A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about puzzle solving while practicing a variety of core skills learned in school in this fun and charming adventure. A diverse range of cleverly constructed conundrums force kids to do math, carefully read and re-read instructions, clues, and hints, and employ logic and their understanding of the world in order to noodle out solutions. Their reward is a tangible sense of satisfaction. Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy teaches kids that most problems can be overcome by clear thought, perseverance, and maybe the occasional helpful hint.
As with other games in the Professor Layton series, The Azran Legacy is all about using brains rather than brawn to accomplish objectives. It encourages a love of puzzles and intellectual growth and suggests there's no conundrum that can't be solved if you put your mind to it.
Positive Role Models
Professor Layton is a perfect gentleman, always eager to do well by others. Protective of his friends, cautious in his endeavors, and reliably clever, he prefers using his intellect over violence as a means of solving problems. His young companions Emmy and Luke clearly aim to model their behavior after the doctor and want nothing more than to impress him with their wits and moral judgment.
Ease of Play
Some of the puzzles are quite challenging, but hint coins collected while playing can be used to unlock up to five clues for each puzzle. These clues start off vague, providing only slight hints that won't ruin the puzzle, but the final ones pretty much give it away and can be useful for players who are really struggling. The upshot is that there's little worry of stalling out midway simply because a player can't solve a particular puzzle.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is discussed -- evil cartoonish characters sometimes talk in vague terms about hurting people -- but rarely shown. On those occasions when violence actually occurs, people generally aren't hurt. Machine guns fire without hitting anyone; missiles approach the camera but disappear without visual impact. One sequence depicts a character being stabbed, but the player is not in control of the action, and no blood is shown.
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Products & Purchases
This game is part of Nintendo's popular Professor Layton series, which includes several other games and a movie.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A scene set in a pub allows players to briefly interact with a man who's clearly imbibed a bit too much beer and is slurring his words.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy is a narrative-driven adventure filled with hundreds of puzzles. As in previous Layton games, its heroes -- including a professor, a young woman, and a boy -- are very likable and make great role models for kids. They stop to help strangers, rarely back down from a challenge, and always use their heads rather than their fists to overcome obstacles. There's a bit more action than in previous games, with the protagonists occasionally coming under fire from guns and missiles. But the violence is rare and mild and at no point overshadows the game's hundreds of brainteasers. Even when under attack from rockets, players still need to solve puzzles, examining numbers stamped on each one to disable them in order. And, as usual, a generous supply of hints helps ensure that kids who are struggling never get completely stuck.
Is It Any Good?
The Layton games have always been catnip for puzzle lovers who are tired of repetitive, one-trick puzzle games, and Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy is no different. Few of the game's hundreds of puzzles are alike, and most of them are wonderfully crafty and loaded with red herrings, requiring players to carefully reread the instructions in search of clues that will help reveal the real solution. There's a delightful sense of satisfaction upon a successful solve.
The only potential problem is that, although all the puzzles are technically new, a surprising number of them feel like reworked versions of puzzles that appeared in previous Layton games. This won't be an issue for relative newcomers to the series, who will find it all very fresh and likely will have a fine time from start to finish. Longtime Layton fans, on the other hand, may find themselves wishing for a bit more originality.
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Our Editors Recommend
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