In the future, a criminal organization led by a corrupt Professor Layton has taken over London. In order to stop him, Luke has sent a note ten years in the past in the hopes that Layton will bring down his future self and save the city.
As usual we have Professor Layton, Luke, Flora, Chelmey and many other characters that we are familiar with from previous games, as well as a few new ones. In this game we finally discover what made Layton the gentlemen he is today, why he treasures his hat and what started the one-sided feud between him and Don Paulo. Despite how happy Layton might seem, his past is actually a tragic one. At the end of the storyline he cries. I want to leave this review spoiler free so I can’t say why he cries, but I can say this: when he cries he actually seems more human. Luke is, as usual, the doting apprentice of Professor Layton. He happily solves puzzles and defends Layton when he is insulted. In this game you truly see how close he and Layton are as certain events unfold. Despite those events, Layton and Luke continue to have their beautiful friendship. Flora is the odd one out. She is loved by both Layton and Luke, but she is not fully accepted as part of the group. When she confronts them about leaving her behind, Layton breaks his gentleman code by lying to her. He claims that it’s because he doesn’t want to put her in danger and that is a factor, but not the true reason. Flora is still new and she is not as close to Layton as Luke is. Plus, let’s face it; Flora cannot take care of herself due to her past (those who have played Professor Layton and the Curious Village will understand what I’m talking about). Still, I was happy that Flora included herself in the adventure and she even got to solve a few puzzles. Unfortunately she is still a damsel in distress, yet I really hope that these are the first few steps for her to slowly develop into a strong character. The character of this story that truly surprised me was the villain, who despite his evil plan, is actually a very sympathetic character.
Like every other game in this series, you will be solving puzzles and they get harder as the game goes on. Trust me, you will need to collect as many hint coins as possible and some of them will be sent to the riddle shack if you fail to solve them in time. However, in order to advance further in the game, you will need to backtrack and solve a few more puzzles. The puzzles also reward items that are necessary for completing the three mini-games. In this game, they are the delivering parrot, the toy car and the picture books. The parrot delivers items to various characters in the game and once he finishes the last delivery, you have a new companion to help you collect hint coins. The toy car comes with various courses and is actually my favorite of the mini games, and not only because of the animation and the arrows. It also gives you a glimpse into Luke’s character. Despite how hard he tries to be an adult, he’s still a ten-year old kid who likes to play every once in a while. The picture books are incomplete and it is your job to collect various drawings and finish each story. When you’re through with the story and the mini-games, you unlock Layton’s Challenges and when you’ve completed those, you unlock profiles, art, sound clips and various other special features. If that’s not enough, you can download new puzzles using the Wi-Fi on your Nintendo DS. In other words, not really that different from other Professor Layton games, but sometimes consistency is not such a bad thing.
Not only is the game fun and challenging, it is also a compelling story with true characters. The story was filled with twists and turns that I honestly did not see coming and the characters show a hidden depth that will surprise you. For the first time in this series, I actually cried. I give this game a ten out of ten. I was going to give it an eight or a nine, but the fact that the game emotionally affected me brought it up to a full ten.