Professor Layton and the Lost Future

Professor Layton and the Lost Future

Suspension of disbelief is a beautiful thing in the hands of Level-5. The developers of Professor Layton and the Lost Future are asking players, for the third time, to buy into the ludicrous premise of the Layton story: an obsessive archaeology professor solves mysteries for the public, under the implicit contract that they repay him by feeding his hunger for bite-size brainteasers. Everyone obliges this deal. And by the way, there's time travel in this one, too. Because that always makes sense.

Out of context, it sounds like a bit much, but Level-5 assumes that its game's charm and fun will justify the silliness. And it's right. Lost Future is infused with such a good-natured confidence that it would be cynical to question it. We all know by now that the Layton games are, in essence, an attempt to build a wonderful theatre around the logic puzzles at their heart. It's a pleasure to watch Level-5 put on its show. Who would want to fight it?

Those all-important puzzles have the same puckishness and flair as ever, maybe more so, even as they hew to a well-worn set of genres. You've got your maths tricks, as in "It takes one man two minutes to cross the river with three passengers in the boat...", and logic exercises along the lines of "A says B is lying, and D insists C is telling the truth." There are also mini-mazes, "What's wrong with this photo?" teasers, and others basically, any puzzle that would look at home on the back of a cereal box has found its way into Lost Future.

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