Professor Layton And The Azran Legacy

by Wencke Schuncken
author awarded score: 85/100

Professor Layton And The Azran Legacy Review
Publisher: Nintendo
Format: Nintendo 3DS
Reviewed by: Wencke Schuncken

And who returned to trouble any gamer’s brain over and over again? Yes, it’s THE professor Layton. Another year, another huge test to check if your IQ dropped, braincells got damaged, or still can concentrate on solving puzzles to solve an even bigger trouble in the world of Professor Layton, Luke and Emmy. Welcome to another new adventure; Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy.

As in each professor Layton game, and this is the is the sixth entry in the Professor Layton series, the game always starts with a story, a challenge and an issue in which the help of the professor is needed. This game opens to Professor Layton, his self-proclaimed apprentice Luke and the tritagonist, Emma, the professor’ assistant, while they travel to the snow laden city of Snowrassa to investigate a 'living mummy'. There, they find a girl named Aurora, who comes from an ancient race known as the Azrans, frozen in ice. After freeing her and realizing she has lost her memory, their investigation takes them around the world as they search for the truth behind the mysterious Azran civilization and the hidden treasure it holds. In the process, they are caught in the crossfire between Targent and Jean Descole. The Targent is a mysterious organization which posess the Azran Legacies, the relic of an ancient civilization, and wish to utilize the Azrans' power for them. In addition, Jean Descole, Targent's rival, also wishes to utilize the Azran Legacies, thus setting the stage as the conflict for the Legacies unfolds. Something fun to interfere with … and maybe it sounds a bit complicated, but that’s nothing compared the the more difficult puzzles you’ll need to solve.

Follow Professor Layton and his friends as they explore various environments and solve many of the 165 puzzles in order to make progress. On your quest you will be treated on a marvelous and challenging adventure which is not only fun to experience but also very rewarding. The gameplay is to scan each place you visit, talk to all characters, tapping objects to find special items / coins and of course solving loads of brain teasing puzzles. Hey you even take a flight and (try to) shoot robots down! While exploring the areas make use of the helpful tool, the magnifying glass, to scan each object and character. The color of the glasses changes when it picks up a signal. For example it turns blue to zoom in and explore a secret part of the scenery or it turns orange if there is an interactive object or character to find special items such as coins, information or (oh yes) a puzzle.

Although we love to explore magnificent designed places, while walking or flying a steam punk designed airship, solving puzzles is the main ingredient to play a Professor Layton game. A true challenge for your brain with different types of puzzles; visualization, logical, slide and spot the differences. Use the memo-screen to make notes to unravel the mystery behind it or pay a coin to get a hint to solve the puzzle (up to 4 hints can be bought). Each puzzle has a certain difficulty level, the value of picarats. At the beginning of each puzzle, the value of picarats will be shown. If you solve the puzzle without making a mistake, the full value will be added to your account. If you do make a mistake, well the value drops as your knowledge did previously. In case you are very coin protective you can always save the game after each successful solved puzzle, and once you cannot solve and spend too many unnecessary coins, you can always turn of the 3DS and restart again from the last save. Believe me some puzzles have solutions you probably won’t come up with … I‘ll never forget that puzzle in the beginning of the game in which you need to state how many cups of warm water are needed to get your hands on a gift packed in a huge icecube. You’ll never guess what the designers thought of as the right answer, but I don’t want to get any spoilers in this review. A little tip though, think outside the “cube” near a warm spot instead of making mathematical mistakes.

Thanks to a lot of strolling through different places, and discovering and solving more puzzles, you’ll feel rewarded. Some brain chemicals start to work and you need more puzzles to keep on stimulating it. An addiction in progress? Yes as you want to know how the story evolves! Or maybe you want to test if you can solve the puzzles without spending any coin for a hint. Or maybe you want to unlock special features such as the puzzle register, the place for all puzzles discovered so far and the possibility to solve them (again). More exiting is unlocking secret bonus material by gathering picarats along the way, checking Layton’s log to keep track of the story, watch episodes to learn more about the character and last but not least some mini-games;
“The Nut Roller” for example is a mini-game in in which a squirrel needs guidance to his walnut by moving certain obstacles strategically on the field. Maybe more targeting at the female gamers is the “Dress Up” mini-game with the objective to provide fashion advice to various characters. Pick the right set of clothes until all conditions are met and the character is satisfied.

From a female point of view, the Professor Layton series has a steady cast with the female character Emmy Altava starring as the professors’ assistant. She’s the tritagonist in the series. Emmy is a bright and vivacious girl who loves taking pictures and keeps her trusty camera with her at all times. She also wants to make notes all the times which can become useful in the future. Emmy also boasts excellent martial-arts skills and can topple a man several times her size, making her a valuable ally. But to break the “ice” in the blocked entrance of the cave in which another important female character is hidden for millions of years, it take make than just a fierce kick. But maybe the most important female character is Aurora. She appears to be the sole survivor of the Azran civilization. She seems to have absolutely no recall of the civilization, possibly a result of being frozen in the cave. She remembers everything later in the game, so no spoilers here, except that she turns out to be the secret key to the civilization of Azran.

Besides the female character point of view, it is also noticeable in the beginning of the game that the puzzles are a bit girlish with puzzle themes with planting flowers, sewing, and patchwork of flowers again. This may also be the case with the unlocked mini-game “Dress Up”.

Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy; action time for the Professor equals action time for your brain. It’s related to previous parts in the Layton series, but can be played as a stand-alone game. Besides new puzzles, graphics also are astonishing from time to time. Some frames looks like pictures, the 3D visuals are way better, but I also like the little 8 bit graphics visuals of various characters on screen, to watch who’s in the team, but also in the mini-games. The game certainly is rewarding and keeps on triggering your mind and motivation to push the limits of knowledge. One note though for the experienced Layton addicts, don’t expect any real surprises; The series are solid quality and the Azran Legacy is a perfect addition to the series and to your game collection after ALL puzzles are solved!