People love puzzles. Japanese people doubly so (see Brain Age, SuDuKo, Go, etc.). Thus, a few years ago Level-5 rolled up all the puzzles they could find in one tidy package called Professor Layton and the Curious Village. The DS title featured Layton, a natty professor, and Luke, his apprentice, solving puzzle after puzzle in order to unravel a townwide mystery. Curious Village landed Stateside about a year after its Japanese release, much to the delight of brainfreaks everywhere.
The Curious Village sold over 700,000 units in Japan in 2007 and was the top selling game for the Nintendo DS in the United States in the first three weeks after its release, so you know there are sequels.
The first sequel is Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box. This time Layton and Luke are off to visit the Professor’s mentor, who sent them a letter about a mysterious box. This title, released in Japan in November of 2007, features three distinct areas, including a train and two villages. There are also new meta-games including collecting items to exercise your hamster and brewing the perfect cup of tea. The game sold over 800,000 copies in Japan as of July 2008. The U.S. port of Pandora’s Box was confirmed in February 2008, and U.S. gamers are expecting to see it here sometime in November 2008.
This has not kept Level-5 from going full steam ahead with Professor Layton 3, however. They recently released a trailer for Professor Layton and the Last Time Travel. This time Layton travels to future London for unknown reasons. You can check out the trailer here (in Japanese):
The Weiner enjoyed Curious Village. Some of the puzzles, such as obtaining 4 ounces of water with only a 3 ounce and 5 ounce glass, are classics. It was a thrill to solve piles and piles of these chestnuts. I wonder, however, how many more old saws they can haul out. Are there enough classic puzzles for three games? If not, are there enough new puzzles and variations to keep things interesting and challenging? We’ll have more on this when Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box and Professor Layton and the Last Time Travel are released in America.