Home
Twitter
RSS
Newsletter
Cody Giunta
25 Oct, 2010

Professor Layton and The Lost Future Review

DS Review | Is Layton's latest an excellent adventure or a bogus journey?
Since bursting onto the gaming scene in 2008, the Professor Layton series has become one of the key properties in the Nintendo DS line-up. The combination of perplexing puzzles, gorgeous graphics and charming characters has proven to be a winning formula, translating into both commercial and critical success. Being the third game in the series, one could be forgiven for thinking that Professor Layton and The Lost Future is showing signs of growing stale. While there may be an air of familiarity for veterans of the series, it is of a positive type that does nothing to take away from the overall experience. There are also enough subtle tweaks and pleasing story moments throughout the game to ensure that Professor Layton and the Lost Future is a worthwhile puzzle adventure for old hands and newcomers alike.

After their adventures in Pandora’s Box, Professor Herschel Layton and his apprentice Luke Triton find themselves in the city of London, having been invited to a time-machine demonstration by one Dr. Alain Stahngun. The Prime Minister of England was also invited, and ends up taking part in the demonstration. Of course, whenever somebody attempts to rupture the space-time continuum there are almost always dire consequences, and The Lost Future is no exception. The time machine explodes, with both Dr Stahngun and the Prime Minister disappearing without a trace. Layton and Luke attempt to investigate the explosion, but are met with little success. It is only when the Professor receives a distressed letter, penned by an alledged future version of Luke, that they finally get a breakthrough. Instructed by the letter to visit an old clock shop, Luke and Layton are shocked to discover that its owners have their own time machine. After activating it, the Professor and his apprentice find themselves seemingly transported ten years into the future, to a London that is unfamiliar and frightening. It is from here where the real adventure begins as they must work to uncover the mysterious circumstances surrounding the explosion and find out just what has happened to change London for the worse.

Why yes, you may be right Luke!

Why yes, you may be right Luke!
Close
As with the previous entries into the Professor Layton series, the core gameplay consists of completing a variety of puzzles in order to progress through the plot. There are over 150 puzzles to test your grey matter, with none baring any more than a passing resemblance to previous games. In addition to this variance, there are new upgrades to the interface which can make solving the many puzzles in The Lost Future just a little bit easier. The memo function from Pandora’s Box makes a return, but this time you have no less than ten different colours to scribble with. This can be particularly helpful for several brain teasers which require you to seek out different paths or make copious notes. Another welcome change to the format is an update to the hint coin system. If you spend three hint coins on a puzzle and still find yourself perplexed for an answer, you can pay another two hint coins for a super hint. This will gives you another more detailed clue to help you solve the puzzle. Sometimes these super hints will make the solution to a puzzle instantly obvious, but there also exists a healthy amount that will require a bit more thought on the part of the player. Compared with the previous games, the integration of puzzles into the storyline seems to have been upped once again, with one puzzle solution culminating in its own stellar cut-scene, in yet another crowning moment of awesome for Professor Layton that must be seen to be believed.

On top of the usual puzzle shenanigans, three new minigames can be found within the Professor’s trunk. The first of these has you guiding a toy version of Laytonmobile around obstacle courses that are given to you by characters you encounter in the main game. To manoeuvre your mini Laytonmobile, you must place arrow icons on the track for it to change directions, as well as the occasional obstacle jump icon. There are also bridges which are raised and lowered by driving over a yellow button set into the ground, which adds another element of strategy to the Laytonmobile's progress. The second mini-game has players making deliveries for people using a parrot which has a set flight trajectory. It’s up to you to hook ropes upon pegs for your feathered friend to land and rebound off until it reaches its goal. Finally, the third mini-game involves placing stickers you have collected throughout the main game into a storybook in order for the tale within to make sense. Though they are not vital to completing the game or deeply connected to the plot, they are definitely great diversions for anyone who wants to take a break from the usual puzzles you will encounter. As well as this, the mini-games offer certain rewards to the player once they are completed.

My my, you've got some puzzling to do yet!

My my, you've got some puzzling to do yet!
Close
The sumptuous visuals of the previous games in the series continue in The Lost Future and in some cases exceed the prior outings. Decompression effects to fit cutscenes onto the DS cartridge manage to be less frequent than the other adventures of Layton and Luke. This is especially impressive when you consider just how much action takes place in some of the later set pieces, yet they all retain a grand sense of style and fluidness. There is also 3D rendering used late in the story, which gels nicely with the animation of the game. On top of this, there are also a greater number of cutscenes used in The Lost Future which help to flesh out its impressive story. At various times, the cutscenes tell a tale which is at times hilarious, unsettling and incredibly moving, and the fine graphics help to give them additional emotional weight. Outside of the cinematics, the normal exploratory and puzzle sequences also maintain their visual style, with a wide colour palette and attention to detail present throughout.

Music in The Lost Future is of a similar style to the previous games and nicely accompanies the genteel nature of Layton and the London setting. Where the sound design of The Lost Future truly shines, however, is the voice acting. The performances in The Lost Future are easily the best of the series to date. Layton’s gentlemanly nuances are once again the stand-out, but there are also several other performances which prove to be scene-stealers, ranging from the game’s villain to a certain returning character who hams it up brilliantly upon his reappearance. The amount of voice acting has also increased and it is not just confined to cutscenes, as there are many sequences where voicework is used during your exploration of London.

The answer is right in front of you.

The answer is right in front of you.
Close
The story mode of Professor Layton and The Lost Future can be completed in a fairly robust twelve hours, though there is still much more activity to be had after the final credits roll. You will almost always miss puzzles in the main game that you can go back to and ferret out. In addition to this, the weekly wifi puzzles available to download mean that it will be a long time before you can sit back and relax with a cup of tea, knowing that you have completed every challenge the professor offers you.

When so many elements already work so wonderfully together, it’s a difficult task to pick out flaws that exist within The Lost Future. Occasionally there will be some push-button puzzles that won’t reset upon an unsuccessful attempt, which can result in a second failure if you rush and press another button while others remain selected, but this can be put down to human error rather than a strict design flaw. After all, a true lady or gentleman playing a Professor Layton game should know to maintain a keen sense of observation at all times. It is also still possible to use the“saving cheat” to maintain your supply of hint coins and picarats. However, this loophole still does not detract from the core gameplay and no puzzle is made entirely easier because of it. Indeed, it may be a good idea to employ the save trick sometimes - you may very well need every hint coin you can spare for the final puzzles when saving is no longer permitted.

Professor Layton and The Lost Future continues the trend of quality from the two previous titles in every way imaginable. If you enjoyed Layton and Luke’s previous outings then you are guaranteed to find The Lost Future to be a real pleasure on the DS. Should this be your first Professor Layton game, there is nothing in either the story or gameplay that will alienate newcomers – the professor’s charm is just that strong.
The Score
With more varied puzzles, top-notch graphics and a wonderful storyline, Professor Layton and The Lost Future is a game that a true gentleman or lady shouldn't pass up.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Content

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 Review
18 Oct, 2010 Sonic returns to his former self, but not his former great self.
Professor Layton 3 release date confirmed
16 Oct, 2010 Ready to lose yourself in some puzzles?
Professor Layton and the Curious Village Review
20 Apr, 2008 Brain teasing fun.
10 Comments
3 years ago
I have never played a Prof Layton game..or a Pheonix Wright game...I am...not a gentleman.

*goes back to playing Shin Megami Tensei
3 years ago
Jahanzeb wrote
I have never played a Prof Layton game..or a Pheonix Wright game...I am...not a gentleman.

*goes back to playing Shin Megami Tensei
... you're a bad person...

Honestly I think at some point reviews for the layton games will become redundant. They are all pretty much the same game wrapped in a different story, and honestly. That's something I'm completely ok with. Bought this day 1 and am enjoying the fuck out of it.
3 years ago
Jahanzeb wrote
I have never played a Prof Layton game..or a Pheonix Wright game...I am...not a gentleman.

*goes back to playing Shin Megami Tensei
Oh, Jahanzeb - you must. I'm serious, you must. If you don't, you will explode into flames on your 28th birthday.
3 years ago
It's just...puzzles are my biggest turn off! I have tried to buy these games but when I think "puzzles" I go..."bleh..."...and pick something like Mega Man or Castlevania icon_razz.gif

I will most likely play Pheonix Wright first..that's a little different from puzzle mini games I think...
3 years ago
Jahanzeb wrote
It's just...puzzles are my biggest turn off! I have tried to buy these games but when I think "puzzles" I go..."bleh..."...and pick something like Mega Man or Castlevania icon_razz.gif

I will most likely play Pheonix Wright first..that's a little different from puzzle mini games I think...
Pheonix wright is more of an adventure game then a puzzle game. But I actually find it more frustrating then the layton games (Much more getting lost with no idea were to go next)
3 years ago
Benza wrote
Pheonix wright is more of an adventure game then a puzzle game. But I actually find it more frustrating then the layton games (Much more getting lost with no idea were to go next)
Agreed.
It's OK when you know what you're doing, but some of the bits in court and a lot of the bits in the adventure mode are just plain frustration, checking everything until you randomly stumble across the right area/item.

Think Yahtzee's description of why adventure games died.

EDIT: Strangely, though, I really want to try Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright.
3 years ago
Review is spot-on. Pretty much exactly mirrors my thoughts.
3 years ago
Jahanzeb wrote
I have never played a Prof Layton game..or a Pheonix Wright game...I am...not a gentleman.
What about Henry Hatsworth? That might qualify you for gentleman status.

As for this game, I am still shattered over the loss of my DS as this was really all I was looking forward to.
Come on 3DS, launch already!
3 years ago
Nic_231 wrote
Jahanzeb wrote
I have never played a Prof Layton game..or a Pheonix Wright game...I am...not a gentleman.
What about Henry Hatsworth? That might qualify you for gentleman status.

As for this game, I am still shattered over the loss of my DS as this was really all I was looking forward to.
Come on 3DS, launch already!
FWIW, you can grab Lites real cheap now - like $70 off of the Game Exchange.
3 years ago
Jahanzeb wrote
I will most likely play Pheonix Wright first..that's a little different from puzzle mini games I think...
Yep, definitely go for the Phoenix games. I'm not big on puzzle games either, but I love those games. icon_smile.gif I've played the first Professor Layton game, but found it more frustrating than fun so I dropped it.
Add Comment
Like this review?
Share it with this tiny url: http://palg.nu/4ng

N4G : News for Gamers         Twitter This!

Digg!     Stumble This!

| More
  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  21/10/2010 (Confirmed)
Publisher:
  Nintendo
Genre:
  Puzzle
Year Made:
  2010

Read more...
Currently Popular on PALGN
Australian Gaming Bargains - 08/12/11
'Tis the season to be bargaining.
R18+ Legislation
R18+ Legislation
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations Preview
Hands on time with the game. Chat time with the CEO of CyberConnect 2.
PALGN's Most Anticipated Games of 2007
24 titles to keep an eye on during 2007.
PALGN's Most Anticipated Games of 2008
And you thought 2007 was populated.