On… Professor Layton

A true gentleman leaves no puzzle unsolved.

Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box

Before we look at the depth and the variety of the gameplay, the epic-ness of the soundtrack or the brilliance of the story; we must take note, that Layton is one of the most amazing characters ever conceptualised. Level 5’s founder Akihira Hino has cemented his place in the world of games, with a number of incredible creations. And personally, I believe that Layton is the greatest of them.

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future developed by Level 5. The third game is chronologically the last adventure of the Professor and his assistant Luke.

The Professor Layton franchise if you haven’t played it, is a puzzle game. There is a multitude of puzzle ranging from sliding pieces, riddles and mathematical problems. The gameplay has no defining feature, except the puzzle. Yet in Professor Layton it works. The puzzles are the mechanics, whether you struggle or find them a breeze; Layton hooks you. With so much variety a great depth is created. You might not be climbing cathedrals or stringing together a massive kill streak, yet Layton asks you to do something very simple… think; this is where the depth is the created. Primarily, I play Layton during does moments when I feel blank. When I need something to stimulate and get the little grey cells working again; while I’m not ashamed to admit that often I have asked for help. Never has a problem too hard, left me fatigued; it’s the opposite I feel energised with the determination not to be bested.

Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, a cross-over between two of handled gaming’s most iconic heroes. Developed by Capcom and Level 5 published by Nintendo

Now the music of Professor Layton is incredible, and that is essentially enough said. Between the six games you won’t find anything better, each is equal to the other; in grandeur and scope. I remember hearing the opening music to ‘Curious Village’ and it was instant… I had fallen for the spell. The music composed by Tomohito Nishiura is rich and full of detail enchanting players. Each composition is unique, not only sets the mood and tone but also fits in perfectly with the overall aesthetic of each game.

Of the six games which make up the main series, the prequel stories are objectively the best. However, honourable mention must go to ‘Professor Layton and the Lost Future’. Layton’s story would be just as compelling in a novel or film. You push through each challenge to find out where the journey will take you, ultimately every puzzle completed unlocks the next chapter. Often I backtrack and find myself diving into Layton’s world, when in need of a compelling and deep story. Through Professor Layton, Level 5 have created the greatest detective since Sherlock Holmes or Poirot; potentially the greatest detective of all time.

Lady Layton developed by Level 5
Lady Layton is the next instalment in the Layton series, revealed Level 5’s Vision Event 2016 with release scheduled 2017

The Professor Layton series are the games that set the ideas in motion. While many people feel the franchise is overwhelming casual. I would argue that Professor Layton is a game pulls people into the hardcore. Th Professor Layton games mixed the fundamentals of game design and innovated the puzzle; making Layton the bridge between casual and hardcore gaming. Hopefully, with the next instalment coming next year, Lady Layton will continue the Professor’s legacy.

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