The Professor Performs Like A Gentlemen - Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box - Nintendo DS -
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Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

The Professor Performs Like A Gentlemen

Diabolical Box sticks with the first game’s formula almost exactly. While it may not be a fresh concept, more story and puzzles are all the Layton series needs to appease fans.

The plot follows Luke and Layton as they investigate the death of Layton’s mentor, supposedly caused by opening the legendarily dangerous Elysian Box. Clues guide them to hitch a ride on the Molentary Express and travel from town to town. This structure allows for much more environment variety than the single city backdrop of the first game, though the on-train sections become tedious once you’ve gone back and forth a ­few ­times.

Puzzles are tied more closely to the world this time, as you’ll swap train cars to clear the tracks ahead or solve a puzzle on a door to get through the lock. Most of the puzzles are still random challenges from a townsperson, however. You trace the paths of tangled wires, try to imagine 2D drawings in 3D space, and jump a knight around a chessboard. I didn’t come across any challenge as obtuse as the chocolate bar in the first game, but having a knowledge of Level-5’s previous bag of tricks helps in solving this new batch.

Most of the new content is found in the collectibles and minigames. You collect toys to exercise a fat hamster so he can find hidden hint coins. Grabbing camera pieces will eventually unlock a picture matching game, and your tea set will get a workout trying to make the perfect blend for the townspeople you come across. These entertaining tasks do a great job of keeping you on the lookout for extras while hoofing it through town and ­pumping ­sources.

I enjoyed the storytelling in Diabolical Box, as well as the new characters like Sammy, the rock ‘n roll train conductor. But some of the big reveals are particularly groan worthy, and two story clichés are unfortunately repeated in this sequel that I hope aren’t carried over to the third ­entry.


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Second Opinion:


I love Professor Layton’s quiet, slow-paced approach to puzzling, and the Diabolical Box brings more of what made the first installment so engaging. This newest adventure changes the setting and adds some new characters to the mix, but the focus on short, unique brainteasers is identical to last time. The best of the new puzzles involve careful critical thinking. However, like last time, several puzzles rely too heavily on giving convoluted written directions, and forcing you to quiz out what the game is even looking for in an answer. By and large, I’m impressed by the breadth and uniqueness of each of the challenges, and the hint system and ability to return to unsolved segments keeps frustration at bay. Like the professor himself, the charming game stands apart from the crowd, but its deliberate pacing isn’t for ­everyone.

User Reviews:

  • 8.50
    While still a relatively obscure game in Nintendo’s pantheon of classic series, the Professor Layton series has nevertheless delivered some of the best puzzles and character writing rarely seen in the puzzle game genre of recent memory with it’s original entry of Professor Layton and the...
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  • 9.75
    This game was very entertaining and the right amount of challenging. Pros: Great story, fun mini-games, fantastic music, great voice and video clips, pretty good replay value, and good challenging puzzles. Cons: The fact that you can't erase just some of the memo when you are doing your work. This...
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  • 9.00 Story 8.5/10: It's not incredibly creative - a strange antique/relic causes mystery and a gentleman detective and his young assistant have to figure out the mystery... Hmm . But it is really fun and catchy, and the Layton games do a great...
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  • 9.00
    It's not often that you find yourself actually playing a puzzle game for its story. Even less often when your platform of choice is the Nintendo DS, a handheld device. However, as has become so clearly noticeable, every rule has an exception. In 2008, that exception was Professor Layton and the Curious...
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