I have just recently started to really play my Nintendo DS and when I asked around for recommendations, the Professor Layton series was always at the top of the list. Professor Layton and the Curious Village was released in the US February 10, 2008. It was published and developed by Level-5 in Japan and Nintendo in the US.
The game begins with Professor Layton and his assistant Luke getting summoned to the city of St. Mystere in order to help solve the town's mystery involving a golden apple. It is rumored that the one who solves this mystery will obtain the fortune left behind by the late Baron Augustus Reinhold. Many people have tried and failed. As you explore the village of St. Mystere, you soon find that everyone in the village is quite fond of puzzles and brain teasers. You travel around the village searching for clues in order to solve the mystery of the golden apple but also other cases including finding a lost kitten, investigating missing villagers, and even a murder mystery.
So as you travel through the village, you question villagers who typically will not answer your questions until you solve a puzzle or brain teaser they have come up with. Once you complete their test, they will provide you with clues and information about the village and its mysteries. Gameplay follows a point and click style to explore the village and question villagers.
As you travel through the different sections of the village you are able to click on doors you'd like to enter, people you'd like to interact with, and also to find clues scattered about the village. This style fit the game well and I really enjoyed it. It is a simple and fun way to get around and it eliminates the chore of searching every nook and cranny that you often find in puzzle games.
As for the puzzles themselves, I found them to be quite enjoyable. Since the puzzles are the main portion of this game, you will be spending about 70% of the time solving puzzles and the other 30% of the time exploring to progress the story. This was both a good and bad thing. I am the type of person who will not progress through the game until I solve every puzzle I come across and I don't like using hints. If a puzzle stumped me I would stick with it until I solved it and then move on.
You are able to find "hint coins" all throughout the village which you can use to get up to three hints per puzzle which will help if you get stuck. You are also able to skip puzzles that you are stuck on without any penalty so long as you don't skip too many, but I just couldn't get myself to leave a puzzle unsolved. This caused me to run into sections where I would find a lot of hidden puzzles and by the time I completed them all I just wanted to get on with the story only to run into more puzzles. While I found the puzzles to be rather simple, there were a few that I had to put quite a bit of thought into.
Overall, they were quite enjoyable. I will go on to a few other areas of this game that I enjoyed. The first is the story. It could be a little slow at times but overall I really enjoyed it. It was a fun mystery that became more and more interesting as it unfolded. I also thought that the ending tied the game together incredibly well and really made the game a lot more enjoyable for me.
The next thing that I enjoyed was the artwork. I thought it was a very simple yet nice looking game and the artwork fit its style perfectly. Also, the voice acting was very well done.
All around I think the game is a very enjoyable experience and it is definitely worth buying. The game took me approximately 9 hours to complete and I only finished about 90 of the 135 puzzles available in the game. Also, you can get more puzzles weekly by download. If you enjoy puzzles and brain teasers, this game is a must own.