Forget Call of Duty, Real Men Need the Retro Love: Professor Layton and the Curious Village

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bill-swift - July 9, 2014

When you're a badass renegade from the depths of Satan's ass, you can do whatever you want. You can sass your elders. You can buy tickets just to sell them for twice the price on eBay, like the big ol' bastard you are. And you can definitely classify 2007 as ‘retro.'

This was the year that fancy-ass Brit (top hat and everything) Professor Layton hit the DS. The first installment, Curious Village, was pretty freaking obscure, and a hard sell at first. A nerdly palaeontologist with a boner for brainteasers does not a video game hero make. Or so you'd think.

In this odd puzzley adventure, Hershel Layton and his young assistant Luke are mystery solvers; like Indiana Jones without the mantasticness. They are asked to the little village of St Mystere, to investigate the riddle of the Golden Apple. The wealthy Baron Reinhold stated in his will that this is the key to acquiring his fortune, but nobody knows what the balls it's all about. Naturally, with a dead rich dude's cashtastic at stake, Layton gets right on it.

Gameplay is a point and click affair, with much stylus-poking directing our heroes around the village. This is broken up every darn second by a puzzle, of which there are over 100 to pit your leaking brain-sack against. The residents are obsessed with brainteasers of all kinds, and they'll insist you solve one before imparting even vaguely useful information. Because they're dicks like that.

Yep, this is the sort of thing you're looking at right here. Did we mention the cranks?

There's no complex math or anything like that. These are mostly logic puzzles, like that business with the farmer, the wolf, the chicken and the boat. Beginning easily enough not to tax either of our brain cells, the difficulty steadily ramps up to ass-kicking territory later in the game. Never has it taken so freaking long to figure out how to slide trucks around so a car can escape a traffic jam.

Now, needless to say, these lil' puzzles and riddles aren't the most shit-your-pants exciting stuff. How can Layton compete with the reams of games in which you shoot angry aliens right in the face? With an onslaught of pure charming charm, that's how. The series is known for its adorably toontastic art and cutscenes, and its storylines with more crazy-ass twists and turns than The Da Vinci Code.

All of this, and that great all-inclusive spirit of Nintendo. Grandma can play, your kid sister can play, your Call of Duty addict buddy DeathSnipeZTehRockZor88 can play. Layton has managed to endear himself to all kinds of players, and each new entry in the series has been critically acclaimed.

Just don't ask us how the eff a flight of stairs or a doorway could remind him of a puzzle. What the hell is that about?

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