Since the launch of the first Professor Layton game on the Nintendo DS, the series has grown extremely well making it one of the best puzzle games to grace the DS. On each of the games in the series, the game has been pretty much the same when it comes to the core gameplay except for the plot and the other extras that Level-5 wanted to include, just like the new London Life section in the newest Layton game. Following the success of Unwound Future which was released several months ago, it’s now time for another Layton game with a brand new story to get us hooked.
With the release of the Last Specter, the fourth game in the Layton series, what kind of mystery awaits Professor Layton and Luke? Should fans expect a much harder puzzle? What does the Layton Life RPG game included all about? Let’s take a look in the HOTs and NOTs of the game.
A Prequel to the Entire Series
The Last Specter is the prequel to all three Professor Layton games on the Nintendo DS. If you are wondering about the history behind Luke and Hershel, all will be told in this game and will give insight as to how the two become close partners. The game starts off with Professor Layton receiving a letter from a friend of his in Misthallery. In the letter, it states that a mysterious unknown being called the Specter is haunting the town and destroying it. Before Luke, an assistant named Emmy will be following Hershel until you reach the point where Luke will join him. If you are a fan of the Layton games, you will love this game as it doesn’t only tell the history behind Luke and Hershel, but it also has a twist in the story that will surprise us in the end.
Throughout Layton’s journey with Emmy and Luke, you will come across to some likable characters that will make the story somewhat easy to follow. Gamers who played past Layton games should know that in the Last Specter, a point and tap adventure will lead to solving puzzles as it’s a key in advancing the story.
Same Old Presentation
Nothing has changed when it comes to the visuals in the Last Specter. The designs and the arts used in the game are the same as the ones used in the old games in the series. If you love cartoons, you will then enjoy the cutscenes of the Last Specter. Expect to enjoy the new areas that you will get to explore as they’re well drawn and full of colors. Don’t forget that voice overs in The Last Specter are just awesome to watch.
One of my favorite things when it comes to playing a Layton game is the kind of characters that you get to interact with. Similar to past Layton games, the characters that you will get to meet will have their own personality that sometimes players will find quirky and wacky.
Challenging Puzzles Awaits
Professor Layton games will not be complete without its awesome puzzles. Out of the four Layton games that I’ve played, including this one, I must say that The Last Specter has one of the most challenging puzzles in the series. There are close to 200 puzzles available in the game that gamers can play. Some of them are accessible via the story of the game while others are just hidden throughout the world. While the puzzles are somewhat challenging compared to the last three games, you will then notice that all of them are well balanced. If you struggle in solving any of the puzzles in the game, don’t forget that you can always use the Hint Coins that you find throughout the game. Just don’t forget that every time you give an incorrect response to the puzzle, you will be losing Picarats, a currency that can be used in buying puzzles later in the game.
After you finish the main game, you can then enjoy the extras that Level-5 has included in the game. London Life is an RPG-like game where you can go on your own adventure in 8-Bit graphics that are full of colors. The main objective in the game is to go through all tasks in the games and earn money for a living. Think of this game as a SIMS and Animal Cross where you are basically the hero of the London Life mini game. From this title alone, expect an adventure that can last you up to 100 hours. It’s fun to play whenever you want to take a break from solving hard puzzles from the main game.
Don’t Forget Weekly Puzzles
If you have Wi-Fi connectiob, then the fun doesn’t end after the completion of the main game or the London Life. For those are who seeking for more challenging puzzles, new ones will be available for download via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Just like the past three games, you can download up to one puzzle at a time, depending if Nintendo has any events planned.
More of the Same Game with Just New Puzzles
Professor Layton and the Last Specter is pretty synonymous to all three games that Nintendo published. If you’re a type of gamer wondering if there’s anything ground breaking on this new title, you will not find it here. The gameplay is pretty much more of the same and veterans of the series will sometimes wonder why can’t they just focus on one title and make a downloadable puzzle.
Puzzles Can Make you Cry
Like myself, I’ve reached to a point where I get so frustrated just because I can’t figure out a puzzle. Even if you love solving puzzles, there will be a time in the game where you will cry or get frustrated because the puzzle is just too damn impossible to solve. However, once you solve the puzzle, you will then scratch your head and tell to yourself, “I knew that”.
Despite the Last Specter being more of the same game, it still manages to have that formula that fans of the series who played all three games will love it. One of the things that really highlights the game is the story and how the two characters that started the game; Hershel and Luke became great partners. The puzzles that the game has to offer are refreshing but be warned that some of them can be frustrated. Just don’t forget what Luke said, “every puzzle has an answer”. In conclusion, Professor Layton the Last Specter is no doubt to be the game that puzzle or Layton fans need to get no matter what.
[Editor’s Note: Professor Layton and the Last Specter was reviewed on the Nintendo DS hardware. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Professor Layton and the Last Specter Review,