The Professor Layton series had humble beginnings with the first game, Professor Layton and the Curious Village. Far from the insane mysteries the professor faces in later games, Curious Village sees him solving an inheritance issue and searching for a mysterious treasure known as the Golden Apple.
That’s not to say the mystery is all that it appears to be on the surface, even if the plot seems straightforward by later Layton standards. It introduces Professor Layton and his apprentice, Luke, right away, and later reveals the professor’s mysterious enemy, the cartoonishly evil Don Paolo (master of disguise). The story contains many twists and turns and concludes with a bizarre revelation. When I played it, I found the story charming and the characters appealing but the twist at the end was what really caught my attention and made me interested in checking out the rest of the series.
At its core, Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a puzzle game. Everyone in the village will give you puzzles to solve, and you must solve a certain number of them to proceed through the game. The villagers penchant for puzzles is actually explained near the end of the story, although future games in the series didn’t bother to justify it.
As you explore, through point-and-click gameplay using the DS touchscreen, you’ll be able to interact with the environment. Inspecting some areas will result in comments from Layton, while others reveal hint coins that let you access hints when you’re stuck on a puzzle. And of course, you’ll also talk to villagers and seek out hidden puzzles.