Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box follows the wildly successful Professor Layton and the Curious Village. With a new story and more puzzles to solve, LEVEL-5 managed to pull another masterpiece out their hat.
The story of Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box begins with the dashing gentleman, Professor Layton, receiving a letter from his mentor explaining he was in possession of the Elysian Box. The tale is that everyone who opened the box was killed instantly. Professor went to his old mentor’s apartment to find him collapsed on the floor and the Elysian box nowhere to be found. Our old friend, Detective Chelmey makes a return visit to the series and the adventure begins with Professor Layton and Luke on the exquisite Molentary Express.
The story itself is great. When you think you have it figured out, there’s another twist in the plot. I don’t want to give anything away, but you will encounter many interesting characters on your journey – old and new. My favorite was the train conductor, Samuel, who reminded me of David Lee Roth. The cut scenes were well done and kept you wanting to play so you could solve all of the mysteries.
The second installment in the Professor Layton series followed the same formula as Professor Layton and the Curious Village, with the addition of some mini-games and a memo feature. The memo function was present in the puzzles and allowed you to make notes on the puzzle. My power of deduction was heightened to almost-genius level with this new feature.
The first mini-game involves an obese hamster that you must whip into shape. Shape it up. Get it straight. Throughout the game you receive objects that will help with the process. Once the hamster is fit, he will aid you in your adventure by sniffing out hint coins you may have otherwise missed. The second mini-game is a tea set, which really does nothing but relaxes or revitalizes frazzled characters. You find different ingredients along the way and can brew 10 different recipes. The third mini-game is a puzzle involving a broken camera. Once you put the pieces back in the correct spot, you will unlock a “spot the difference” game. These were fun to take a break from the story.
The puzzles were the best brain teasers ever compiled in a video game. After playing the Curious Village, I did feel that some of the puzzles were a little too easy, but maybe I had come across similar puzzles before and figured out how to solve them. After all, most of these puzzles were based on historic puzzles that those without electricity used to solve to pass the time. What I liked more about the puzzles in the Diabolical Box was that most of the puzzles seemed to relate to what was happening at that particular moment in the game.
Overall, this was a game that doesn’t come around too often. It’s a solid offering of over 100 brain teasers that keep you coming back for more. Even after finishing the game, I wanted to find more puzzles to solve. If you like puzzles, do not wait to get this game.