It’s difficult for me to make a concrete judgment on Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, because my feelings on it are mixed. The second game in the Professor Layton series improved on the first. Cutscenes are more detailed, the puzzles and mini-games are more polished, the locations are more varied, and the plot is more exciting. Yet at the same time, it’s the one game in the series I can’t describe as a must-play.
In this game, Layton and Luke are trying to learn the truth behind a mysterious cursed box that is supposed to kill anyone who opens it. Flora, who joined them at the end of the first game, also returns (though not in a vital role) in this game, and the villain Don Paolo makes an appearance as well.
The majority of the story takes place in a creepy town that hasn’t changed in many years, said to be ruled by a vampire. It immediately sets up a more intriguing plot than the first game had, and there are plenty of twists along the way to the conclusion.
Unfortunately, the conclusion is where the game lost me. I won’t spoil it in this review, but the major plot twist in Diabolical Box is ridiculous. You have to suspend your disbelief pretty far for any twist in the Professor Layton series, but this one had too many plot holes for me to overlook them.
Of course, the story is only part of the appeal of a Professor Layton game. The game also has more puzzles (over 150), new mini-games, and another set of weekly puzzles originally available. As a special bonus, players who entered codes from both the first and third games into this one could unlock an especially challenging puzzle.
If you want to try a game with point-and-click elements and a plethora of riddles, brainteasers, and other types of puzzles, Diabolical Box will give you what you’re looking for. If you’re interested in the story, it will captivate you up until the very end, where it might lose you with its final twist.
I don’t want to say Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box is a bad game. It just had a disappointing story compared to the others. Still, its puzzles are fun and fans of the series should enjoy it. Besides, it might be worth playing just for the genuinely cool scene where Professor Layton swordfights a vampire!