Professor Layton and Pandora's Box

Professor Layton and Pandora's Box Review for DS

On: DS

Features a riveting new mystery and more than 150 new brain teasers, riddles and logic puzzles to challenge and delight players.

Review Verdict Read Review
8Out of 10
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And yet he opens it anyway. Idiot.
And yet he opens it anyway. Idiot.

And yet he opens it anyway. Idiot.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village was undoubtedly one of the best DS games of 2008 - a stylish cartoon adventure that wrapped a murder mystery plot around a massive collection of puzzles and riddles. Wez and his lady immediately fell in love with it, and such was his enthusiasm that I utterly failed in my attempts to prize his review cart away from him. So when a shiny copy of the sequel showed up at the office last week, I was quick off the mark to grab the code for myself.

As with the last outing, Pandora's Box follows the top-hat wearing Professor Layton and his schoolboy sidekick Luke as they work their way through a mystery. This time the story kicks off when Layton receives a troubling letter from his mentor, Dr Schrader. The message explains that Schrader has come into possession of The Elysian Box, a cursed artifact that supposedly kills anyone who opens it. Since he's a skeptical academic (read: idiot), he ends his missive by saying that he plans to open the box anyway. Our heroes dash over to Shrader's house, and sure enough it turns out that he's deader than a dead man who isn't alive anymore. Oh yes, he's an ex-doctor alright - but who or what was it that killed him?

The resulting investigation brings Layton and Luke to a luxurious sleeper-train called the Molentary Express, and later to a number of unusual places along the locomotive's route. At each stop you make you'll meet a selection of oddball characters, from floppy-haired detectives to irate cattle farmers, and they all have something in common: an obsession with puzzles. There are over 150 challenges to work through, from sliding block conundrums to logic-basic riddles. The layout for these tasks is deceptively simple, with instructions on the upper screen and the puzzle itself on the touch screen below, but the harder efforts will still have you tearing your hair out.

On the plus side, Pandora's Box comes bundled with a fairly efficient hint system. When you're not actually solving a puzzle you'll spend your time exploring your surroundings, moving between static screens with simple taps of your stylus. As you scout about it's a good idea to examine interesting objects around you, as every so often you'll find hint coins - currency that can be used to buy clues when you're stuck on a puzzle. There are three hints per teaser, each providing more information than the last, and the third one all but gifts you the correct answer. You may feel like a bit of a cheat if you push things this far, so you'll probably only do this if you're absolutely desperate.

The thing about Layton... he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes.

The thing about Layton... he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes.

On the other hand, you'll feel rather pleased with yourself when you nail a puzzle on your first attempt. There's a very short cutscene that plays every time you submit an answer, and you'll soon learn to hold your breath during these interludes. Assuming that you're successful, you'll be rewarded with a number of Picarats - a sort of indicator of how well you're doing at general puzzle solving. There's no massive penalty for repeated failure, but since you can eventually spend Picarats on unlocking secret content, you'll generally be discouraged from spamming a puzzle till you get the answer right.

All of this description will be inherently familiar to veterans of The Curious Village, but Pandora's Box also has a few points of difference. For a start, there's now an extremely useful memo function that allows you take notes during puzzles: a transparent grey filter covers the screen, and you're suddenly free to doodle about as you wish. This may not sound like much, but you'll soon appreciate the ability to write stuff down during the more taxing challenges. Indeed, I'd wager that some of the game would be near-impossible without this asset.

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Highest Rated Comment

vonzie's Avatar

vonzie

what is the answer to the fountain puzzle number 30? does anyone know?
Posted 20:10 on 28 September 2009

User Comments

stokesr's Avatar

stokesr

i am stuck on puzzle 125 can eneybody help me
Posted 16:59 on 10 November 2010
layton's Avatar

layton

stuck on no.42 & 43 HELLLLLP
Posted 13:26 on 02 September 2010
layton's Avatar

layton

does any1 know how 2 do board cutter 1 and board cutter 2?
Posted 13:23 on 02 September 2010
donseano's Avatar

donseano@ danny2505

a is the answer 2 across top to across middle 2 down each side
Posted 12:39 on 30 May 2010
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donseano

whats the answer to no 64 kings vase
Posted 10:27 on 29 May 2010
linda's Avatar

linda@ 54mezz09

connect the minus teminal to the other light connecter . miss out a b &c. light stays on.
Posted 23:23 on 28 April 2010
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linda

can anyone help me im stuck on number 125 tried the answer dont seem to work forme
Posted 23:00 on 28 April 2010
54mezz09's Avatar

54mezz09

what the answer to 112 plz help me
Posted 14:15 on 25 April 2010
jozza's Avatar

jozza

anyody know the answers to 008,017,018,031,040,042,043,052,054
Posted 21:16 on 14 April 2010
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jozza@ vonzie

1308
Posted 21:11 on 14 April 2010
Oneleggedmum's Avatar

Oneleggedmum

Anyone got any ideas for the game with the cows? Can't work it out but can't progress till I do!
Posted 12:52 on 09 January 2010
rockmark79's Avatar

rockmark79@ trixyone

400
Posted 21:10 on 06 January 2010
claret47's Avatar

claret47

whooopeeee cracked ur 5th instruction u say go diagonal right one but its diag left one baffled me for ages...cheers anyway.
Posted 03:00 on 28 December 2009
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claret47@ danny2505

dannt pls ive been stuck on this for ages can't progress doin my nut in pls help tried everything
Posted 02:48 on 28 December 2009
claret47's Avatar

claret47

can anyone tell me the route on puzzle 125 collecting the mushrooms i'm stuck thank x x x x
Posted 02:47 on 28 December 2009

Game Stats

Professor Layton and Pandora's Box
8
Out of 10
Professor Layton and Pandora's Box
  • Charming art style and music
  • A compelling story
  • Excellent value for money
  • Puzzles occasionally lack clarity
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 24/09/2009
Platform: DS
Developer: Level-5
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Puzzle
No. Players: One
Rating: PEGI 7+
Site Rank: 2,396
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