Professor Layton and the Unwound Future Review

By Moye Ishimoto - Posted Sep 21, 2010

Our favorite puzzle teacher and apprentice return with a brand new adventure in Level 5's Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, offering an array of fun puzzles to play while the duo travel through time to rescue a missing Prime Minister and save London from an evil scientist.

The Pros
  • Insane number of new puzzles to solve and mini-games to play
  • Familiar setting, characters & gameplay
  • Entertaining dialogue and animations
The Cons
  • Some puzzles can be frustratingly difficult to solve
  • Identical setting & gameplay

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future Review: 

Level 5 continues to reward fans of the Professor Layton series with Unwound Future: from the constant brain teasers and compelling mysteries to the cheery dialogue with fake English accents. Almost every aspect about the game has remained unchanged, offering players a chance to return to a familiar environment and gameplay with a brand new adventure.

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future To Rewind A Week Early

Our Story So Far

Professor Layton and Luke witness a mysterious explosion during a demonstration of a time machine, leading to the disappearance of its creator, Dr. Stahngun, and the British Prime Minister. Weeks later, they receive a strange letter from a man stating to be Luke from the future, requesting their help. As Professor Layton and Luke gather clues around the city, the pair embarks on an adventure that takes them to an unfamiliar London, ten years in the future. Accompanied by old friends like the pompous Inspector Chelmey and curious Flora, the two must save London from an evil but familiar villain who has the city under his nefarious control.

You can’t go an adventure with Layton without facing a serious number of puzzles, and our two friends face their share of brainteasers brought upon by new friends, townsfolk and even themselves.


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Just As I Suspected

Whether you’ve played the previous Professor Layton games or are newcomers to the steampunkish London chock full of puzzles on every cobblestone street, The Unwound Future provides an engrossing game experience. There’s a perfect balance between giving players a compelling story arc and a range of entertaining riddles to solve.

Fans of the Layton series will find themselves in a very familiar game; aside from the new mystery and side mini-games, The Unwound Future works exactly in the same way as The Diabolical Box. Players must finish puzzles to advance the storyline, move the characters around the map to explore the city and tap around each setting to uncover hint coins, which can buy tips to help solve each brainteaser.

While the familiarity feels like a welcome embrace upon returning to Professor Layton’s world (Oh, Layton and your top hat, I’ve missed you so!), the lack of any changes or improvements in the gameplay and puzzle setting can be annoying. Perhaps it’s an issue in translating the riddles from the game’s original Japanese language, but puzzles can often be frustrating in their twists, tricks and overall wording—a feature I had hoped they’d fix from The Diabolical Box. For example, brainteasers requiring players to examine a picture to find the out-of-place or wrong object on a tiny Nintendo DS screen with a low resolution were enough to make me want to throw the game against the wall. Don’t even get me started on constantly tapping the screen to find the elusive hint coins. And what exactly are Picarets?

Every Puzzle Has An Answer

Despite the almost OCD-like effect of tapping the DS screen to find every single puzzle, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future does offer a new array of features to keep their fans entertained, like a Parrot delivery mini-game, a Toy Car racing game, adorable sticker book and—thank the heavens—nothing that involves mixing together endless tea leaf combinations. Extra hidden puzzles can also be discovered throughout the map, adding even more hours of riddle-solving (and tapping on the screen with your DS stylus).

The impressive animated cut scenes, sound effects and dialogue are perfect, adding an anime movie-like element to the game and a quirky sense of humor, especially with the relationships between the various main characters. Whether you’re looking to pass a long flight or play short puzzles during your free time, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future is an enjoyable game, offering new challenges and entertainment for fans and beginners.