Professor Layton challenges players in solving Azran legacy


The latest Professor Layton video game title, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy, debuted in North America on February 28. Developed by Level-5 Inc. Released on the Nintendo 3DS, this title marks the last game of the prequel trilogy, which consists of Professor Layton and the Last Specter, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, and the movie Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva.

The story revolves around the Azran, an ancient civilization that has all but disappeared. Taking the opportunity to uncover more of their secrets, archaeology professor Desmond Sycamore invites Professor Hershel Layton, his assistant Luke Triton, and his second assistant Emmy Altava to explore the world and search for five Azran eggs. To assist them is a girl named Aurora, an emissary of the Azran previously trapped in ice for a million years. Along the way, the group encounters Targent, an evil organization that already possess the three Azran Legacies, having previously obtained them earlier in the prequel trilogy. In addition, the group encounters Jean Descole, Targent’s rival who also desires to discover the Azran’s secrets.

The game-play of Azran Legacy follows the other titles of the Layton series. The player explores the environment, interacts with people or objects, and solves puzzles in order to uncover more of the mystery at hand. Unlike previous games, Azran Legacy provides players nine areas to explore. Scattered all across the world, each area offers different kinds of puzzles, treasures, and characters. The player can access all of these areas halfway through the game in any order they like.

Over 150 new puzzles are available for players to solve, and each puzzle falls under a different type. For example, one puzzle involves arranging a pattern, but another involves calculating numbers. If players solve a puzzle correctly, then they earn picarats. Picarats serve as the point system of the game, and they unlock hidden features outside of the main storyline.

The amount of picarats that a puzzle is worth determines the difficulty; the higher the amount, the harder the puzzle. The player can attempt a puzzle as many times as they like, but the amount of picarats decreases with each failure. However, if a puzzle proves too difficult for the player to solve by himself/herself, then they can use hint coins that they find within the environment. Each puzzle comes with three hints and a super hint, costing one and five hint coins respectively. The hints then help the player solve the puzzles more easily.

Besides playing the main story, players can also enjoy three mini-games. These mini-games include creating outfits to fit certain requirements, rolling an acorn to a finish line, and creating gardens. The more puzzles a player solves, the more content that is unlocked for these games. In addition, by connecting to the Internet, players download a year’s worth of puzzles. This means that the total amount of puzzles a player can solve reaches over 500, adding replay value to the game.

Despite the vast amount of content in the game, some aspects of Azran Legacy fall short. For one thing, starting with this game may confuse players as far as the exposition of the entire prequel trilogy. While the game does explain elements of the previous titles (in this case, the games and movie of the prequel trilogy), the information is not enough for players who have never played the games or have yet to experience them. In addition, the amount of exposition concerning both Azran Legacy and the previous games is immense, distracting players from the game-play itself. With that in mind, Azran Legacy is not recommended for newcomers of the Professor Layton series. Instead, a good beginning point would be Professor Layton and the Last Specter or, if one desired to begin the second trilogy, Professor Layton and the Curious Village.

Besides acting as the denouement of the prequel trilogy, Azran Legacy also marks the last title in which Layton himself is the protagonist. Nevertheless, Azran Legacy sends him off triumphantly with its excellent puzzles, story-line, and massive amount of content.