Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box Hands-On

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Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box
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Developer Level-5's trilogy of charming puzzle adventures is finally making its way to North America. The first Professor Layton game was a delightful adventure starring the professor and his sidekick, Luke, who traveled to the mysterious village of St. Mystere to find the Golden Apple. The second game, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, seems to follow the same successful formula, with a blend of logic puzzles and a fascinating story.

The story begins with Professor Layton and Luke boarding the luxurious Molentary Express. Professor Layton had received a letter earlier from his mentor, which talked about a mysterious box that kills all those who open it. From what we played of the demo, it's very much like the previous game in which you explore the locations that you're in and find puzzles to solve. You'll interact with other characters and learn more about this diabolical box, referred to as the Elysian box. Since the professor is all about solving mysteries, their journey will no doubt include a variety of clever puzzles to tackle.

The endearing characters return, but instead of spending their time in the quiet European countryside, the professor and Luke travel cross-country by train to various locations. The game retains its impressive hand-drawn visuals and high-quality full-motion video. The demo was incredibly short, so we didn't explore as much as we would have liked, but the puzzles are fun and range in difficulty.

As in the first game, you'll primarily use the stylus to move from one still location to another, poking around to find hint coins and hidden puzzles. Characters you'll encounter will also give you some brain teasers to solve before they give you the information you want. The Diabolical Box will have more than 150 new logic puzzles, brain teasers, and riddles. Once you've solved them all, additional puzzles will be released each week for a limited time.

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box is set to be released on August 24.

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