I’ve been playing the Professor Layton games since they first appeared on the DS and now the top-hatted clever clogs and his assistant Luke have now come of age and are represented in full 3D on the Nintendo 3DS. Emmy’s along for the ride as well as they attempt to solve the mystery of a masked figure who appears at the start of the game and turns all the revellers having fun at a carnival into stone! Obviously this kind of thing is simply not on so off the team trot to question the townsfolk, solving a load of puzzles and finding hint coins scattered around the land on the way.
The first thing you’ll notice is the tweaked control scheme. No longer do you tap frantically on the bottom screen looking for clues, puzzles and coins. Now you use the touch screen to control a magnifying glass which scans the top screen. When there’s something to investigate or zoom into, the magnifying glass highlights the area and you can tap on it. It’s much more streamlined and works a treat, although it can be a pain tapping each object three times as Hershal, Emmy and Luke each have a comment about a lamp, a bush or the architecture of a museum they’re about to go into. The graphics have also leapt into the 3D realm – not only are the environments better for it, there are even sections where 3D models of the characters do their thing as well as 3D versions of the hand-drawn cut scenes.
In terms of gameplay things are largely the same. There are a variety of puzzles including sliding blocks, solving riddles and mathematics problems and some new toys to play with including a pet rabbit which acts as a sort of virtual pet where you teach it tricks for use in a show and a toy robot which you must make reach the goal in a number of moves, navigating blocks and moving platforms on the way.
There are also some odd mini games in there which don’t quite fit right. A scene where you chase a winged spectre via horseback springs to mind which just isn’t something you’d expect to find in a Layton game!
Once again the Professor and his chums have come up trumps on their first foray into 3D so the game can’t get any less than a 9 out of 10.
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