Professor Layton and the Unwound Future

The third Professor Layton installment on Nintendo DS brings new interesting narratives and challenging puzzles

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Nintendo Australia Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
  • Nintendo Australia Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
  • Nintendo Australia Professor Layton and the Unwound Future

Pros

  • 165 new mindbending puzzles, an interesting new story set in the much larger world of London; more integration between story and puzzles

Cons

  • To much travelling back and forth, the story is a little long winded and confusing

Bottom Line

The Professor Layton series has charmed a legion of DS owners with its colourful visual style, interesting narratives, and challenging puzzles. The latest instalment sees the plucky professor and his sidekick travelling through time, and it offers more of what series fans have come to love.

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In the third instalment of the Professor Layton franchise, The Unwound Future, we find the professor on his home turf of London, England tangled up in a new case. After receiving a mysterious note from someone who claims to be his apprentice, Luke, from 10 years in the future Layton and young Luke get pulled into a bizarre tale of an evil genius, a time machine, and a London of the future that is on the brink of destruction. The dynamic duo travel forward in time to save London and discover what has gone horrible awry. Along the way, they meet an entertaining mix of characters, from the thugs running the city to an older Luke of the future. Dealing with time travel and the inevitable paradox it creates does require more discussion than the simpler story-lines found in previous Layton titles but Unwound Future manages to make it work.

Unwound Future moves Professor Layton and his sidekick Luke to the bustling streets of London, and that brings with a dynamic change in gameplay. Instead of talking to every person you meet, you rush from location to location to unearth the game’s various puzzles. It was nice to see two different versions of London as well, with both the present version and future version nicely detailed in the game’s trademark animated style. Unfortunately, there is a lot of unnecessary backtracking involved; on more than one occasion I was told to check out one location and on arrival I was told I needed to go all the way across the world to another location.

But I was delighted to see how deftly the puzzles were woven into the narrative. There are still plenty of random puzzles that seemingly have nothing to do with anything, but there are also more instances when the puzzles are an integral part of the story-line. The most charming example was when Layton and the future version of Luke assembled a machine gun out of an old slot machine to fight off the onslaught of goons inside a crime-ridden casino.

One of the great things about all of the Professor Layton games is that when you "finish the game" you still have hours of content to discover. This is also an incentive to talk to every character multiple times and search your surroundings carefully because the next riddle you solve might open up a new minigame. Receive a toy car and a series of race tracks designed to test your problem solving skills will open up; unlock the parrot minigame and you can help your new friend deliver heavy items to you by creating ledges for him to perch on. It's a nice bonus on top of the already interesting puzzles and story. With an exhausted brain, I can easily say that Professor Layton and the Unwound Future is a treat for any puzzle solving fiend looking to test their smarts. There is more running back and forth than I would like but I still enjoyed the Unwound Future. It's a terrific title for fans of the franchise.

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