The Professor and Luke are up to their wacky hijinks again!
Do: Unravel a mystery while solving close to 150 different logic puzzles.
Platform: Nintendo DS
Meat: As the sequel to last year’s puzzle/adventure game for the DS, Professor Layton & The Curious Village, Professor Layton & The Diabolical Box comes with some high expectations. You are tasked with guiding the titular Professor and his plucky assistant Luke through a rather substantial tale of murder, theft and intrigue as they attempt to find the Elysian Box, an artifact that kills any who dare open it. This is done by solving upwards of 130 different logic puzzles scattered throughout the tale. Some puzzles are random while some are integral to moving the story forward. Add to that a much larger variety of minigames and you are looking at a game that takes about 12 hours to playthrough with plenty of extra goodies to keep you coming back for more.
Perks: The art design and music are a slice of whimsy and exotic flair in a world of games filled with too much gritty darkness. While the subject matter in Professor Layton & The Diabolical Box can be quite grim, there is always a sense of innocence about the proceedings. The puzzles in Diabolical Box are integrated into their surroundings much better than they were in the first game, with at least a hint of context given for each offering. Animated cutscenes are sprinkled liberally through the game and are a delight to watch. There has also been an improvement in the localization of the text clues for the word puzzles over the first game, which is a huge plus.
Screams: For a stronger resolution to the core plot. The game spends a lot of time weaving together several plot threads but then seems to rush the ending. The finale is still satisfying but the twists do seem to come out of nowhere and are resolved far too quickly for my taste.
Verdict: Buy. This is the middle game in a trilogy but the story is very self-contained with most of the allusions to the events of the first Layton game summed up nicely.