'Diabolical Box' develops characters, plot (VIDEO)
Music, love story caters to players emotions
Following the review on Level-5's first Professor Layton game, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, it only makes sense to review the second installment in the video game series, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, a mystery involving a cursed box rumored to kill all who open it.
As mentioned in the previous article, the Professor Layton series is designed for the Nintendo DS and DSi and makes good use of the dual screen feature, putting instructions for puzzles on the top screen and puzzles and navigation on the bottom touch screen.
The puzzle game starts with two sentences displayed on the screen for the player to chew on. "There are tales of a box that brings death on any who dare open it. Tell me, do you think these rumors to be true?"
Those two lines help set the mysterious tone of the game, which focuses on Professor Hershel Layton and his apprentice, Luke Triton, as they investigate the mysterious "Elysian Box" (or as it's rightly called in the Australian and European versions of the game, "Pandora's Box.")
An animated cut scene then plays, showing the Professor and Luke boarding a train known as The Molentary Express, or as some of the characters say, "A cruise ship on wheels."
The game then shows what had occurred the past week or two which lead to the investigation of the mysterious box.
The Professor had received a letter from his dear friend, Doctor Andrew Schrader. Schrader writes to tell that he has discovered the elusive Elysian Box and has been researching it for quite some time. He planned on finishing his research before opening the lid, but writes that his curiosity is just too great. In the unlikely event that he does indeed die, he would like Professor Layton to finish the study of the box.
"Being the second game in the series, the characters have developed enough for the writers to make a more complicated mystery to solve. Unlike Professor Layton and the Curious Village, while I had my assumptions, I was not able to guess the actual solution." --Emily Ladd, Writer
The game then provides instructions on how to play the game. By tapping somewhere on the touch screen, the player may investigate. The player may also move around using the little button, shaped like a shoe, to navigate around the area.
The Professor and Luke arrive at Dr. Schrader's apartment, or flat, to discover Schrader on the floor dead. But nowhere can they find any sign of the Elysian Box. All that seems of relevance in the room is a train ticket for the Molentary Express.
Luke, Layton and the head inspector for Scotland yard, Inspector Chelmey, board the train and take it to the town of Dropstone. Though they may have gotten more then they bargained for.
The setting quickly changes from the quaint little country town of Dropstone to the mysterious and brightly lit town known as Folsense. Nothing is exactly what it seems. The Professor and Luke finally discover the box, and despite all the warnings, Layton decides to lift the box's golden lid.
Like the previous game, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box is based around solving puzzles. The puzzles vary from sliding puzzles, math puzzles, riddles, brain teasers and a newer addition, mazes.
Some people find puzzles to be bland or uninteresting, but with a hint of humor worked into the art and puzzle, they can be pretty entertaining.
Being the second game in the series, the characters have developed enough for the writers to make a more complicated mystery to solve. Unlike Professor Layton and the Curious Village, while I had my assumptions, I was not able to guess the actual solution.
The ending of the game is also a bit emotional. Though it isn't a tear jerker, it might pull on your heartstrings a bit.
The entire mystery surrounding the Elysian Box and the town of Folsense continues to become more unclear as more clues are uncovered, until one main clue makes everything clear. The mystery was even more intriguing the the previous one and I found myself disappointed when it ended. Not because the game wasn't enjoyable, but because I had enjoyed it so much I wanted to play more.
The soundtrack was even more entertaining than the previous game's, with music that set the mysterious tone of the game wonderfully.
Along with the main game play, three mini games are also available to play. The player can make an obstacle course for a hamster, put a camera back together and gather diary pages, which are largely helpful in the case.
Unlike the previous game, Professor Layton and the Diabolical box has a hint of romance in it. The Elysian Box seems to have a connection to a love story between two characters, one of which who passed away.
With the qualities of a mystery book, an animated movie and interactive video game, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box proves to be even better than it's previous game.
Anyone who enjoyed Professor Layton and the Curious Village should buy this game. With elements of the previous game ingrained into it and and an even more interesting story and mystery to sink your teeth into the game is definitely worth being bought to play.
The series continues with the next game Professor Layton and the Unwound Future.
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box is rated E10+ for Alcohol Reference and Mild Violence.
For more video game reviews, read the Oct. 18 article, Puzzle game provides unique game play (VIDEO).