Expressing My Love of the Professor Layton Series

Professor Layton

I’m not a fan of point ‘n’ click games, such as Monkey Island. I don’t like story-based games, including The Walking Dead and Heavy Rain. But a story-based point ‘n’ click puzzle adventure franchise? Yeah, for some reason, I’ll bite.

My first experience with the Professor Layton series came in the form of my brother using a totally-not-illegal device, that being the first of the games, Professor Layton and the Curious Village. Unfortunately for me, he was the one who had the opportunity to play through the majority of its narrative, and I only dabbed my toe in a few puzzles here and there.

Asking for the second game, Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box (Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box to any Americans reading), for the Christmas shortly after its release, I have pre-ordered all of the sequels, and now own all six games, plus the crossover with the Ace Attorney series. Let’s not forget, it got a pretty stellar film: Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva.

So how does this series appeal to someone who isn’t really into point ‘n’ clicks and ranks story among one of the lesser reasons to play any game? Well, Level-5 just got it right. They’ve made the story interesting enough to keep me hooked for a whopping seven games, and separating them into two main trilogies  always left me wanting more. After finishing the last game of the second trilogy, I’m still left wanting more.

What first draws me in to Layton titles is the astonishingly amazing art. The first four games feature hand-drawn art, until this style was fully rendered in 3D for the games on the 3DS. Its presentation is absolutely jaw-dropping, and that’s a cliché I simply cannot avoid.

All of the games start with a fully animated opening cutscene In fact, every cutscene is animated with voice acting to accompany it, setting up the story and putting you right in the game’s setting. And I must say, it’s always a great setting.

The first game in the series plops you in a small, quirky, little English village. Immediately, I saw the appeal of Level-5’s ambition. The French-inspired music, the English setting and, best of all, puzzles that both give me fun and sometimes cause me headaches.

I’ve always liked puzzles. I’m sure many people can agree that it’s easy to get lost in a puzzle, slowly working away and going at your own pace. Solving a challenging puzzle can genuinely be as satisfying as completing The Perfect Run, Ganon on the Master Quest with only three hearts, or beating Ninja Gaiden on the NES playing entirely with your feet. Thankfully, puzzles are dotted around Professor Layton games, with varying varieties and difficulty.

Professor Layton And The Azran Legacy Screenshot

With around 150 puzzles in the first four games and a whopping 500 in the fifth and sixth games, there are well over 1500 to keep anyone and everyone occupied for as long as possible. It’s not uncommon that I’ll jump into one of the games and re-solve a puzzle or two. How puzzles are even replayable is beyond me, but they are.

My personal favourite puzzles are interactive ones – sliding blocks, figuring out weights of objects and flipping slices of pizza. I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of the maths-based puzzles, but my most sizeable adorations go to the ‘think outside the box’ type. Sure, finally figuring out the answer makes you think you weren’t initially the brightest of the bunch, but it’s satisfying nonetheless.

I’ve only briefly touched on the story, but I have to mention the plot twists. They’re brilliantly ridiculous. From everyone being a robot, to an entire futuristic recreation of London under, well, London itself, I’m glad Level-5 remind us that the games are fictional. Doesn’t say anything about them being entirely impractical, though.

You won’t need a Hint Coin to guess who my favourite gentleman is. That’s a puzzle which is far too easy to solve. Professor Layton’s iconic top hat has led me through seven games and a film. It’s let me realise why I adore cracking the nut that every challenge has.

All I’m left with is wanting more. Another trilogy, or maybe even an HD collection on Wii U would sort me out. But I have nothing to complain about. I love the Professor Layton series, and if you do too, then please let me know why!

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About The Author

Opinion and feature writer

Suckling upon the gaming teat of an N64 growing up, I'm now a gamer who spends thousands of hours a year gaming and writing. I love it.