This is the second game in a series (The first being Professor Layton and the Curious Village and the third being the so-far-japanese-release-only Professor Layton and the Last Time Travel, respectively.) Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box is an adventure/puzzle game that, like its predecessor, allows for the player to move through different areas and investigate an ongoing mystery. There are logic puzzles, brain teasers, sliding puzzles and many more variants that make it thoroughly enjoyable although most of the game play is very similar to the first Layton game. I particularly like the added memo feature in the puzzle solving menu. When used, it simulates a sheet of onion skin paper being put above the screen. I usually used it for solving mazes, retracing tangled lines and writing math problems that I couldn’t solve in my head.
The Professor’s Trunk (the main game menu) used to hold two mini games in the first Layton game: the inn and painting games. In Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box there are four mini games: old diary, unique camera, hamster and tea set. Solving puzzles in the game will sometimes give the player components for the mini games; keys for the locked diary, parts for the camera, toys for the hamster and ingredients for the tea set. When the camera is completed, the player can take pictures (when prompted by the game) and play another mini game; this time a spot-the-difference challenge. Likewise, when the hamster is fit enough, he will begin to sniff out hint coins.
There are many hidden puzzles (frankly I haven’t even found all of them yet), but it is possible to finish the game without completing everything. When I checked the secret mode after I finished the game, I found the option to get weekly downloadable puzzles, a puzzle index of all the puzzles I’d come across, extra puzzles, and a bonus section featuring a sampling of game trivia/data (character profiles, game scenes, audio clips, films and soundtracks). There’s also a password-locked section that asks for codes from the first and third games. I can only assume that more rewards lie within.
Having played the first Layton game before this one, I have to say that Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box does deliver. It is a great game with an entertaining mystery to solve, and puzzles that can be surprisingly easy or frustratingly difficult. The story is involving and as creative as the first Layton game’s mystery, and is fleshed out well. The game even starts before the actual investigation and has four definitive areas to explore (an upgrade from the last game!). And with the addition of more mini games, the game play is now more varied and less repetitive than the first Layton game. There are also more puzzle groups here (puzzles that are similar in nature and tend to be numbered in order of difficulty; an example would be the chess puzzles or the sliding puzzles). I personally feel more satisfaction whenever I solve something that I know is more difficult than the last similar puzzle I got through. My only gripe is that it’s such a short game.
I’m going to give this game a 9.5/10. The Layton series is probably the best adventure/puzzle DS series out there.
Originally posted on my blog [http://miaowow.blogspot.com/2009/10/professor-layton-and-diabolical-box-ds_13.html] and