by Chris Capel
reviewed on NDS
Third and Final
The third and final (yes, final, I’ll explain shortly) part of the popular Professor Layton series of adventure games finally arrives in English. Is it the best in the series or is it a puzzle too far? For the answer to this question, check the Hints. Or read on, whatever.
Riddle Me This
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, or PLUF as I’m going to cutely call it from now on, once again involves the puzzle-solving professor and his apprentice Luke getting embroiled in a shocking mystery. They have received a letter that claims to be from Luke 10 years in the future. Layton and Luke follow the advice of the letter and find themselves in a barely-recognizable future London. They have to find their way back to the past, unravel a mystery that gets deeper and deeper, and solve a few hundred puzzles along the way.
The great thing about the Layton games is that they don’t just throw a load of puzzles at the player, there is always an interesting and compelling story to tie them all together. As I mentioned, chronologically this is the last Professor Layton story – the next two games and the Eternal Diva movie are all prequels. Does this affect PLUF? Yes, yes it does, for the better. It fleshes out the characters of Layton and Luke and makes them far more relatable. All I’m going to say is: don’t play the epilogue on the bus or train. A gentleman doesn’t make a scene in public, after all.
PLUF follows the formula firmly established in the first two games and merely tweaks it here and there. Layton and Luke still wander about, prodding people and things to get either information or (more likely) a puzzle as they uncover more of the story. The actual gameplay tweaks are minor but improve the game a lot.
Never Pay More Than Twenty Hint Coins For A Computer Game
Hint coins are still scattered around each area, which allow you to unlock hints ranging from the blatantly obvious to near-enough giving the whole puzzle away. Now however if that third hint doesn’t make your brain click there’s now a fourth “Super Hint”, which costs two hint coins and is basically an ‘I Give Up, Tell Me The Answer Already’ option.
There were several puzzles in the last two games that had me clicking on my GameFAQs bookmark, so it is quite useful at keeping you in the game at least. While hint coins are still finite, a good search of anything obvious in the environment should net you easily enough to finish the game with.
Parrots, Picture Books and Toy Cars
As usual there are three minigames that yield various rewards, and are based on the same formulas as their forebears in Curious Village and Diabolical Box. The Parrot game is the hint coin detector, although it has to be said that I couldn’t get further than level 4 since the damn thing gets so devious. The Picture Book relies on objects collected from solving puzzles, in this case stickers, which you have to put together the correct story with. It is the easiest but still quite fun, but it’s a shame there’s only three stories.
Excellently designed puzzles, entertaining story, distinct anime style.
Repetitive music, really boils down to more of the same, my brain hurts.