A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights is a puzzle game with a bit of simple and mild turn-based fantasy combat. It dabbles lightly in mature themes with occasional references to things like womanizing and drinking, but most of the content -- including its puzzles, which start out easy and only gradually grow more challenging -- is clearly designed for a younger audience. Parents should remember that Nintendo suggests children under the age of 7 not play 3DS games with 3D functionality switched on, as stereoscopic effects may damage developing vision. Parents can turn off the 3D functionality by using the device's parental controls.
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What's it about?
Many gamers will instantly recognize DOCTOR LAUTREC AND THE FORGOTTEN KNIGHTS as a clone of Level-5’s popular Professor Layton games. It stars a top hat-clad archeology professor and his apprentice who use logic rather than violence to overcome obstacles, offers up a seemingly endless procession of varied puzzles ranging from crosswords to tile-based spatial reasoning conundrums, and advances its story -- which focuses on magical treasures lurking under the streets of 19th-century Paris -- via high-quality animated movies. Unlike the Professor Layton series, it adds in a dash of combat through infrequent turn-based battles that see players going up against ghost-like entities by carefully selecting various energy-based attacks.
Is it any good?
Doctor Lautrec lacks the charisma and gentle-heartedness of Professor Layton, but he grows on the players as the game progresses. Engaging cut scenes filled with beautiful action, good writing, and memorable voice performances -- this really is one of the more polished 3DS titles available -- do a good job of drawing players into the game’s authentically twisty story.
Its puzzles and occasional battles, meanwhile, are well crafted but suffer from repetition. Unlike the Layton games, which feature hardly any repeating puzzle types, players will encounter a number of similar challenges, most notably the battles. This has the advantage of allowing players to grow familiar with and become better at certain types of tasks, but also the disadvantage of growing predictable. Doctor Lautrec is good fun, but doesn’t quite measure up to the franchise that inspired it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about ways in which games might prove unexpectedly educational. Do you feel as though you flexed your grey matter playing this game? Did its puzzles force you to use reason and think logically?
Families can also discuss the depiction of historical settings in games. Do you think this adventure presents an authentic recreation of 19th-century France? What’s accurate? What’s unrealistic?
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