Professor Layton and the Devil Flute Hands-On

We try out the fourth game in the series but get stumped on the first puzzle.

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Professor Layton and the Devil Flute has not been announced for North America yet, but it's only a matter of time given how popular this series has become. At the Level-5 booth at the 2009 Tokyo Game Show, reps were showing off a trailer of the upcoming puzzle game as well as a trailer for the Professor Layton movie that will hit theaters in Japan on December 19. We had an opportunity to play a short demo of The Devil Flute, but unfortunately the first puzzle involved Japanese kanji instead of something a little more universal--like numbers or a sliding objects game.

The opening scene jumps forward in the story, and we see the professor, a photographer named Remi, and Luke watch in horror as a towering black demon with red eyes rampages through town. This game is the start of another trilogy and is a prequel to the previous Professor Layton games. We'll learn how the professor meets his future apprentice, Luke, and find out more about the beautiful woman named Remi, who accompanies the professor on his journey. The adventure begins with the professor and Remi, who are heading to the Village of Mist to see Clark, Layton's friend. Clark had sent a letter to the professor, stating that a mysterious specter had been attacking the village.

Professor Layton doesn't change much visually from one game to another, but the game still looks great and the voice acting is also very well done. The only changes we noticed in our brief demo were the memo pad, which now gives you different colors to draw with, and the ability to change the thickness of the pen. The game will ship in Japan on November 26, and we'll be sure to keep an eye on this one to see when it will come to North America.

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