Critical Play: Puzzles


Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a puzzle game that was released on February 15th of 2007. It was developed by Level-5 games, initially made available on the Nintendo D.S.


The game is centered around Professor Hershal Layton and apprentice Luke Triton being asked to come to investigate a village from an annonymous letter. The game is built around mysteries and puzzles, where mysteries are core plot questions that get answered as you progress while puzzles are the main obstacles that players need to solve in order to make progress through the plot. The game takes the form of a point and click adventure, having the player navigate from space to space with interactable objects and people. When certain people or objects are clicked at certain points, a puzzle or riddle will trigger. The player must then solve the puzzle or leave it for later (unless its a core puzzle, one thats necessary to make progress). The type of fun is outwitting and its a single player experience.


The very minimal point and click interface makes it so players core focus is on the plot and puzzles which, in my opinion, are the most interesting part of the game. I believe the designers realized they did not need to make a 3D, open world because in the end the game is all about the puzzles and riddles. Drawing from this week’s sketchnotes, the type of puzzles primarily utilized in this game are riddles and classic puzzles, changing users to think outside the box in unique ways. Overall, however, the game actually utilizes every type of puzzle (mainly because there are 150 puzzles total).


The game designers follow the standard way of helping players get through a puzzle, offering increasing more obvious hints. The key distinction is that in order to buy hints, you need hint coins which are scattered in the overworld (outside the puzzles). This encourages users to interact and engage with the world, allowing them to find more puzzles or be exposed to dialogue related to Layton’s, Luke’s, or other related characters thoughts.

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