Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is the dictionary definition of lovely. It’s the kind of game you settle down to play on a rainy night, whilst sinking into a big armchair with a big steaming mug of tea next to you. Besides, it’ll take you a few rainy nights to get through this; it is huge.
It’s an overwhelmingly successful merging of two different narrative-driven puzzle franchises that turn out to be highly compatible with each other.The game largely takes place in the fictional town of Labyrinthia, which exists in a book, and Professor Layton and his urchin dogsbody Luke manage to get trapped there. Phoenix Wright and his assistant Maya get sucked in afterwards, leading to the greatest collaboration since Jagger and Bowie. The forces eventually unite, with Wright and Layton attempting to get to the bottom of things.
It’s a puzzle title at heart, and a challenging one at that, but when you manage to deduce something (or indeed, get a witness reeling by picking holes in their testimony) the feeling of triumph it elicits is pretty satisfying. It’s also fair, as if you’re too boneheaded to work something out yourself, you can use hint coins to help you out.
The sedate, more exploratory puzzle stylings of the Layton series, where you explore the town of Labyrinthia and solve puzzles for citizens and find out the secrets and mysteries of the place, act as a good build up to the more fraught, tense Phoenix Wright sections of the game, where Wright himself (and you) will be using deduction and evidence to get people off the hook.
It could have done with more franchise crossover moments, but Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is wonderful, warm and fantastic at making you feel clever. Cleverer than you actually are anyway.
Played for 20 hours.
9 / 10
- Play styles of both franchises mesh well.
- Fantastic at making you feel clever.
- It’s huge.
- Could have perhaps done with more franchise cameos.