasks that help out the townspeople.