A goodbye to a beloved series.
The latest installment in the Professor Layton series, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy is the sixth and final game, bringing a close to the prequel trilogy. The game takes place only a few months after The Miracle Mask (fifth game). Although events from The Last Specter (fourth game) and The Miracle Mask are mentioned, previous knowledge of these games is not necessary at all.
The story starts off as it does in the other games, with Professor Layton receiving a letter – this time from Professor Sycamore, an academic widely considered the authority on Azran civilization. Sycamore claims to have discovered a “living mummy” trapped in ice and requests Layton’s help in the matter. His curiosity piqued, Layton, his assistant Emmy Altava, and his apprentice Luke Triton then head out to investigate this mystery in the snowy town of Froenborg. This “living mummy” turns out to be a young Azran girl named Aurora who was left behind as an emissary of the Azran civilization. The game then turns into a globetrotting journey to find all five Azran relics to unlock the secrets the Azran left behind. However, our protagonists aren’t the only ones in search of the relics. The shadowy agency known as Targent are also after the relics, and it’s up to Professor Layton and the gang to stop Targent.
What’s so wonderful about this game is that unlike the previous games, it does not take place in one main location. As a result, the players are allowed to travel to eight different locations, each with its own mini-story and mystery to solve. This allows you to easily head back to a previous location for any missed puzzle.
The gameplay is similar to the previous games. The players need to utilize the stylus on the touchscreen to investigate the area with a magnifying glass for puzzles and clues. It’s a game heavy on tapping. You tap on the characters to talk to them. You tap on the environment to search for puzzles and hidden objects. And you tap the area to look for hint coins that can be used if you are stuck on a puzzle.
The upside is that this game features over 500 new puzzles, much more than the previous game. There are arithmetic (simple adding) puzzles, logic puzzles, and of course, the dreaded trick question puzzles. You will try to arrange sets of books on shelves, reconstruct broken signs, and even arrange some pigs in order. The puzzles themselves are more skillfully woven into the narrative than ever before, even if the connections at times can be tenuous and a bit of a stretch (especially when the characters say, “this reminds me of a puzzle,” or even simply just, “oh look, a hidden puzzle.”). There are also downloadable daily puzzles available through Spotpass.
And much like the other games, The Azran Legacy features three new minigames, Nutty Roller, Bloom Burst, and Dress Up. The aim of Nutty Roller is to roll help Hazel the squirrel to roll a walnut so that it comes to a stop inside the goal tent. In Bloom Burst, you need to strategically plant four different types of flowers to bring each garden back to life. And for the third minigame Dress Up, the goal is to satisfy the customers by creating an outfit that fulfills their requests. Nutty Roller and Bloom Burst are both fun games that require critical thinking and deductive reasoning to finish. However, Dress Up was the most lacking minigame. To get articles of clothing for the game, you need to solve puzzles, which ultimately mean that the outfits cannot be completed until you complete a good amount of puzzles.
The StreetPass Challenges is a brand new feature. After finding items in the game, you can pick three to create a Treasure Hunt challenge for other people playing the game. When you tag the items with StreetPass, you can pass along your challenge.
The sound and graphics are still the same high quality you would expect. The voice actors still continue to do a fantastic job, and the soundtrack still continues to wow its listeners. The cutscenes contain beautifully drawn backgrounds enriched with stunning attention to detail.
Consequently, LEVEL-5 CEO Akihiro Hino has said that this will be the last game in the series to feature Professor Layton as the main protagonist. While it’s sad to think of this as the last Layton game, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy is a fine ending to a beloved series.
Categories: Video Game Reviews