The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

Nice box

I’ve played Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, and, lo, it was good.

If you played Curious Village, it’s fundamentally the same game; solve a whole bunch of brain teasers, and then unravel the mystery! Though, honestly, the mystery mainly unravels itself. The player’s role in the game is mainly to figure out how much money the shoe salesman lost and what the measurement of the internal angle inscribed inside this cube is. The atmosphere is pretty much the same as before (a bit darker, but not really by much; St. Mystere wasn’t the cheeriest of places), and follows the same weird Laytonisation of Victorian England and modern technology.

In re: Nyperold’s comments here, I’d like to address a few of those concerns. First off, yeah, the point where the entire plot of the game could have been havoided if one character had said one thing there was no real reason not to say was pretty annoying. But as for the Improbable Disguise, that didn’t bother me at all. I just chalked that up to another example of how the Layton games don’t quite take themselves seriously; both games have a bit of wry self-satire peeking in around the edges, kind of like a James Bond picture, and the Disguise just struck me as a part of that. The games are sort of one part Hercule Poirot, one part Indiana Jones, and one part Scooby-Doo any way you look at it.

One nice thing this time around is that there really aren’t any clunkers, puzzle-wise; there are a few that aren’t really up my alley, but they’re fine puzzles. Nothing as bizarre and lame as the cell phone candy bar puzzle from the first game. Though, hey, does anybody out there actually enjoy peg solitaire? Because I sure don’t. The difficulty level on the puzzles does seem to be a bit lower overall than it was in Curious Village, though; maybe I’m just more awesome now than I was then. Worthy of note is that Level 5 added to the puzzles the single feature I wanted more than anything in Curious Village: the ability to make notes and figures and tracings right there on the puzzle screen. Praise be.

Plotwise, the game is fairly standard. There’s a spooooooky mystery, and you have to unravel it, and Professor Layton is annoyingly noncommital on the subject of whether or not there’s any such a fucking thing as ghosts. Along the way, you’ll encounter plenty of twists and secondary mysteries that you’ll solve much much muchmuchmuch faster than Layton does, so you’ll get the opportunity to heckle the game for being dense, which is always fun; though, this time around, there’s at least one twist that I genuinely did not see coming. And then you’ll get your odd, Scooby-Doo resolution where you’ll be all "things do not work that way" but everybody in the game world is weirdly accepting of it. You know, just like in Curious Village.

Oh, one final note for those World of Warcraft fans out there: Yogg-Saron does not appear in this game, though you’d be forgiven for thinking he might. You’ll know what I mean.

September 13th, 2009 Posted by | Games | no comments

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