If you are a puzzle-gamer but only have either a DS or 3DS console, then you should count yourself lucky that you have been spared the difficult decision of which brand new top puzzler to buy.
If, however, you happen to own both types of console (and are not currently swimming in cash), you might find yourself having to choose between Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call, and the new puzzler from Konami, called Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights, which both became available to buy this weekend...
Never fear though, as Mini Gamers has spent the last few days unravelling various mysteries and trying to discover what both games truly have to offer gaming fans.
Although the two games are considered to be quite similar to each other, the gameplay in each game is quite different. Therefore, we have reviewed the plots, gameplay, characters and graphics offered by each game in order to make it easier for other gamers to make their choice.
However, as both games are pretty action-packed, we have been forced to split this particular 'Versus' battle into two separate posts. Let us start with the newest game in the popular Professor Layton series.
If you would rather skip ahead and see what we think of the new Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights 3DS game, or if you would like to know our final verdict, please CLICK HERE.
AND THE SPECTRE'S CALL
(AKA PROFFESSOR LAYTON AND THE LAST SPECTER)
As you may already know, the fourth Professor Layton game is actually a prequel to the other three games (making it chronologically the first game in the series) and it tells the story of how the Professor actually met his young apprentice, Luke Triton.
Professor Layton and his new female assistant, Miss Emmy Altava, are summoned to the fictional town of Misshallery, by his good friend Clark Triton, to stop a mysterious Spectre that seems intent on wreaking havoc throughout the town.
The Professor soon learns that Clark's young son Luke, (also known as 'The Oracle' in this game,) has the ability to sense the Spectre's attacks before they occur, and Professor Layton, Emmy and Luke team-up to try and save the town by solving a number of difficult mysteries and puzzles - but will they succeed?
The gameplay in Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call/Last Specter follows the same format as featured in the previous Professor Layton games, which means many different types of logic puzzles including Peg Solitare puzzles, sliding puzzles, calculation, code-breaking and many other types of traditional logic puzzles that you can think of.
Luckily, both the Hint Coins and the Super Hint functions make a return in this game, otherwise we doubt Mini Gamers would have got any further than the first chapter.
Nevertheless, the game also introduces a new way of finding Hint Coins and unlocking special Mouse Badge rewards, which involves something to do with scampering mice, but we are keeping schtum about exactly what this entails! Well, we don't want to ruin it for the rest of you now, do we?
As before, solving puzzles will earn you Picarats, which can be used to unlock several new bonuses at the end of the game. Each puzzle has a different number of Picarats attached to it, and the amount of Picarats that you earn also increases with the supposed difficulty of the puzzle that you must solve.
As with the other Professor Layton titles, this game has its own set of mini-games to complete. In this game, the three main mini-games are:
TOY TRAIN - (This is similar to the 'Car' mini-game in Professor Layton and the Lost Future). The Toy Train game is played by laying a railroad track down on the game board. The goal of this specific mini-game is to get the toy train to pass through every train station on its way to the end destination.
To make things harder, the train must sometimes be timed correctly in order to avoid cars and/or other trains. The toy train also requires 'fuel' to move, which then limits the amount of track that can be placed by a player unless more fuel is collected before the track ends.
FISH TANK - Train the pet fish so that it can collect all the coins in the bottom of its tank. Place air bubbles at correct intervals to change the fish's direction so that it can intercept all of the required coins.
PUPPET THEATRE - complete the script of an on-going theatre play so that the story makes sense by choosing words to form specific sentences. If the chosen word is incorrect, the 'Play' ends and the player must try again. Once all the words are chosen correctly, the Play will end with an epilogue and an applauding audience.
MOUSE ALLEY - This is a bonus mini-game, which can only be unlocked once the player has collected a sufficient amount of Mouse Badges. The goal of this game is simple - Hit as many mice as possible within the time-limit, but avoid hitting Luke's pet mouse, Toppy.
This game introduces a lot of new fun and quirky characters, but still manages to keep the relationship between the characters in this game and those in past games, especially through Professor Layton and Emmy Altava's mysterious relationship which is resolved at the end of the game.
The quaint cartoon-style graphics return in this game. There are also more voice-acting and cutscenes in this game, which really help to move the story along.
Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call is a fantastic game for people of all ages. The varied logic puzzles make it really interesting. The storyline is very engaging and well-thought out. A perfect Christmas present for puzzle fans. Overall rating: 10/10.
See Also :
THE SECOND PART OF THIS 'VERSUS' BATTLE: Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights