During today's Nintendo Direct presentation, Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino announced a new Professor Layton game for the 3DS - describing it as the "final adventure" for Hershel Layton. It will therefore form the final chapter of the prequel trilogy, the second part of which (Professor Layton & The Miracle Mask) releases in the UK this October.
It will likely be some time before Level-5 are willing to discuss a Western release date, partly due to how long it takes them to painstakingly localise their games.
Although it's a fairly mature DS game, it is unusual to see Professor Layton's sophomore adventure for less than around £25 and Amazon's current price is nearly £5 less than the next best.
This second adventure for the Professor and Luke is virtually identical to the original, at least in terms of gameplay, but with a new story and heaps of new puzzles, all of which are challenging but rarely frustrating. It's filled with the same old fashioned charm and the well presented story is engaging so for fans of the brand, it's a bit of a must have. Thanks to Goodjob at HUKD!
Yesterday Level 5 announced that they were assembling a DS Dream Team... but is seems that dreams don't come true as easily as we'd hoped. After dangling the Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright crossover in front of us, Capcom's Jgozno has cruelly snatched it away from Westerners on his blog. Apparently there are currently no plans to bring this title to Europe or America, but a vocal enough fan petition might just swing it for us. A few comments on the blog might be a good start.
We hope this is just a publicity stunt... but just in case, I'd suggest dropping in a comment or seven.
SEGA have confirmed that more Dreamcast classics are on the way to a downloadable marketplace near you. Space Channel 5 Part 2 and Bass Fishing will be hitting PSN and XBLA in early 2011; joining Sonic Adventure, Crazy Taxi and Jet Set Radio. Bass Fishing will be a perfect fit for Playstation Move (go on SEGA, you know you want to), but we're genuinely surprised to see Space Channel 5 Part 2 make an appearance. The second part of the funky rhythm game never made it outside Japan, so it seems an esoteric- if welcome- choice for a revamp.
Whilst it's great to be able to play these classic games again, we hope that SEGA will treat them to more polish than the lacklustre Sonic Adventure port.
Deadly Premonition, the niche Canadian crime mystery that's received incredibly divisive critical reviews, will finally reach British Xbox 360s from Friday 29th October. Billed as the quirky sister to Heavy Rain, many fans have been lobbying for Ignition Entertainment's open world survival horror to receive a European release, and they'll finally have their wish granted. Publisher Rising Star Games has issued the following challenge to fans and critics alike:
It’s been exciting to be publish a controversial release that fans demanded we bring to the UK. It’s been surrounded by contradictory review scores and now it’s time for the fans to decide. Next week Friday, UK gamers will be able to buy Deadly Premonition and come to their own conclusions. - Martin Defries, managing director, Rising Star Games
We certainly will!
Xbox.com is currently undergoing a major upgrade to bring the browser service in line with the upcoming dashboard update. As well as better integration of friend lists, messages and gamerscore, the new update will allow us to customise our avatar in-browser. Naturally, this will also allow Microsoft to hawk us overpriced avatar gear while we're away from our consoles. Buy Indie games instead, people!
The entire service is currently suffering from limited functionality as the new features are being implemented- which is playing havoc with our XBLA roundups, Deal of the Week and XBL Indie Game of the Week. The disruption should only be lasting for a "short period of time," and we'll let you know when the service is up and running. [Major Nelson]
UPDATE: Life is now returning to Xbox.com. There'll probably be a few housekeeping glitches to iron out, but the marketplace is slowly regaining some semblance of functionality. Keep checking back over the next couple of hours.
Some people say that dreams don't come true, but today's top story from Level 5 begs to differ. At their press conference earlier this morning, the renowned studio confirmed that they were bringing two handheld puzzle legends together. The irrepressible Professor Layton will be teaming up with the legendary defence attorney Phoenix Wright to solve a devious "combo of puzzles and crime mystery."
Watch the (offscreen) trailer. And weep with joy.
Level 5 is also working on Professor Layton: Mask of Miracle for the 3DS, which will apparently feature daily downloadable puzzles.
Gran Turismo 5's recent delay has put a few backs up, and as you'd expect, Series Creator Kazunori Yamauchi has issued an apology. Since Yamauchi is a known perfectionist, however, he's not actually apologising for the inconvenience- rather a technical issue that might occasionally lower the frame rate from 60FPS.
Our engineers complain every day: 'Isn't it enough that it's in 1080p? Does it have to be 60fps too?' But I think 60fps is very important, so we're working towards perfecting that.
There might be times when you have a certain combination of conditions that come together - especially with the weather effects - [when] the game might briefly drop from 60fps, and for that I beg your forgiveness! - Kazunori Yamauchi to PSM3 magazine
Okay Kazunori. We can't stay mad at you. Just make sure it releases in time to fill our Christmas stockings... and that these "certain combinations that come together" don't coincide too often. [CVG]
Another day, another new study that 'links' mature games to violence. This newest experiment involved subjecting a group of 22 teenagers to a series of violent clips from games, films and TV and measuring the amount of brain activity. It seems that the mental impact of violent media lessens with time, which Dr Jordan Grafman reckons is due to a desensitising effect that could lead to the acceptance of violence as a mundane occurence.
The implications of this include the idea that continued exposure to violent videos will make an adolescent less sensitive to violence, more accepting of violence, and more likely to commit aggressive acts since the emotional component associated with aggression is reduced and normally acts as a brake on aggressive behaviour. - Dr Jordan Grafman
This conclusion was countered by Professor Buckingham, Director of the Centre for the Study of Children, Youth and Media; who suggested that the entire premise was completely flawed.
This debate has been going on since before we were all born. In the 19th Century people were panicking about the effect of 'Penny Dreadfuls'.
If we are truly interested in violence and aggression, rather than blaming the media for everything wrong in the world, we need to look at what motivates it in real life. - Professor Buckingham
Our duelling doctors raise some valid points about the nature of so called "violent media." Here's a thought. Maybe parents ought to sit their kids down every once in a while and explain that virtual violence has no place in the real world. Or just spend some time with them. Or, you know, maybe we shouldn't let 14 olds play violent 18-rated games. [BBC]
Almost exactly a month after the last time, Game have reduced the price of Professor Layton and Pandora's Box to just £12.99 again. Game are still the only retailer I have seen with a price of under £15 for this game and at the moment the next cheapest stands at £15.98 from Gamestation or Amazon.
This offer is for today only so time is of the essence for this one!
Luke and the prof's second adventure sees them on the trail of a curious box which is said to kill whomsoever might be so foolish as to sneak a peek inside. When a good friend of Layton's is found dead after the box came into his possession, it's up to the two intrepid puzzler solves to unravel the mystery.
If you enjoyed the first Professor Layton title then you're bound to love this one too. It's basically an expanded reprise of the original with a new story and more puzzles to sink your stylus into. Much of the action takes place on the Midnight Express which handily shuffles you around a selection of locations, making the environments a bit more interesting and varied than those of the original.
It's a charming game with lovely presentation and an engaging mystery story woven through the puzzling action. The puzzles themselves are varied— from logic problems to word games— and almost all offer a challenge but without ever becoming too frustrating.
Thanks to Rhys135 at Hotukdeals!
The Professor and his diminutive assistant Luke return for another puzzle-laced adventure in this sequel to the massive selling Professor Layton and the Curious Village. I can't remember ever seeing a new copy of the game for less than £15 before andwhile there is a plethora of retailers offering it for around £16 I've not seen it for less anywhere else so Game's deal will save you at least £3.
The Professor and Luke take a trip to see Layton's mentor and friend, Dr. Schrader after hearing that the Elysian Box, said to bring death upon whomever dares to open it, has come into his possession. However, on arrival they discover Schrader dead and the box nowhere to be found. The scanty clues they find lead them to the Molentary Express train and they set off to find out what happened to Schrader and what has become of the box, solving plenty of puzzles along the way, of course.
While Pandora's Box makes few changes to the formula established in the previous Professor Layton title, it is a more varied and perky experience this time around, with several different locations to explore during your shuffle around the country by train. There's plenty of challenging (but rarely frustrating) puzzles to solve which are blended in perfectly with the charming story and gentle adventure.
Pandora's Box is every bit as addictive as The Curious Village and a lovely game for anyone who enjoys a break from all the slashing and shooting now and then.
The obscenely popular Professor Layton puzzler is still hard to find for much less than £20 even long after its sequel has been released, so Simply Games' £14.99 price tag is a pretty attractive prospect. The next best price, £17.91 from Asda, will set you back an extra £3.
The renowned Professor Layton and his young assistant Luke are summoned to the remote village of St. Mystere following the death of Baron Augustus Reinhold. The Baron's last will and testament states that whoever can solve the puzzle of the Golden Apple will inherit his entire fortune and so the whole village is in on the act.
The art design is charming and stylised, somewhat reminiscent of the animated feature Belleville Rendezvous and perfectly suited to the whimsical storyline. There are tons of puzzles here to keep you occupied and more are available to download. These are uniformly good and offer a real challenge but never feel unfair and the generous hint system can help you out in a pinch so that frustration rarely sets in. Unfortunately, though the soundtrack fits the mood of the game well, it quickly gets repetitive. However, despite appearing infrequently, the voicework is excellent, even if Luke can be a little irritating.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a lovely mix of engaging puzzles, entertaining mystery story and fun, if limited, adventuring and is a great way to keep yourself entertained on long dull train journeys.
Thanks to Rhys135 at Hotukdeals!
Like its fantastic predecessor (Professor Layton and the Curious Village), this second outing for the dual-screen's resident Sherlock revolves around trekking around, solving fiendish puzzles, and unravelling a tale of mystery with more twists in it than the dancefloor at an Elvis tribute concert.
If you want to get in on some of the best puzzling that the DS has to offer, you'd do well to check out the tasty price that Game has on for this title at the moment. You can snag the good Professor's latest adventure for just £19.98 from the purple-tinted merchant, saving you £3 on the nearest competitor (BlahDVD - £22.99).
With tons of new puzzles, this sequel is basically just a whole heap more Prof. Layton fun where bigger equals better. Forget being confined to just one town, your adventures take you across several locations this time around, still with budding Tintin-wannabe Luke in tow.
The story for this latest mystery revolves around a mysterious box that appears to kill anyone who opens it for a peek inside. It's up to Professor Layton and Luke to hop on the Midnight Express and check out some mines, a castle or two, the odd city, searching for clues and unravelling the secrets of the box by solving various kinds of mind-melting conundrums from your run-of-the-mill brainteasers to sliding puzzles, word games and logic problems, all making the most of the touch-sensitive screen.
Aside from the winning presentation, the 150+ puzzles, the cracking story and the promise of DLC, the cherry on the cake are the gloriously entertaining mini-games. One involves concocting a particularly good cuppa while Prof. Layton and Luke pontificate about the pros and cons of certain kinds of tea, whilst another sees you collecting exercise equipment so Luke can help his fat pet hamster lose weight. It's all effortlessly charming puzzling fun, and one of the best games on the DS for sure.
Thanks to adsldave at HUKD
The DS has long been the thinking man's handheld device of choice, making up for its graphical deficiencies in presentation with innovative games designed to pull in a larger audience and appeal to a wider demographic. It has become the master of the long-distance train journey, and it's largely thanks to games like this. Professor Layton and the Curious Village is the first instalment in the Prof. Layton puzzle/adventure series of games, leading the player through over a 120 cranial conundrums as the Layton and his youthful sidekick attempt to unravel the Mystery of the Golden Apple and go treasure hunting in the titular village of St. Mystere.
If you own a DS and haven't managed to get round to checking this out just yet, then now would seem to be a perfect opportunity. ShopTo - seeming to have a bit of a deal-fest going on at the moment - are currently offering Professor Layton's first adventure for £12.85, including special delivery for those of you worried about postal strikes. This is a good £7 cheaper than Amazon's offering as the nearest competitor (£19.93) and well worth a punt for anyone who thought Brain Training was a bit of a cop out.
Essentially an old-skool point-and-click adventure game liberally sprinkled with loads of puzzles to wrap your head around, Curious Village plays equally well as a short-burst ten-minute mental snack as it does a public transport boredom beater. Layton and Tintin-wannabe Luke trek through the Hergé-esque village of St. Mystere seeking to unravel the meaning of a baron's last will and testament and work out how to inherit his enormous fortune at the behest of the baron's wife. The only problem is that all of the villagers have a penchant for fiendish mind-bogglers, and so Layton and Luke (and therefore you, the player) are put through a long series of mental gymnastics to progress through the game.
The resultant game is astonishingly good, highly engrossing and ridiculously addictive. The hand-drawn visuals are very pleasing on the eye, the music is pretty good (although, as with all tinkly in-game Jpop, it walks a fine line between being absurdly catchy and hideously irritating), and the mystery story gives the game an excellent frame, even if it is literally just that.
The puzzles are what counts, though, and having been developed with help from Chiba University’s Professor Tago Akira, author of the Head Gymnastics puzzle book series, they range from block puzzles, logic exercises, getting livestock across a river, obtaining exactly 5 litres of milk and so on. Some of them are fiendishly hard, although helpfully you can pick up hint coins along the way and trade them in for helpful nudges: each puzzle has three available hints for you to cash-in on, and whilst they nudge you a little bit harder each time at no point does the game simply come out and hand you the answer on a plate, although you might kick yourself a few times as I did.
Curious Village is a wonderful game, especially at this price, but it does have one major negative, being the lack of replay value. Once you've finished the game there's not an overwhelming case to do it all again, although this is tempered slightly by the availability of downloadable puzzles from the Ninty network, and this shouldn't stop you from snaffling a copy of what's a very good spin on the puzzle genre.
Thanks to partyblast from HotUKDeals
Many people found themselves on the verge of panic last Christmas as they desperately sought a copy of Professor Layton and the Curious Village. Retailers up and down the country found stocks depleted before they could even take the empty boxes off the shelf, and in desperation, eventually resorted to offering unheard of sums of money for pre-owned copies. A disappointing Christmas for some, but certainly not for the game’s creator Akira Tago.
Now he is back with a follow up to his massively successful first edition. So if you’re looking to get your hands on a copy of Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box, it’s probably a good idea to get in there quick this time around. The cheapest place to currently put in a pre-deal is on the Game Collection at £21.99 (expires on the 15th Sep). This undercuts all of the other deals by a good few quid.
Just like the previous edition, Pandora’s Box challenges players to solve various puzzles which range between things like logic, maths, and word games. The puzzles themselves are strung together by a narrative which, although it’s by no means superficial, occasionally has trouble reconciling itself with the various mini-games. However, both the story and puzzles are very well crafted and superbly presented.
The story itself follows Professor Layton and his young companion Luke who embark on an adventure after the discovery of a dead body. As they strive to unravel the mystery they visit various locations - all of which provide the player with the opportunity to solve puzzles. The game still has all of the charm of its predecessor; the witty dialogue, great characters etc, but some reviewers argue it’s not quite as good second time round. It seems that Tago used up all of his best ideas in Curious Village, and although his sequel is undoubtably strong, he might not be in for quite such a good Christmas this time around.