Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Game Poster Image
Clever nonviolent puzzle crossover is fun, smart play.

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The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about puzzle solving and can practice their reasoning skills while taking in a compelling story. Featuring a pair of iconic puzzle characters, this enjoyable game has themes that include self-confidence and responsibility. The puzzles -- both the logical brainteasers found in the Professor Layton portions and the courtroom cases that require keen observation skills in the Phoenix Wright segments -- encourage kids to think critically and creatively. And the story and characters show good people acting courageously and responsibly, using brains rather than brawn to tackle problems. Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney is a great nonviolent game that requires players to use reason to get to the bottom of its many mysteries.

Positive Messages

Promotes deductive reasoning and makes puzzle solving fun. Suggests that hard work, intelligence, and integrity will result in justice.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Primary characters are polite, show courage and modesty, and believe in themselves and their abilities. They seek truth and justice and use their wits rather than violence to overcome obstacles, solve problems, and take down villains. 

Ease of Play

The Layton puzzles are sometimes tricky, but players can skip them. Players can get hints that don't give away solutions. Ditto for Phoenix Wright's courtroom trials, though in his section it's possible to fail and be forced to start over from a save point. 


Players don't engage in violence, but some scenes depict assault and murder. A pair of characters is engulfed in fire, a woman is struck in the head and knocked unconscious, and a girl is placed inside a metal sarcophagus and lowered into flames, where she presumably perishes. Players see bodies, but there's no gore, only occasional specks of blood.


No sex or nudity, but one female character wears a skimpy, revealing chef's outfit and another talks about being "properly proportioned."


Marries a pair of successful puzzle-game series and possibly is intended to generate new fans for each franchise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One character appears intoxicated and has difficulty speaking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright is a puzzle game that may be slightly more mature than players are used to from Professor Layton games (though it's on par with most Phoenix Wright releases). Some female characters wear sexualized clothing, and a few short bits of dialogue are faintly suggestive. Large portions are dedicated to the investigation of crimes, including assault and murder. Players will see bodies and a bit of blood but nothing more graphic. The game preserves both franchises' reputation for positive messages and role models. Player characters don't engage in violence but use their intellect to overcome obstacles and ensure that criminals are held accountable for their actions. The protagonists pride themselves on their gallant behavior. They have a legitimate desire to help others and place a high value on truth-seeking and justice.

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What's it about?

Level-5's doctor of puzzles and Capcom's legal genius cross paths for the first time in PROFESSOR LAYTON VS. PHOENIX WRIGHT ACE ATTORNEY, a mix of two franchises that manages to keep both intact. The story sees the good doctor and ace attorney working separately to assist a strange woman named Espella. They're magically transported to a fantasy town called Labyrinthia that's ruled over by the Storyteller, a man who writes the village's future before it happens. Parts of the game see Layton and his trusted apprentice, Luke, exploring as usual, talking to non-player characters and solving a broad spectrum of conundrums that includes logic puzzles and tile-sliding brainteasers. At regular intervals, the action switches to Phoenix and his assistant, Maya, who serve as attorneys in the town's fantastical court, where logic is unheard of and guilty verdicts result in a lethal dip in a fiery pit. The two heroes cross paths, but their playable sections remain distinct and recognizable.

Is it any good?

With segments that last for hours in a specific gaming motif before moving to the other, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney demands that players enjoy both series. It's not a hybrid that mashes together the casual-paced puzzles found in the Professor Layton games with the more frenzied courtroom contradictions of the Phoenix Wright franchise but rather a sandwich stacked with multiple layers of each type of play.

Players who enjoy both franchises will be in for a real treat. The fantastical plot centers on rational Layton trying to make sense of a world in which magic seems to exist and Wright valiantly plying his trade in a court that has little respect for his logical methods. It does a good job of putting both protagonists in their sweet spots and letting them do what they're best at. Families for whom both Layton and Wright have been puzzle gaming staples can't really go wrong.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about careers similar to those of Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright. Do you enjoy investigating mysteries and solving puzzles? Using logic to discern answers to difficult questions? What sort of jobs might let you put these skills to use?

  • Talk about the difference between action-oriented games and those that require more reading and critical thought to solve problems, such as Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney. Which type, in your opinion, is more challenging? Which do you prefer?

  • Professor Layton games don't usually include violent or mature content. What do you think is the point to tying the character and that franchise's style of play to a more mature series such as Phoenix Wright?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love puzzles

Themes & Topics

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