Throughout the life of the Nintendo DS and 3DS, Nintendo let North American and European players get two know two amazing new characters: Phoenix Wright, a down and out defense lawyer whose ability to turnaround seemingly hopeless cases borders (and sometimes resides squarely in) the fantastical, and Professor Layton, a top hat wearing professor of Archaeology and British gentleman with a penchant for puzzles and getting himself and his young ward Luke out of ridiculous circumstances using only his wits and pure logic.
These two innovative dynamos are finally coming together for the very first time in Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright, a puzzle adventure with decision adventure aspects.
And pointing. Lots of pointing.
When these games came out, they were fresh new ideas on their respective genres. Phoenix Wright took decision based adventure games into the courtroom, letting players find clues, figure out the truth, and catch the real bad guy. Professor Layton brought class to puzzle adventures, giving us a world stuffed with puzzles from the things people ate to the way you run across a crumbling building. Everything is a puzzle to the Professor.
The game plays really well. When you are out and about, sussing out clues and hints, you are in Adventure mode with Professor Layton and Luke. Afterwords, you go to the courtroom to battle it out with Phoenix Wright in Trial mode. For being such different games, this game does a really good job blending their styles together. Both games have tried out 3D already on the 3DS thanks to Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies and the most recent Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy. Thanks to the work put in by those games, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright doesn’t have to go through the process of helping players get used to seeing their favorite characters in 3D. The characters look great, and 3D has simply helped the characters express and emote even more, and these are characters who were already very expressive.
Now, when I played it at the Nintendo Booth, only a portion of Adventure Mode was available. Walking around late night London was beautiful, and I noticed that when you went to the map to move to another section of the city, the section you highlight will have a counter to show how many hidden puzzles are in that area and how many hidden hint coins. This is a perfect addition for perfectionist collectors like myself who painstakingly tap every part of every screen looking for hidden puzzles and hint coins in Professor Layton games. Later, the demo was paired down to just 5 puzzles, robbing later demo player of seeing the beautiful animated cutscenes. Because of that, I never got to see how the Trial Mode worked in this game. If it plays anything like Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies, then it will be a phenomenal experience.
Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright comes out August 29th, and I for one cannot wait to dramatically and aggressively point my opponents into submission.