Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy – Full Review

Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy is the second Professor Layton game on the 3DS, the final game in the prequel trilogy and also the final game to star Professor Layton as the main character. This stunning finale has the usual puzzle-solving gameplay, charming visuals, over-the-top mysteries and addicting point-and-click adventure gameplay we all know and love.

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There are over 150 puzzles to solve. Think you can take them all on?

The Azran Legacy follows the story of Hershel Layton, his apprentice Luke Triton, and his assistant Emmy, in an adventure that wraps up the events in previous games The Spectre’s Call, The Eternal Diva and The Miracle Mask.

The main gameplay aspect of The Azran Legacy, as with all Professor Layton games, involves puzzle-solving. There are over 150 puzzles to tackle in the series’ recogniseable, charming style, presented as a small scenario; rather than straight up giving the player a problem and demanding an answer. Not all puzzles are unique however; you will come across several repeats of previous puzzles, albeit with a higher difficulty and/or with new rules to solving them.

Solving puzzles will reward you with ‘Picarats’; with puzzles differing in the amount of Picarats to awarded. Giving incorrect answers to puzzles reduces the Picarat prize, but thankfully, the Picarats will only decrease to a certain amount before stopping. Collecting Picarats have no impact on the story, but they do unlock certain features upon completing the game, such as character profiles, the music gallery and whatnot.

Should you find yourself stumped on a puzzle, fear not. Hidden around the point-and-click areas are hint coins  that you can use to buy hints for any puzzle. There are four hints available for you to unlock, with the final, “Super Hints” costing two hint coins, which practically tells the player the answer.

This latest adventure takes Layton all over the world.

This latest adventure takes Layton all over the world.

These aren’t the only puzzles on offer – as players progress through the plot, three mini-games are unlocked that can be accessed at any time. Meeting new characters and solving more puzzles, unlocks more stages for those mini-games.

Dress-Up has you select five different pieces of clothing for clients to satisfy their specific demands; Nut-Roller involves a squirrel pushing rocks and around a map to plug in pits; and Bloom and Shrooms has the player plant flowers on a map to cause a huge chain reaction and bloom all the dead trees. These mini-games are completely optional, but fully completing one will unlock more puzzles in the bonus menu.

I feel that puzzles in The Azran Legacy are more varied and fun to solve than those of previous games in series. There are less mathematical problems in this game, replaced by actual riddles and puzzles that require clever thinking, but not necessarily time to solve. There are quite a few trick questions scattered here and there, some requiring trial-and-error, but not once did I feel tricked or cheated. Some of the puzzle questions are vaguely explained which may trip players up, but these are very few and far between. The puzzles key to story progression are notably fairer and clearer.

Unlike previous entries in the series where Layton and Luke are in one gigantic location trying to solve one huge mystery, The Azran Legacy regularly changes locales – Layton travels on an airship across the entire world (navigated through a world map menu). The overall tone is much more dramatic than that of the other games.

The characters are in 3D, but still retain that iconic art style.

The characters are in 3D, but still retain that iconic art style.

The Azran Legacy is an overall fantastic experience that will keep you hooked with its brilliant puzzles, quirky characters and amazing soundtrack. You can just proceed through each location and doing exactly what the game tells you to, but stopping in each area to poke around will reveal find collectibles, puzzles, hint coins and initiate dialogue between the characters. I highly recommend exploring like this, as it extended my play time to around 12 hours, and a further 8 to fully complete everything else (Not including the Daily Puzzles).

The Azran Legacy is an epic adventure in the form of a well-designed puzzle book. It’s easy to pick up and play and any puzzle you have already completed can be easily accessed through the puzzle index, in case you wish to replay any or even to just challenge friends or family members.

Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy is worth picking up for £30 (and a reasonable contender for £39.99); recommended for anyone who enjoys the satisfaction of solving puzzles, no matter your gaming preferences.

Final Score: 8.5/10

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