A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while there's a mysterious death during the game, it's not shown. This is a mystery game chock full of logic puzzles. The puzzles range in difficulty, but some require mathematical concepts usually introduced in about 7th grade, so we have set the age appropriateness at 12 and up. Precocious kids may be able to tackle these puzzles at a younger age. Additional puzzles can be downloaded using the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. This is a game that makes using your mind fun.
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What's it about?
PROFESSOR LAYTON AND THE CURIOUS VILLAGE combines a good mystery story with a series of challenging brainteasers. To crack the case, you have to solve the logic puzzles. The game takes place in St. Mystere, a strange little village where all the inhabitants love puzzles. Professor Layton, a renowned puzzle-solver, and his apprentice arrive at the town to help the family of the late Baron Reinhold. The Baron's will reveals that before he died, he hid a great treasure somewhere in St. Mystere. While interviewing the inhabitants for clues, one of the family members dies mysteriously. Now there are two mysteries to solve. The villagers are very willing to help you if you will solve their favorite puzzle first. In all, there are over 130 puzzles including such classics as the one where you have three wolves and three chickens that need to cross over a river on a raft. You have to figure out how to ferry them across so that at no time do the wolves outnumber the chickens.
Is it any good?
While solving brainteasers may seem like a lot of work, it doesn't feel that way in this context. The professor encourages you and even lets you buy three hints per puzzle using coins you can find while hunting around the village. And since you are rewarded with a clue or other important information for solving puzzles, the mystery angle motivates you to keep tackling the puzzles.
Fascinating characters and outstanding graphics also contribute to this game's excellence. Professor Layton is a British chap who reminds you of Sherlock Holmes and his wide-eyed apprentice provides some comic relief because of his naiveté. The characters you meet in the village are all eccentric and fascinating. The game uses hand-drawn watercolor graphics and occasional fully voiced animations to create a whimsical style reminiscent of the animated film The Triplets of Belleville.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading, reading comprehension
Math: algebra, estimation, patterns, probability, sequences
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, problem solving, solving puzzles
Creativity: brainstorming, developing novel solutions
- Price: $30
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: February 10, 2008
- Genre: Puzzle
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Violence
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