Professor Layton and the Unwound Future

Professor Layton And The Unwound Future Review: A Great Story Meets New Mechanics
by Bryan Vore on Sep 13, 2010 at 09:32 AM
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Level-5
Rating: Everyone 10+
Reviewed on: DS

When Professor Layton and the Curious Village came out in the U.S. a couple of years ago, it was a fresh concept. The French cafe soundtrack, the distinct animation and art style, and Layton and Luke’s insatiable desire to solve mysteries made it stand out from your ordinary puzzler. The second game was on a similar bar puzzle-wise, but it had a strange vampire plot and ending with a series of wacky explanations.

This time around, the duo may or may not travel to a future version of London, so it’s not like things are suddenly grounded in reality. However, the cast really sells it. I won’t spoil any new or returning characters, but it’s easy to see why the charming professor gathers a crowd of amateur puzzle enthusiasts on his trek, making the player feel like a team member as well. The biggest departure from previous Layton tales is that it actually ties into the professor’s past – we learn that he’s not just a stoic, manners-obsessed robot. It’s also worth mentioning that this is the last entry in a distinct trilogy, so fans have to check out the surprisingly epic finale (the next Layton trilogy is actually a prequel). 

From a puzzle-solving standpoint, don’t expect too many changes from previous titles. You’ll still have plenty of block shuffling, route figuring, and “how old is this sister?” phrasing tricks. However, Level-5 finally revamped the memo system, and it makes a huge difference. Now you can change ink color, line thickness, and most importantly, erase specific notes instead of being forced to clear out everything at once. There’s also a new Super Hint that unlocks after you’ve spent three coins on all of the previous puzzle hints. This one costs two coins and pretty much spells the answer out. Of course, they should only be used if you’re extremely stuck, but it essentially eliminates the need to look up answers online.

Bottom line, if Layton didn’t float you boat the first time around, nothing is going to change your mind here. But it’s definitely worth it for fans to jump back into a world where you can’t walk five steps without finding a puzzle to solve.

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future cover
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future

Layton shines in the final act of this puzzle adventure trilogy.

Game Informer's Review System
Concept Tie puzzle gameplay into an outrageous mystery just like always
Graphics The brain-teasers look as simple as ever, but this has easily the most deftly animated sequences of the series
Sound Doesn’t stray far from the traditional accordion music backing Layton’s proper British accent
Playability Slight tweaks to the puzzle solving tools help bring the series forward
Entertainment Nothing rocks the boat here, but the total package is the best of the trilogy
Replay Moderate