View Full Version : My First Video Game Review - Professor Layton And Pandora's Box

10-16-2009, 10:44 PM
Ok. Here Goes!!

Before I go, I thought Id tell you that I have the game, and have completed EVERY SINGLE thing about it.

When the first Professor Layton Game Came out (Professor Layton and the Curious Village Which I also Own) most found it a pleasant suprise, like a cool breeze on a hot summers day. Many reveled in its 135 brain teasers and its neat visuals whilst others found the combination of puzzles, exploration and story-telling interesting and unusually good. Despite looking like a childs game it also made adults fall for it too to work their brain out (Some puzzles were tough!) and the variety of mini-games and the weeky puzzle (Which went on till about June this year) added to its replayabilty.

But now can its sequel live up to the task of not only being on par with the first game but surpass it? Or will it fail to captivate the critics and the fans and just flop? Well, we start with the story.

When the refined Professor Hershel Layton, renowned archaeologist and puzzle enthusiast, receives a letter from his mentor Dr Schrader indicating that the legendary Elysian Box has been found, Layton grabs his assistant and self-styled apprentice, Luke, and leaves with all due haste. Knowing that the box has been said to kill anyone who opens it, the professor fears the worst and, unfortunatly, arrives too late. Going by the only piece of evidence found--a ticket for the famous Molentary Express train without a destination listed--the puzzle-busting duo embarks on a journey determined to track down the artifact and uncover its secrets.

Now this is just a brief synopis of the background story but straight away we can tell it is a tad darker than the first, and also quite a bit more mysterious too and you can sense that it has come of age of sorts to suit a perhaps older audience. This carries on to the music too, espiecally later on in the game where it takes a more somber mood.

Unlike the previous game its set in various other areas, not just St Mystere like in the first. There are 3 in total with the first being the Train, in case you were wondering. This makes it less repititive however you do spend quite along time in one area of the game and quite a small amount in the other 2 areas.

Simple point and tap abound in the exploring side of the game, which you can use to talk to villagers, move around, and investigate the many nooks and crannies for hidden puzzles or hint coins in case you get stuck. Puzzles seem to be the currency in the world of Layton, and many people will keep juicy bits of info close to their chests unless you help them solve a puzzle. This may seem rather unrealistic but in this game it kind of works. Its quirky and fun without being odd. A good work to put it is whimsical.

To solve some of the puzzles you'll be working out the age of people, dividing up land, and tackling devilish sliding puzzles. One welcome feature to help you with all of this is the new memo pad, which as the name suggests allows you to write down notes or other key bits of info.

You can typically solve puzzles at your leisure however some puzzles are mandotory to complete so if your really really stuck you may need to resort to gamefaq to help you on particually tough ones. Hint coins make a return here. You start with 10 then you find more by tapping in certain areas (Such as a window or a Light fixture) and you earn one coin. These coins are used to buy hints. There are 3 hints per puzzle and they help you in increasing order, so Hint 1 may be not so helpful whilst hint 3 may in a sense almost give you the answer, but not always. Sometimes, particually in the higher and harder end of the sliders, the latter hint coins instead give trivia about the type of puzzle. This can get annoying but most of the time they warn you in the first hint, although in one puzzle they lie and actually give you useful info in the next hints. Frustrating, but you do see the funny side after awhile.

Theres a fair number of minigames, 3 in total. The first is reassembling a Camera, which once fixed serves as a spot the difference game after you take pictures in certain areas, after finding all of the differences you locate a hidden puzzle. Fairly easy in my opinion.
The next is a Hamster minigame where you adopt a obese hamster and design a training course for it to get fitter. Amusing to play with, but one you reach the goal of 30 steps its mainly just record beating (The highest is 64/67 Max steps) Once fit enough, he will help sniff out hint coins once in awhile. The third and most annoying minigame is the Tea brewing one. You brew various teas made from 3 of 8 different ingredients and serve it to thirsty people. This ain't annoying apart from the fact that they aren't always thirsty. Expect alot of entering a reentering for this once (Theres 26 people to serve!)

Each puzzle is rated in difficulty and while you don't have to finish the optional ones you finish the more bonus content is unlocked.The main story is a nice 20 hours but once your done there theres still the 15 or so extra mean puzzles to deal with! Also, theres the weekly puzzle as well which grants you a puzzle every week! Neat and adds to replayability. All you need is Wi-Fi.

The professor's second outing features some truly impressive animated story cutscenes, all of which are fully voice acted for maximum enjoyment. The whimsical hand-drawn art style looks fantastic throughout the game, but the cutscenes in particular stand out. The same voice actors from the Curious Village have carried over, as have some musical selections, including the puzzle theme which has been remixed(though much of the music is new). The music in the game used to irritate me in the first, but now I feel its improved and more suited to the game as a whole.

With A number Of turns and twists, Professor Layton And Pandora's Box will both please and make you think both at the same time. The Lengthy story and the grey matter streching puzzles will sure to hold your attention for some times and the weekly fix of new puzzles will keep you coming back for more. Though fans will certainly enjoy the slight improvements made, newcomers shouldn't let the fact that this is a sequel discourage them--prior knowledge is not necessary. If you have a penchant for puzzles, then you should not miss out on this game.


The Tea Set Minigame And A example Of a Puzzle.

Gold Star Award!

10-16-2009, 11:46 PM
A good start. Some tips:

-Start a blog or something to keep these somewhere else on the internet. Even if you have a copy of them on your computer, it's nice to have a sort of portfolio that you can easily point to.

-Speaking of 'having a copy on your computer', I suggest you run these through a word processor first. Take this as constructive criticism, rather than an attack. I can ignore spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes in any normal internet conversation, but you are presenting this as a more serious article. A word processor will at the very least catch any words you misspell, anything you've incorrectly capitalized and some of the more noticeable grammatical errors. The imagery of your flowery prose (which is fluffy and unnecessary in my opinion) is instantly shattered when one can see your basic grasp of written English is flawed.

But it's a good start. You know what you're saying, just gotta focus more on the little things.