Video Game Review: Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

This follow-up to the Nintendo DS hit Professor Layton and the Curious Village continues in the same puzzle-filled, mystery-packed vein. Players must help Layton; his boy sidekick, Luke; and their friend Flora uncover the secret of the Elysian box, a relic rumored to cause the death of anyone who opens it. To solve the main mystery, the characters must complete dozens of brain-twisting logic puzzles that ask them and you to mentally manipulate shapes and images or use clues to solve riddles. It’s a wordy game, filled with dialogue and exposition between puzzles, and that can make it occasionally tedious—I did find myself thinking, “Come on, Professor, let’s get on with it.” But engaging animation, which is appropriately old-fashioned and shadow-filled, makes up for the occasional dull spot. Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box will be a favorite for brainy kids who enjoy being challenged. But since it can be frustrating, it may work best tackled by a parent and kid together.

Tori Bosch

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