Is it bad that whenever I start to say “Professor Layton and the Curious Village” a part of me wants to say “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”? No, I have never seen the movie, something about that title just has a rhythm to it, I guess.
In this review, you will get two in one. “The Curious Village” and “Diabolical Box” (such a diabolical box!) I’m still trying to figure out if maybe this game is just more streamlined towards chicks . . . (I was speaking to “educkface”, apparently he hasn’t beaten the first one but his younger sister has beaten both of them) Maybe it is just part of my personal eternal quest to prove that I do have a brain, considering the game is purely brain teasers.
Actually, I loved this game because it did remind me a lot of sitting around the dinner table, post-dinner, listening to my dad reading brain teasers out of a book. Since I think I was around 10 when this was happening, I wasn’t able to inject much into the conversation, but it was definitely interesting to listen to my whole family reasoning their way through them.
For those who may think this game is PURELY brain teasers, which I must admit . . . I was a bit worried that was the case, the game does have a amazing (and brain teasing) plot. Both games have a twist at the end and, while I was able to guess the end to the “Curious Village” PARTIALLY, I was completely lost on the “Diabolical Box. It was very nice to have an unpredictable ending, games can be so friggin predictable these days. No imagination or anything, just END CREDITS.
Speaking of ending credits, these two games are shuffled into a category of very FEW games that I would encourage people to go through the credits. Not only are there pictures of what happens AFTER the game ends, but the music is fantastic. Both of these games have spectacular music. It was one of the few times that I went back through the “bonuses” of a game and listened to the music all over again. My personal favorite is “Iris”, played through (I thiiink) the end credits in “Diabolical Box” and available in a music box version under “bonuses”. These two games are the first games that after beating them I told Brad, “I just REALLY loved the music in these.” It’s so distinctive that you become aware of it every time you move to a new stage and they ALWAYS fit. I don’t think games put too much into music anymore, which is kind of sad, that’s why I loved seeing such a simple idea put to such beautiful music.
Something else that I appreciated with both of these games is that they are both very different but very linked to each other. In order to unlock a special “mystery door” in the first game you must have access to the second game, and vice versa. Now, if one of the games was absolutely horrible and forced the consumer into buying it I would be horrified, but in this rare case, both of the games are exceptional.
I will say that I was doubtful about purchasing this game at first, puzzle games are such a risk to purchase. I must commend the people who made this game, they managed to balance it out so perfectly that the whole thing was riveting. Not to mention they instill a drive to complete ALL tasks so that you can unlock special “puzzle rooms” which will appear after you have beaten the game. Also, the animated cut scenes in this were an absolute pleasure to watch. I have gone back through cut scenes and watched them again, they were just amazing. I also appreciated that none of the male characters looked like women.
Something that annoyed me a bit though is the voice acting, but ONLY when it comes to one character, and that’s Luke, Layton’s apprentice. In the “Curious Village”, Luke has a very strange cockney accent and when he solves a puzzle he has obnoxious lines like “Layton’s apprentice strikes again!”, they DID fix this in “Diabolical Box” which I greatly appreciated. It’s never a good thing when a character’s voice makes you want to mute the DS, especially when the music is so good. The voice acting in “Diabolical Box” was much better and the lines delivered after solving or incorrectly guessing at the puzzles were not nearly as obnoxious.
All of the characters that you interact with have their own personalities and you can grow to either love or hate them. Both endings of the game are bittersweet, which I also appreciated. I hate it when games always end on happy notes, it just doesn’t seem very realistic!
The puzzles in both of these games do not fit into a certain genre and are judged by what they call “ducarets” which you earn after the puzzle is solved. These are what unlock certain parts of the games. The puzzles are hidden around the cities that you are in and can also be retrieved by talking to people (always talk to them more then once and after you finish a section of the game, they’ll usually have more then one puzzle for you). If you get past a certain point and didn’t find a certain puzzle that you could ONLY get in that past section you can go to “Granny’s Riddle Shack” where apparently all the lost riddles go. (very helpful)
Both games also provide “Hint coins”, each puzzle allows you to use three hint coins (usually by the third hint they TELL you the answer), word to the wise though, if the first hint tells you that you are on your own, using up two more will do you NO good. I was curious so I tried it, and it basically tells you every time you use one “Ummm you’re on your own” sometimes to the point where it almost seems like the game is telling you that you are a moron. You get the hint coins by tapping parts of the area around you (they are usually hidden in windows and lamps).
They also both have construction puzzles, basically you collect pieces throughout the game and once you put all the pieces together you unlock something. “Diabolical Box” adds the bonus of being able to use the completed puzzle (a camera) to take pictures of certain scenes which will make a “Find the Differences” puzzle appear. Basically the subject of the photo (the scene) is put in the top screen while the picture you took is present in the bottom screen. There are three differences in each of these “Photo Puzzles” and once they are located, a puzzle is unlocked. This helps because it makes certain scenes which seem pointless, something rather interesting . . .
In the “Curious Village” you can get a hint coin sniffing robotic dog after you find all of his mechanical pieces (he’s actually quite cute), but I preferred the “Diabolical Box” version which is a hint coin sniffing hamster (I named him “Bellie”). “Bellie” is originally an obese hamster that is given to you so you can help him with his *ahem* weight problem. Once you succeed in getting him to his ultimate goal, he’ll sniff out coins for you! His voice isn’t nearly as endearing as the robotic dog bark though . . . *sigh*
If you like games like “Phoenix Wright” (if you haven’t played that series then shame on you and go buy them now, they are amazing) then I would DEFINITELY say buy these games. I really do think that everyone should at least try the “Curious Village”, but don’t let anyone tell you how it ends because it might kind of ruin the game for you =/ a bit . . . or a lot. I will tell you that this is a game that I would love to go back and play again, because there are so many puzzles they are impossible to memorize, and the story is just worth it. I doubt that after beating it you wouldn’t be able to go back through the whole thing and it just seem like a repetitive mess.
So go buy it, I’m sure your brains are all better then mine anyway 😉
Heads up on next post: It will either come from Brad or me, I said I was going to update with some Christmas nostalgia, unfortunately I’m so emotionally invested in the one that I’m working on . . . meaning if I start to REALLY write it I risk bursting into tears. Therefore I will employ Brad to maybe write it and I can comment on it. We’ll see how well I can do, I have STARTED it, it’s just difficult to keep my emotions in check . . .
I’m such a girl, psh.