The Professor Layton series' swan song
satisfies and surprises.
Since his debut on the Nintendo DS, Level 5's Professor Layton series has shown players an amazing amount of humor, charm, perplexing puzzles, and enchanting mysteries throughout its previous five installments. Now, Professor Layton is taking to the proverbial stage one last time for one last adventure. Does the Professor Layton series end on a high note with Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy, or is the last puzzle to solve why the series ended on a low point?
Professor Layton's latest and last brings him, his faithful apprentice Luke, capable assistant Emmy, and newcomer Professor Sycamore on a globe-trotting journey to hunt for a series of mystical eggs left behind by the long-gone Azran civilization. However, an organization known as Targent is also after the same thing and will do anything to get what it wants.
|Animated scenes like this are|
like little prizes as you play along.
|There's an incredible amount|
of locations to journey to this time around.
The plot and game progresses through typical Professor Layton fashion. You talk to various NPC's, which usually won't part with their piece of information to further progression through the game until you solve a puzzle. These puzzles are brain teasers that involve logic puzzles, mathematical equations, and some trickery here and there put inside for good measure. Whether you're tasked with lighting up all of a city's streets while following a specific rule where no light of the same color can intersect, or fitting differently shaped squares into a puzzle without overlapping any pieces, the sheer variety and amount of puzzles available are staggering.
|In this puzzle, no two flowers of the same|
color can be touching.
Thankfully, you're not thrown to the puzzle wolves in this game. As series veterans know, each puzzle houses four hints that can be paid for using hint coins. Hint coins are found by investigating the various environments of the game. As more hint coins are used on a puzzle, the solution usually presents itself in a much clearer, less abstract way. While it's fun to come to a solution on your own, it's not worth frustrating yourself, so using hint coins is a nice compromise between getting some helpful nudging in the right direction and just giving up and looking up the solution online on a walkthrough or something.
|Aw, just hitch a ride with the guy|
in the white van marked "CANDY."
The longevity of Layton's sixth game is further expanded upon through three side games. Nut Roller has you helping a squirrel roll his walnut around a course strewn with obstacles in hopes of reaching the goal. Blooms and Shrooms puts a puzzling twist on a green thumb's favorite hobby, gardening. Finally, Dress Up is the most involved side game in Azran Legacy. It gives Professor Layton and his apprentice a job they've no doubt dreamed about diving into, fashion consulting. Through carefully listening through each NPC's very particular tastes, Layton and Luke must come up with an ensemble that adheres to their desires. The reason this is the most involved side game is that it requires accumulating an entire wardrobe of clothing pieces, all found by progressing through the story.
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy uses the 3DS's features in an overall lovely way. First and foremost, the stereoscopic 3D effect is incredibly pronounced, and it makes the characters come out and at you in a most impressive display. The puzzle portions of the game themselves don't use 3D particularly well or at all, but the effect shines brightly everywhere else, especially a specific flight segment early on in the game.
The stylus can be sole method of controlling Azran Legacy, just like every other past entry. Whether it's moving a magnifying glass around the environment for investigation or for handwriting in numbers, the touch control aspect of the game works splendidly.
|Funny and charming characters|
both new and returning greet players.
Playing through Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy feels like a wonderful interactive storybook. The polish is beyond compare, the illustrations and attention to detail are amazing, and the various intricacies from little eccentricities in character movement to the way characters speak is phenomenal. Sure, the designers could have called it a day and phoned it in on puzzle pages, but even these feature stunning polish and details, such as cute animations and little humorous effects.
For a final entry in the franchise, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy continues the impeccable quality and standards of the series. It won't leave as big an impression as the stupendous Unwound Future, but it will get you a bit teary eyed as you bid farewell to the wonderful world and cast of characters that the Professor Layton series possessed. Housing an immense number of entertaining puzzles and side content, Professor Layton's last full-length adventure is one worth experiencing. Take your final bow, Professor Hershel Layton. You have most certainly deserved it.
[SPC Says: 8.75/10]