A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
- 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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
- Platforms: Nintendo DS
- Subjects: Math: measurement, patterns, sequences
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, collecting data, logic
- 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
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love thinking games
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.