A charming puzzle adventure game that proves not only to be challenging, but highly entertaining as well.

User Rating: 9 | Professor Layton and the Curious Village DS
GAMEPLAY: 9
GRAPHICS: 8
SOUND: 8
VALUE: 10
TILT: 9

ROUGH SCORE: 8.8
FINAL SCORE: 9.0

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The Good:
- Wide variety of puzzles, ranging in both type and difficulty
- Intriguing story
- Diverse cast of characters
- Easy to use/understand interface

The Bad:
- Somewhat limited replayability
- Music may annoy some

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Here's the story of how Professor Layton and I met:
I came home for spring break last Thursday and my younger brother, who was also coming home for spring break, immediately began imploring me to check out this game. He had gotten via "illegal cartridge-shaped means", but regardless, I was willing to give it a try. I played it for three hours straight and found it hard to put down.

GAMEPLAY
This is a puzzle game masked beneath the skin of a point-and-click adventure game. Or is it the other way around? Either way, it is what it is, an adventure game filled with puzzles. The interface is simple: use the stylus to solve puzzles and move about the town. Point, click, drag. That's all there is to it. A notebook may be necessary at times to calculate some algebra, draw some illustrations, or make a list of possibilities, but that's par for the course when dealing with certain puzzles. The game does not expect you to be able to figure out all its puzzles in your head. But I digress a bit...The point to make is that it works. This all works, very well. I can't really think of any way the gameplay could have been improved. I never found myself wishing some aspect of the game was some other way or another. It works well as is, and who can complain when something is working as it should.

GRAPHICS
The one word I have used to describe this game over and over again over the past two days is charming. This game is very charming. The game does not boast killer 3D graphics, but that's okay. Because, in its place, we have very pleasing cartoon stills. Animated characters over illustrated backdrops. For a point-and-click adventure, this is perfectly acceptable and given the nature of the story, audience, and overall aim of the game itself, it works well and adds to the game's charm.

SOUND
I think there are only like, ten tracks in the whole game. I only kinda remember about five of them. I didn't have a problem with this, nor did I have a problem with all the accordion. It adds a certain element to the game, brings you into the world, adds to the atmosphere. And isn't that what a video game's soundtrack is supposed to do? As simple as it is, it's flawless and very effective.

VALUE
The game features 120 puzzles in the main game and I believe there are at least 15 (?) additional puzzles to be solved once the game is beaten. On top of that, with Wifi, you can download even more puzzles. And of course, you can always go back and retry the puzzles you've already solved. So, as far as replayability is concerned, that depends on how long you're willing to play the same puzzles over and over again. In my opinion, I think this game has plenty of replayability, so long as you revisit it every once in a long while, so that the puzzles feel slightly unfamiliar and the story isn't still fresh in your mind.

TILT
This game is unique, to say the least. There is nothing else like it out for the DS. Its charm and incredible diversity (where the puzzles are concerned) are undeniable and very satisfactory. So, to close, I say this: if you are one who even remotely enjoys intriguing stories and/or puzzles, do yourself a good service and check this game out.

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