This one surprised me this morning after someone posted a tweet about it on Twitter, I didn't know that it has been 10 years Professor Layton and the Curious Village made its first debut on February 15th 2007 for Japan. The rest of the world didn't get their hands on the game until a year later, released for the Nintendo DS and was developed by Level-5 the same developers that have made other games including Dark Cloud, Ni No Kuni, Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King and Rogue Galaxy.
But the creation of Professor Layton in came from Akira Tago who was a Professor at Chiba University, he compiled a best-selling quiz book series called Atama no Taisou, there were 23 volumes of these puzzle based books were the first book was released all the way back in 1966. But he was also behind the designing for the puzzles for the Professor Layton series, but however he died at the age 90 on March 2016. With Akira Tago being supervised direction on the game's development, Akihiro Hino was the producer, lead designer and scenario on The Curious Village but he was also the producer for the later games in the franchise.
The first time I've heard about Professor Layton and the Curious Village was when Grainger Games were selling the odd copies of the US version of the game but the reviews I've read online and it kept receiving scores of 9/10. I did pick up the game a few months later when it was released in the UK plus my sister wanted to play the game as well, but I did hear that they had different voice actors when comparing the UK version to the US version; you had Christopher Robin Miller voicing Professor Layton and Maria Darling voicing Luke Triton but in the US version you've had Lani Minella voicing Luke. Now look up on YouTube and compare which voicing sounds better for Luke, you may want to check out the other characters voicing as well if you compare both the US and UK versions of the game on which version sounds better.
For the story for the first instalment in Professor Layton's first adventure, the world-renowned archaeologist and enthusiast of puzzles, riddles and mysterious things. Even the most baffling of cases is no challenge for Professor Layton, with his apprentice assistant Luke investigating the fictional village of St. Mystere about an artifact known as the Golden Apple, an heirloom that the late Baron had left as a test to determine who would receive his fortune after his death. But when entering the village of St Mystere the residents of the village really do love a puzzle, this is where the game really shines for the Curious Village.
Like Brain Training you'll be using the touch screen for writing down your answers to puzzles and writing notes as well. There is no time limit like solve this puzzle in a minute no take long as you like or come back it later and do another puzzle. Most puzzles will be easy or basic to do, but how ever some puzzles you'll really to think. Most of the puzzles range from easy to hard where some puzzles you really do need to think if it's the right answer or not some puzzles could be straight forward like moving a ball from one end to another, or trying to fill up two glasses of milk that needs to be 5 litres each or trying to guess how many squares you can see on one screen. Once you've beaten the game there is still a lot of stuff to do, puzzles you've missed out or want to do them again that's not a problem and there's over a good 130 puzzles to solve. Every week you can download a weekly puzzle by using the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection on your DS, this was later used in later games but the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection is no longer available on Nintendo DS now meaning you can't download all puzzles if you've bought the game like right now; but you can solve all the downloaded puzzles from the 3DS versions of Miracle Mask, Azran Legacy.
If you look at the visuals and animation used for the Curious Village, the character designs and setting look very like Mr. Ben and The Triplets of Belleville so I can easily see where the inspirations and imagination came from when deciding on what art style and illustrations to use for the Curious Village and for its later games as well. Overall after the success of the first game five more games were released for the Nintendo DS and 3DS including a movie along the way called The Eternal Diva and a spin-off title called Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney. There is another Layton game coming to the Nintendo 3DS sometime by this year called Lady Layton: The Millionaire Ariadone's Conspiracy which will be the seventh game in the series and follows a new protagonist named Katrielle Layton, who searches for her missing father who is Professor Layton.
It wasn't the story that was well-written but the puzzles kept me thinking for hours, even for a good few days I can remember that I've struggled on a certain puzzle in the game and took me at least a good week to solving it. I do like a good challenge when it comes to video games, but as I've already mentioned the puzzles in the later games had a good challenge there have been times when I'm either on the bus to work or out with friends I would try and solve a puzzle or two. Not only that Professor Layton was also my very first cosplay this is going back to 2012 I did when I started attending more and more anime and video game conventions you can easily say that the series has made a bit of an impact during my life especially when it comes to handheld gaming, I was even crazy enough to cosplay as Professor Layton and heading over to GAME in picking up the latest game for the Nintendo 3DS.
Overall this is one of those games you should check out if you've not yet played it or at least give the series a try you would be surprised how charming and challenging the games can be.
Have a favourite puzzle in the Curious Village?
Let us know in the comments-
*Here are a few photos of myself cosplaying as Professor Layton which I've already mentioned in this blog*