Professor Layton and the Last Specter

Common Sense Media says

Captivating puzzle game makes doing brainteasers a blast.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The underlying story in this game of puzzles and riddles involves Professor Layton, his assistant, and his apprentice all working to unravel the pieces of a mystery. Although the story involves destruction and violence, there is a strong sense of togetherness among the main characters, all of whom are model citizens with strong morals and ethics.

Positive role models

Professor Layton and his team of Emmy and Luke are positive role models. Professor Layton is a very polite and well-mannered gentleman who easily puts the well-being of others ahead of his own. His assistant Emmy is a clever assistant who also has good martial arts skills. She protects the team from an attack by thugs. And Luke excels at figuring out puzzles by using logic.

Ease of play

This game contains a wide variety of puzzles that will have even the most veteran game players and smartest individuals scratching their heads. The level of difficulty varies, with the more challenging puzzles generally appearing as players progress through the game. The puzzles test players' ability in math, logic, spatial recognition, and many other fields. That being said, they are designed for nearly anyone 12 and older to be able to solve as they focus on aptitude and critical thinking rather than knowing specific facts or formulas. Players with a basic understanding of algebra, geometry, and logic should be well equipped to get through most of the puzzles, though if they come across a real stumper there are hints available to help them progress through the game. And while you can skip some puzzles, there are times when the total number of puzzles solved is a requirement to proceeding further in the game.

 

Violence

There are some moments in the game's scattered cutscenes which depict violent activity, including a mysterious ghostly figure that wreaks havoc on a town, an explosion that leaves residents scrambling for safety, and a street fight with thugs. These events add to a sense of peril and urgency in the story but are secondary to the game's much stronger focus on puzzle solving.

Sex

There is some sexual innuendo in the dialog such as a character pining after her "man of chesty destiny." In the add-on London Life role-playing game, one of the defining traits for a character can be "Smooth Talker," which makes that character more attractive to the opposite sex.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

There are a few references to alcohol including a scene in a wine cellar and one puzzle is about sorting wine bottles.

Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Professor Layton and the Last Specter is a prequel to the other titles in the popular Professor Layton series. This game focuses on character development and helps reveal the backstories of the professor and his companions. In this installment, Professor Layton meets his new assistant Emmy and the child Luke (who becomes his apprentice in the other games), and together they try to figure out the mystery behind a ghostly figure that haunts a small town. In the process of telling the story, there are some scenes of violence, a few references to alcohol, and a smidgeon of sexual innuendo -- though the game's focus is on the puzzles and riddles that players must solve in order to continue.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • measurement
  • patterns
  • sequences

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • collecting data
  • logic

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Learning Approach

Support

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • measurement
  • patterns
  • sequences

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • collecting data
  • logic

Kids can learn critical thinking and puzzle-solving skills by adventuring with Professor Layton. A fascinating story line propels kids through a mystery, which unfolds piece by piece as players solve a wide variety of brainteasers. Puzzles range from basic math problems to complex spatial recognition activities to word problems. Most can be solved using logic, but a few require basic algebra and geometry. Stumped players can always access hints. Tackle a compelling mystery and fascinating puzzles in Professor Layton and the Last Specter.

This Learning Rating review was written by Mark Raby

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Professor Layton and the Last Specter is a prequel to the other games in the much-heralded Professor Layton franchise. Players learn the back-stories of Professor Layton and his sidekick Luke, while also getting to know Emmy, a new character. Players join the three while they solve a mystery about a ghostly "specter" that haunts a village and threatens to destroy it. As players progress through the game, they must solve a continuous slate of puzzles that relate to the story. For example, after Professor Layton receives an unusual letter, players must solve a puzzle to figure out a hidden message in the letter. The puzzles test basic math skills as well as critical thinking, spatial and object recognition, and deep levels of logic and reasoning.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Professor Layton and the Last Specter continues to live up to the outstanding reputation of the franchise, with an all-new round of captivating and truly unique puzzles and riddles. This latest entry continues to use the same addicting formula of puzzles that are instantly accessible but sometimes seemingly impossible to figure out. Just like its predecessors, players earn more points if they can solve the puzzle on their first try and without a hint, making the rush of submitting an answer for each puzzle as addicting as ever. The story is likewise brilliantly told and captures the imagination. This game is a must-have for puzzle aficionados and is sure to bring hours of fun and enjoyment to Professor Layton veterans as well as newcomers to the franchise.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how playing through a compelling story can make you want to tackle brain-stretching puzzles. Would you try to solve the puzzles if they weren't contained within a story?

  • What puzzles were easy to solve and which ones were more challenging for you? Did you like having hints available? Did you use them?

  • This is a game that takes a long time to play through. How do manage your time playing video games?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo DS
Price:$29.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Nintendo
Release date:October 17, 2011
Genre:Puzzle
ESRB rating:E10+ for Alcohol Reference, Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Violence, Simulated Gambling (Nintendo DS)

This review of Professor Layton and the Last Specter was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byDr.Pepper December 26, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Appropriate but hard

Some of the puzzles in this game (as well as all other Professor Layton games) can be very difficult and sometimes a lot of reading is involved. Their is nothing offensive content wise, it's just that young children may have a hard time understanding the game.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written bySweetDisposition October 23, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Mr. Layton is the undesputed puzzle king of the decade.

The Professor Layton formula is pretty simple, take an interesting story and mix it with mind-boggling puzzles and you've got this game. Layton's puzzles never disappoint in being both thought provoking and witty, and the game is just a fun, educational game to play. However, the puzzles are hard, and unless a parent wants to help their child, then this game should be played by kids who can handle being a bit frustrated at not being able to figure out a puzzle at first glance. The series itself if pure perfection, and really deserves to be played my more people. I highly recommend this game, and I honestly have no negative points about it right now. *NOTE: Being a teenager, my sense of what some parents might find suitable for their child might differ from what said parents actually think. I didn't really pick up on anything bad, persay, but maybe it's just because my sense of "bad" things is just distorted at this point. But seriously, buy this game. It's good.
What other families should know
Educational value
Teen, 13 years old Written bykobaltflame December 25, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

professor layton is a must buy game

Great game. this game is incredible, but I have to warn you there are some deaths (SPOILERS!!! they determine whether a man commits suicide, a girl is said to die in a year due to an illness). I honeslty think its alright for a three year old, but it would have to be a very smart and mature three year old. The puzzles can range from difficulty, but some of them you don't have to do. They also have 4 hints (the last one practically gives you the answer) so that should make it easier. Also, the last scene was very sad. (spoilers) In the last scene, the girls pet Loosha dies. I'm 13 and I was getting teary eyed. But this is a great game, and I reccomend it to anyone. (by the way, the storyline is INCREDIBLE. Professor layton games are always awesome)
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential School Tools