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Viewing Topic: Professor Layton & the Diabolical Box - Page 1
#0: 01-20-2011 @ 09:40:52 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=1453#1453

DominionDominion

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  • Real Name:Mark
  • Joined:2010-01-22

Whilst puting together my Christmas list last month, I took a look at my DS games list and found it a bit lacking. Browsing around knowing I had forgotten something, I was reminded of the Professor Layton series of games. I had heard good stuff about them and knew they were puzzle type games but never gave them serious attention. Well I decided to pad my Xmas list with them and luckily received two of them from Colleen! The two I got were Diabolical Box and Unwound Future. Now these are the second and third respecitvely in the series, the first being the Curious Village but I had heard there wasn't a strong need to play them in direct order. I started on Diabolical Box and was pleasently surprised with how well done these games are! Last night I finished Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box and figured I'd give my impressions here.

First off, as stated, this is the second game in the series and while there is no overarching plot between all of them there are some characters that are reoccuring. For the most part when they are introduced again you get an idea of who they are and their relationship to each other. There was really only one scene in the beginning where it would've helped to know the character beforehand and made the scene less confusing but it was hardly a show stopper. Additionally I've come to learn that the games that have been released are not neccessarily in chronological order. The 4th and 5th games in the series (not yet released here) are actually prequels to the first two and the third game, Unwound Future, is actually the last one. I have yet to see how this impacts everything as I have yet to hear of an overarching story between everything.

So what is this genre of game? It is in essence a point and click (or in this case, tap) adventure game. However instead of the random objects you'd collect in something like Monkey Island you are given puzzles to solve. Most of the time the puzzles are related to the current task or investigation at hand and at times they are merely extras that an NPC claims would be something fun you should try. It seems in the world of Prof. Layton people enjoy doing puzzles more then playing a game or talking to pass time. The game employs a hint system in the form of hint coins. Basically tap around the current location for anything that "looks suspicious" and you can find one. Each puzzle gives you three hints which you can spend coins on to help you out with. There are no time limits to puzzles though some may require you to do it in the fewest steps possible. Additionally most you can quit and return to later at no penalty but some are required to be solved then and there to move the plot forward. At times you will need to complete a certain amount of puzzles to move on but I never hit a point where I had to go back to solve more. I just had characters mention something along the lines of "You solved X puzzles, you may enter!" to which I shrugged and never knew my puzzles were being counted.

The Good!

  • All the puzzles are, for the most part, excellently done! They are all brainteasers that are enjoyable, easily read and understood. There's a good variety of different types of puzzles so up until the last part of the game you never really feel like you're doing something more then once. The only type that really was repeated throughout the game was sliding block puzzles, which I despise but got used to them, but they're all fairly different and were spread out nicely.
  • Full animated cut scenes. These are nicely spread throughout the game and were always a delight to watch. I had heard there was something along the lines of 30 minutes of animation throughout which sounds about accurate to me.
  • The art design is great! Characters are relatively simple in design but each have their own unique personality to them. You'll never get any two confused with each other. Same goes for backgrounds. While some may be simple they are all wonderful to look at and I never got bored with anything plain or just thrown in there.
  • The story is great as well and the ending is rather heartwarming. I had a lot of fun just reading and watching, waiting for the next piece of the plot to come out.


Some Bad

  • As stated for the most part puzzles are done well. However there were a few puzzles that were actually more riddlish in nature. Don't get me wrong, I love riddles just as much as puzzles, but when I'm presented with a puzzle and my choices look legit for it but then come to find out that they were pulling my leg and had to look at it as a riddle, I get rather ticked off. This never happens for any of the mandatory puzzles that move the plot along but it was annoying when it happened. Do note there are some puzzles that are riddles but if they are not one those few cases I mentioned earlier they will present themselves in a fashion where you understand there could be something more to the puzzle then stated.
  • Some hints are useless and at times they say they will not give anymore hints and you should solve it yourself at which point hints turn into trivia. The useless hints I'm talking about are generally when I'm having trouble on a puzzle and I ask for a hint and all they say is "Remember, the puzzle says X" and that's it. I know it says that, give me more on WHY it says that! As for puzzles that tell me to solve it myself, you're a god damn hint section I want a hint and now have wasted a hint coin. You are not my teacher and this puzzle is hard, I need a nudge even if it's only a tiny one compared to the last ones, I'm not asking for the fucking answer. Granted when this did happen it was on the repeat puzzles, so it's not like I wouldn't have previous hints that could possibly transfer over but the previous ones were usually easy enough for me to solve without hints so now I needed one and couldn't get one.


Those few bad things though didn't bother me enough to put the game down and as I said they rarely actually happened. The game overall is very enjoyable and if you're a fan of puzzle or brainteaser games or just a good fun story in general, I highly reccommend the game or any of the others in the series. My understanding is they don't change too much from game to game so I don't think you'd go wrong picking any of them up.

In the end I found the game to be a great surprise and kind of want to kick myself for not getting on this series earlier. I'm eagerly waiting to dive into the Unwound Future and I'll probably go back and pick up Curious Village after that.

This post was edited by Dominion on January 20, 2011, 11:50 am


"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock and roll." Shigeru Miyamoto
#1: 01-20-2011 @ 12:11:54 pm
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=1454#1454

Misharum KittumMisharum Kittum

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Reminds me of a puzzle game I got on Steam recently with the indie pack that had Recettear in it. I enjoyed it, though there were some puzzles that weren't clearly explained and I had to fail them a time or two to actually get the mechanics of how they worked. Overall it was a fun game.


Justice and Truth
#2: 01-20-2011 @ 12:21:29 pm
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=1455#1455

MachVergilMachVergil

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This is a series of games that sound to be very high on quality, but due to the fact that the principle game mechanic sounds to be "puzzles for puzzles sake" I have continued to pass on it.  The inclusion of slide puzzles (*shiiivvverrr*) only further pushes me away.  It's a shame because they do look like charming and otherwise well produced games.

I mean I know I have played, and liked, lots of games with puzzles in them, like all the Point&Click adventure games I like so much, but I guess in those cases I felt like the puzzles represented a piece of a comprehensive package that also included dialog trees and exploration.  When I look at gameplay footage my initial thought is "these are not for me puzzles."

The only thing that might make me over come that is the Professor Layton vs Pheonix Wright game, because the raw concept of that game feels like an internet MeMe and yet, it's not.


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#3: 01-20-2011 @ 12:50:08 pm
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=1456#1456

DominionDominion

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  • Real Name:Mark
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Reminds me of a puzzle game I got on Steam recently with the indie pack that had Recettear in it. I enjoyed it, though there were some puzzles that weren't clearly explained and I had to fail them a time or two to actually get the mechanics of how they worked. Overall it was a fun game.

I believe you speak of Puzzle Agent. Actually upon starting Prof. Layton I got the hint that Puzzle Agent no doubt borrowed the idea from Prof. Layton. The two are extremely similar in how the games are played and yeah I remember having trouble with Puzzle Agent's puzzles at times. Definitely a lot more puzzles in Prof. Layton and I found them to be more fun here. Not to say PA wasn't a fun game, I just never got around to finishing it.

This is a series of games that sound to be very high on quality, but due to the fact that the principle game mechanic sounds to be "puzzles for puzzles sake" I have continued to pass on it

They aren't all "puzzles for puzzles sake" but yes those are there.

This post was edited by Dominion on January 20, 2011, 2:53 pm


"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock and roll." Shigeru Miyamoto

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