Monday, February 28, 2011

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future (DS)

Total Play Time: 2 hours

History with the Franchise:
I tried the first Professor Layton, probably about a year ago and I lost interest pretty quickly. I generally found that there wasn't enough of a payoff to justify putting the energy into solving the puzzles - which says to me that I am not the sort of person that likes to solve puzzles just for the sake of solving puzzles. That being said, with my new, less flippant gaming attitude, I thought I should give the newer Layton a serious try.

What Happened:
I started writing this review weeks ago and I've been sitting on it, since there's really not a whole lot to say. In this game you solve puzzles. I don't really care that much about solving puzzles... I played it in 15-20min snippets over the course of about a week. I got pretty far into the narrative, which is sort of interesting, but the game is slow.

What I Liked:
Story? The story is kind of interesting, although the writing is not particularly great. For example, Luke and the Professor get transported into the future.. and it's pretty obvious that they're in the future. I understand that they're being skeptical, especially since they're both supposed to be super logical, but their skepticism drags on in a sort of annoying way... But overall, I'm somewhat curious about what's happening in the overall story.

Art style. I like the art - particularly since I feel like they took a chance and made some really wacky character designs. In a game where the characters are 2D (so you don't have to worry about rigging and animation) I think you should have wacky characters. :) The animated cut scenes are sort of neat also.

What I Didn't Like:

Any excuse for a puzzle. I know it's the whole point of the game, but sometimes the excuses for puzzle time seem like just downright lazy writing. "Luke, please throw out that banana peel that someone left on the sidewalk. Here, to make the task pass faster, solve this riddle about banana peels." Does it take so long to throw out a banana peel that you need something to help you pass the time?? Also it's pretty hilarious how people are constantly asking you to prove your identity to them by solving a riddle. A lot of it just felt like padding - maybe they could have shortened the game by an hour or two and gotten rid of some of these situations which made the world seem a lot less believable.

Slow narrative. It just takes too long to get anywhere in the story since you're solving puzzles to appease everyone's whims... Like I said above, the whole experience could have been made shorter and I think it would have helped.

Characters. With all of the wacky character designs, characters are still pretty dull overall. Particularly Luke and the Professor. I guess they are supposed to feel sort of like 'everymen' so you can put yourself in their place? Maybe? They're just totally lame people. Occasionally the Professor will chastise Luke for 'being rude' when he says something wildly off the cuff... like "goodness, this town doesn't seem to be very well cared for." What an insolent little snot. :) All of the other people that fill the town are also surprisingly devoid of personality, although you can tell they at least tried a little harder. You just feel like they're standing around all day waiting for someone to give a puzzle to and there's nothing else actually going on in this world.

How Do I Feel About Continuing?:

Well, I started writing this review like, weeks ago and I haven't picked the game up since then.. so that sort of says it all. I could see picking it up every once in awhile if I'm like, stuck on an airplane or something. It's just not my cup of tea.

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