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Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy Review

Professor Layton Finally Attains Tenure
by Kyle Hilliard on Feb 25, 2014 at 06:00 AM

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Reviewed on 3DS
Publisher Nintendo
Developer Level-5
Rating Everyone 10+

After five games and a film, Professor Layton is ready to retire. This isn’t the end of the franchise, but developer Level-5 says the Azran Legacy marks the last Professor Layton game featuring the titular puzzle master in a starring role.

The Azran Legacy closes out the prequel trilogy that chronologically begins with The Last Spector and continues with The Miracle Mask. The Azran Legacy stands alone, as do all of Layton’s stories, but continues the relationships established in the previous games, and neatly rolls into Curious Village with a post-credits teaser. During Layton’s journey to discover the mysteries of the Azran (wherein he finally does some archeological work as opposed to his usual non-academic heroics), he solves puzzles and uncovers history left behind by an ancient, technologically advanced race.

In Professor Layton’s world, puzzles are traded like currency for information and favors. It makes no sense why someone would need to solve a puzzle about melting a giant ice cube in order to find a person’s location, but such is the charm of the Layton franchise. Thankfully, not all the puzzles in the Azran Legacy feel so forced into the narrative as the ice cube example.

Most of Azran’s puzzles involve sliding blocks and literal puzzle piece arrangement in order to unlock ancient doors. I preferred the logic puzzles and the difficult-to-define puzzle type where you examine an image looking for clues, but those are rare. If you run into trouble, the hint coin system can help you find a solution with little punishment. The puzzles are new, but the structure is the same as previous Layton games. If you’ve played Layton before, you know what to expect.

The story adopts a grim tone near the end, which took me by surprise. It dives into Layton’s family history and ties up some loose ends explaining where characters like Layton’s assistant Emmy Altava has disappeared to in the following games. A lot of poorly executed twists occur in the closing hours, some of which feel like they are present purely to surprise as opposed to advancing the narrative.

Level-5 insists this is the end of Professor Layton taking top billing. The franchise will continue in unknown directions, but The Azran Legacy offers a worthwhile conclusion that adheres closely to the same formula that made Layton so beloved.

Uncover the mysteries behind Layton’s largest and possibly darkest puzzle
The distinct art style hasn’t changed much over the years, and no one has complained
The charming violin and accordion music remains one of the more memorable aspects of the game. Some accents sound forced, but overall the voice work is quality
The point-and-click interaction gets the job done. Despite the many different styles of puzzles and solutions, you won’t be confused about how and where to register input
Layton is all about puzzles and story. The former stays true to the formula, and the latter is entertaining, even if some reveals are cringe-worthy
Moderately Low

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Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy

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