Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a puzzle-based adventure game. Actually, that probably gives the wrong impression, making you think that the game is about figuring out how to use these items to get access to a key that you can use to open a door over there; I should say instead that it’s a puzzle-obsessed adventure game, in the sense that, whenever you strike up a conversation with a random NPC, he or she may or may not have anything to say about whatever is on your mind, but will definitely show you a picture drawn with matchsticks and ask you to, say, turn it from four cubes to three cubes by only moving one matchstick. Or might tell you of a farmer trying to convey wolves and chickens across the river using a boat that only carries two animals, where three chickens can successfully defend themselves against two wolves but one chicken can’t. Or he’ll ask you how he can possibly measure five cups of milk, given that he’s somehow lost his five-cup measure but has a helpful set of ten-cup, seven-cup, and three-cup measures.
I might as well stop here; most people will either run screaming from the game or fall in love with it, and the above paragraph should give you enough information to determine which bucket you fall into. If you want puzzles, this is the place to go: there are 130 or so of them, I enjoyed them all, there are ample hints should you need them. On a non-puzzle-related note, the art style is totally charming, in a sort of Triplets of Belleville way.
And there’s already a sequel out in Japan, with a third game in the series promised; yay!
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