Professor Layton and the Unwound Future Review
Professor Layton and his young apprentice Luke are up to yet another one of their mystery solving hijinks in Professor Layton and the Unwound Future. As the title suggests, the story deals with time travel and features over a 150 riddles and brain teasers to solve. But is this time-traveling mystery worth racking your brain over?
The game starts out with Layton and Luke receiving an ominous letter that foretells chaos in London 10 years from now, and is written by Luke himself from the future, and then flashes back to a public time-traveling device demonstration that goes horribly wrong. Being the curious duo of mystery solvers, they set out to find the origins of the letter. As usual, not everything is as it seems and players will be tasked to solve 10 mysteries while solving a myriad amount of puzzles to progress.
The established Professor Layton formula, for the most part, stays the same. You investigate screens by tapping on people and objects that usually spark up a conversation leading up to a clue. You’re then tasked to solve a puzzle to obtain the next part of the clue and move on. It’s a formula that continues to move the game at a steady pace, ensuring your interest is constantly peaked.
The puzzles, riddles and teasers are all new this time around, and each one of them is unique. Each puzzle is worth a certain amount of Picarats (the games currency to unlock bonus puzzles), the more Picarats a puzzle is worth, the higher the difficulty. You’re awarded these Picarats based on the ability to solve puzzles without the need of hints. This time around, besides the regular hints that uses up coins, there is a master hint which technically gives you the answer if you find yourself absolutely stumped.
As you make your way through the game, you will also come across three separate mini-games of sorts: the Picture Book, Toy Car and Parrot. Picture Book will have your collected stickers from solving puzzles in the story. You’re then tasked to place the stickers on each picture page in correlation to the story. It might be the easiest of the three mini-games, but I found it the most enjoyable. Toy Car has you directing a car by placing arrows down on a grid, making sure it passes through all red flags and ends up on the exit. Parrot is probably the most difficult of the three. It has you placing down ropes, in hopes of the parrot successfully delivering his package to the other side of the screen. Each level has a bunch of obstacles that the parrot must bounce over by cleverly placing down these ropes. The mini-games are an appreciated diversion when you feel like taking a break from solving mysteries.
Much of the charm is through Layton's presentation. Level 5 is able to bring the world to life through not only the gorgeous, and almost Studio Ghibli inspired visuals, but through its brilliant voice acting as well. Not only does it help sell the close relationship of the Professor and Luke, but also helps to identify with other characters as well. Though the game will last you a good amount of time if you’re up to the task of unlocking every puzzle and completing every mini-game, but after you’re all done, there is very little reason to go back and reopen the mystery case.
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future is yet another winner from Level 5. It both entertains and challenges the mind through its clever puzzles, brilliant story, and convincing characters.