Review: Professor Layton and Pandora's Box - Nintendo DS

by Steven Williamson on 10 September 2009, 17:32

Tags: Professor Layton and Pandora's Box, Nintendo (TYO:7974), DS, Puzzle

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A new mystery is afoot

What's it about?
Professor Layton And Pandora's Box is the sequel to the chart-topping, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, which received high review scores across the board for its unique blend of charming characters, interactive storytelling and puzzle solving. Pandora’s Box unsurprisingly offers more of the same thing, but a slightly more grander scale.

The storyline, which is bolstered by animated sequences and voice-over work, sees Professor Layton and his young side-kick Luke investigate the secrets of Pandora’s Box, which is thought to kill anybody who opens it. Through exploration, character and object interaction you unlock a variety of puzzles and brain teasers that range in difficulty. Some puzzles are skippable and others have to be solved in order to progress through the storyline. Though exploration is essential for success, Pandora's Box is essentially a point-and-click puzzle game.

The puzzle count has been increased since the last game in the series with a grand total of 152 puzzles to solve, ranging from logic and mathematical brain teasers to riddles and variations of classic puzzles, such as moving matches and the popular river puzzle. Each puzzle has a value (shown in Picarats) and if you get it wrong the value decreases. As well as progressing through the story, you're often rewarded for solving puzzles by being given an item that goes toward solving some of the mini-games that branch off from the main storyline.

Though some of the puzzles are fiendishly difficult, you can unlock up to three hints providing that you've gathered enough hint coins in the bank. Finding hint coins is a side game in itself and by tapping the stylus on objects you uncover hidden coins to add to your tally.

Despite its colourful world and cartoon graphics, Pandora's Box isn't a game for young children. You'll need to be mentally switched on and focused to succeed.

Gameplay impressions overleaf...