The newest Professor Layton game is just as good as the three predecessors. It is engaging, mischievous...and lacking in surprises. It may sound like a criticism, but this lack of development actually is not a major problem. The professor was shaped fine in the first game. Since our first meeting we have enjoyed hundreds of small brain teasers, and I already look forward to even more.
Spectre's Call takes place several years before the previous games. The professor is young, and Luke is a surprisingly introverted brat who has not yet grown up. His new (old?) demeanour fits me like a glove, as I've always found the the character's peppy attitude to be somewhat of a thorn in the side.
As usual, we're in a city filled with imbecile fools needing rescuing, this time from a large shadow creature that terrorises the community. Supernatural things? Bah, says the professor, who believes in logic, science, weak women and strong tea. It's important then to explore your surroundings thoroughly and find a credible explanation for the debacle.
Just like in previous games everyone you meet are almost uncomfortably interested in puzzles and brain teasers. If you practice the professor's motto "no riddle must be left unresolved," you'll have many hours in front of you.
Yet perhaps the greatest mystery isn't in uncovering the truth behind the supernatural menace, but the disappearance of an additional game include with Spectre's Call. Professor Layton's London Life, an Animal Crossing-like game that takes place in the UK's capital.
More than a cute extra, London Life was a substantial chunk of gameplay surgically removed from the European and UK versions of the title due to time constraints; Nintendo deeming the localisation would take too long and push back the game's UK release until next year. What's baffling is that the game features in both the American and Australian releases.
Obviously I have not taken this exclusion into my assessment of the main game - although it does feel somewhat of a cheat to be excluded. The central game's mechanics work as well as always, ensuring a great time tinkering with the little grey cells. The professor is in great shape, just as he has been for some time now. As long as Factor 5 continues to deliver new puzzles, I will do my best to solve them.