Product review – Professor Layton and the Curious Village (for Nintendo DS)

Regular readers of my reviews will know that I take the scope of “travel gadgets” pretty liberally.

In the past, I’ve looked at an inkjet printer, and various Bluetooth headphones.

My product review for today is another of those things that may not appear to be directly travel related, but I’ll try my best to explain why I think you could benefit from it on the road.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a game designed for the Nintendo DS and DSi portable gaming console. The game revolves around the adventures of Professor Layton in search of “the Golden Apple”.

Now, there are literally thousands of video games out there, so why did I feel this one was worthy of its own review here on Gadling, and why didn’t I just leave the game reviews to our friends at Joystiq?

Well, there are several reasons. The most important is of course that the game is just good clean fun. There is no shooting, no ripping the heads off zombies, and no complicated combination of keys to punch your opponents in the face.

Instead, the game is built around loads of puzzles and brain teasers. Some of them should be no problem for us travelers, as they involve following directions and reading maps.

The game pace is nice and calm, making it perfect for killing some time at the airport or on a flight, and since the Nintendo DS can be put to “sleep” just by closing it, you won’t be slaughtered by aliens when you need to get up and use the bathroom, you can simply put it aside, and continue where you left off. Battery life is also great for travel, at around 19 hours non stop fun.

As I said – the puzzles are a ton of fun, some will take you a couple of seconds to figure out, others will drive you insane while you try and figure them out.

I am by no means a gamer, and most games annoy me since I usually die in the first 3 minutes, but Professor Layton and the Curious Village has me hooked, and I’m finding myself bringing the Nintendo DS everywhere I go, and playing some more when I can.

The combination of a challenging game with a very travel friendly game console is fantastic, and I am already dreading the moment when I finish this game, because it means I’ll have to find more games to play! In addition to games, the Nintendo DS can also be used as a language coach when you add one of the 5 language games to it.

The game is available from all video game retailers, and costs $29.95. If you don’t yet own a Nintendo DS, you can pick one up for $129.99, or the new Nintendo DSi with a larger screen and a camera for $169.99. If you’d like to take the game for a spin, check out the Professor Layton web site, where you can play a demo.