The Beginners Guide to the Professor Layton Games


If you love having your grey matter challenged but have no idea who Professor Layton is, or what all the fuss is about, then you’re missing out on a whole lot of fun!

Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call recently came out for Nintendo DS - just in time for those happy holidays - and while it’s the fourth entry in this successful series of puzzle games, it’s also a prequel story set three whole years before the events of the first title. So if you’d like to join in on the fun this festive season, now’s the perfect time to jump in...

What are these games about?

All of the Professor Layton titles are puzzle adventure games for Nintendo DS starring Professor Layton and Luke Triton; in these adventures the player investigates and solves one main mystery by tackling a wide variety of numerous, smaller puzzles to make progress and uncover secrets.

The games have a similar feel to classic mystery novels, and are full of kooky, idiosyncratic characters and curious, mysterious places - all of which are brought to life with stylish cartoon-like visuals and distinctive animations. The puzzles the games revolve around were created by Akira Tago, whose series of brainteasing books have sold more than 12 million copies in Japan, and are sure to challenge even the most ardent puzzle fan!

Who’s who

While the series has a number of interesting, unusual, and downright enigmatic recurring characters – like grumpy Inspector Chelmey and oddball Granny Riddleton - the two stars (Professor Hershel Layton and Luke Triton) are naturally the most important:

Professor Hershel Layton:
An English gentleman and Professor of Archaeology, Layton is famed for his remarkably sharp intellect for puzzle-solving, as well as his archaeological discoveries. He always dresses smartly in a suit and top hat, loves solving brainteasers and has a penchant for a soothing cuppa. He is extremely polite, and strongly believes in acting like the consummate gentleman at all times.

Luke Triton:
Professor Layton’s apprentice, Luke accompanies Layton on all his adventures. He dresses in a blue outfit with short trousers, topped off with a newsboy cap; he also likes puzzles and gets on rather well with animals. Luke can be a bit of a cheeky little urchin at times, though he aspires to be a proper gentleman like his mentor.

Adventures with puzzles!

These games are much more than a series of dry tests for your brain! The puzzles are integrated into gripping adventure stories; like a proper detective, you’ll have to investigate each environment thoroughly, walking around, talking to people (and perhaps helping them out), as well as solving the puzzles therein if you want to crack the case. As the series progresses you’ll gradually find out more about each of the major characters; you’ll delve into their history, see the events that shaped their personalities, and really get to know what they’re like as people.

Iwata Asks

You control the game, investigate places and enter puzzle answers using the Touch Screen. You may need to tap, circle, draw, cross out, drag, or even write something down to give your answers to the puzzles, and having a good search by tapping around the cartoon-like environments shown on the Touch Screen can turn up all kinds of useful things too!
A range of puzzles

There are tons of different types of puzzles in the games, with language riddles, logic conundrums, spatial challenges and mathematical brainteasers among the many varieties present – so your wits are guaranteed to be tested, or at the very least you’ll feel very clever indeed!

The puzzles range in difficulty from fairly simple challenges to extremely tricky stumpers – but don’t worry, while you’re investigating around the place you’re sure to discover some hint coins. For each puzzle you can cash in some hint coins in exchange for a number of hints that will help you to solve any mind-boggler you’re bewildered by!

On top of the puzzles dotted around the world, the most recent titles in the series involve minigames, like laying track for a Toy Train, arranging an exercise course for a tubby hamster to work out on, and more – regardless of the theme, the minigames offer a series of fun puzzle challenges for your brain too.

Iwata Asks

The series so far...

There are four titles in the Professor Layton series for Nintendo DS...

The first: Professor Layton and the Curious Village, released November 7th 2008.
The puzzle-solving duo travel to the village of St Mystere to investigate the mystery surrounding the last will and testament of (recently deceased) Baron Augustus Reinhold. The Baron’s will states that whomsoever should discover the hiding place of a precious treasure called the Golden Apple - hidden within the village - will be entitled to his entire fortune! However, there is much more to St Mystere than there appears to be at first glance.

The second: Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box, released September 25th, 2009.
Layton and Luke are on the case to track down the mythical Elysian Box (a mysterious artefact, purported to kill any who should open it) which has been stolen by an unknown thief. Their investigations lead them to take passage on the Molentary Express, a strange train that delivers them to the dreamy town of Folsense, a place which holds vastly more secrets than the duo could possibly expect.

The third: Professor Layton and the Lost Future, released October 22nd, 2010.
While assisting in a demonstration of a prototype time machine, the Prime Minister seemingly vanishes into thin air - a week later, the professor receives a letter from Luke, from 10 years in the future! In the course of their investigations, Luke and Layton are catapulted through time to future London, where everything is different, and nothing is as it seems...

The fourth entry in the series - a prequel tale exploring the origins of Luke and Layton’s first alliance years ago - was released on November 25th this year. In this adventure Professor Layton and his assistant at the time (Emmy Altava) investigate the mystery of a terrible phantom laying waste to the buildings of a foggy town by night... Pop over to our Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call website to find out more!

For a one-stop way for information and links to all the games in the series, why not bookmark our Professor Layton hub!

If you already own our latest handheld, you can play these Nintendo DS games in 2D on your Nintendo 3DS - and you’re in luck too, because Professor Layton will return next year in a brand new 3D case, exclusively on Nintendo 3DS!

Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call is  in shops now for Nintendo DS.