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Professor Layton and the Unwound Future

by Neal Ronaghan - September 10, 2010, 10:04 am EDT
Total comments: 15


Solve this puzzle: Does twice the Luke equal twice the fun?

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, the third and final game of the first Professor Layton trilogy, is finally out in North America nearly two years after the game's Japanese release. This newest title is much like the first two iterations, so if you've played one of the other games, then you should know what to expect.

For the uninitiated, the Professor Layton series is all about point-and-click exploration, strong storytelling, and most of all, puzzles. The puzzles drive the story, and are usually part of some weird plot conceit that explains why all of the characters throw puzzles at you every time you talk to them.

This time around, Professor Layton and his young apprentice Luke witness a peculiar time travel demonstration that winds up in tragedy. Shortly after, they receive a letter from a future version of Luke requesting that they meet with him in the future. From there, the story takes off as you navigate between the present and future versions of London, deal with a crime family, dodge gunfire, and solve more than 160 puzzles.

The story's presentation is top-notch, with tons of beautifully animated cut scenes with voice acting. Unwound Future wraps up a lot of the ongoing plot threads from the previous games, such as why series villain Don Paolo hates Layton, and why Layton always wears that damn hat. It's a very fitting conclusion to the first trilogy of the series, and will take you more than 10 hours to complete.

The gameplay is, as usual, excellent. The puzzles range from easy, to clever, to devilishly difficult. In addition to the hint system from past games, there is also an additional Super Hint, which requires two of the findable hint coins and pretty much flat out gives you the answer. It's a good addition, especially if you just get stuck on a puzzle.

The three included mini-games are once again different, and are decidedly more interesting than the last two iteration's mini-games as they focus more on figuring out a different style of puzzle, and less on randomly talking to people or taking pictures. The first one you come across is the picture book. You collect different stickers that you can then fit into a story Mad Lib-style. Once you correctly complete a book you unlock the next one, with three in total. After the first one, which is quite easy, it soon becomes more difficult to figure out where to put each sticker as you need to pay attention to the context in which it is used.

The second mini-game involves directing the Laytonmobile (yes, there is a Laytonmobile) around different obstacles to collect items and reach a goal. It is reminiscent of the hamster mini-game from Diabolical Box, and it features 10 different stages of varying difficulty. The third mini-game involves leading Luke's new pet parrot (which you can name) through different single-screen puzzle-platform levels, drawing ropes to direct the bouncing bird to different areas. All of these are very cool and offer a nice diversion from the puzzling grind of the main game.

Unwound Future will have a series of downloadable puzzles coming out each week, and there is also connectivity with other entries of the game to unlock more puzzles. In total, there will be about 200 puzzles in the game when all of the bonus content comes out.

At this point, the Professor Layton games are a known commodity, but that commodity is a finely crafted one. If you enjoyed the first two games, then the third game will be welcome even if it is more of the same. There is always the off chance that this game isn't for you, or that you've become sick of solving a seemingly endless supply of puzzles from everyone you talk to. In that case, you might want to skip it and maybe come back to it when you're ready for hardcore puzzle action with an interesting story and stellar presentation, because Professor Layton and the Unwound Future delivers that in spades.


  • A puzzling good time
  • Awesome presentation and story
  • Cool mini-games
  • Lots of content
  • You might be experiencing 'Layton fatigue' by now


vuduSeptember 10, 2010

How would you rate the quality of puzzles in this game vs. the first two?  Are they starting to run out of ideas and just using variations of already-used puzzles or does this game contain actual new elements that you wouldn't have seen in the first two games?

I'm finishing up Layton 2 right now (started about a month ago, beat the main game a few days ago, working on the extra puzzles now) so I'm going to hold off on this game for now, but I'll almost certainly pick it up in the future.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorSeptember 10, 2010

"Layton Fatigue"



Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)September 10, 2010

I'll take it. The Curious Village and Pandora's Box both completely sucked me in for their duration. If The Lost Future (the European name) is another great narrative and more clever puzzles, I'm sure as hell not going to complain. I'm certainly happy that the suitcase games are more interesting this time - from your description, the parrot mini-game essentially makes Ivy the Kiwi? redundant.

SundoulosSeptember 10, 2010

Looking forward to this.  This is what my $20 credit for my Other M preorder went towards. :)

FZeroBoyoSeptember 10, 2010

Ah, I'll definitely play this one one way or another. Nice review.  :D

AVSeptember 10, 2010

I got sick of the first one about halfway, and I skipped the 2nd one. If I jumped into this game should I be ok? The stories don't connect to each other correct? James said in a podcast that the 2nd game improves upon the first, so does this improve upon the 2nd. I like the ability for a super hint because at times so I got so stuck I didn't want to continue, are the puzzles still just as in your face (cat playing with mouse that reminds me a puzzle....) or is it more naturally placed ?

I thought James was going to review this since he did the other two.

Quote from: Mr.

I thought James was going to review this since he did the other two.

No he didn't. Zach reviewed the first and I reviewed the second.

greybrickNathan Mustafa, Staff AlumnusSeptember 11, 2010

Quote from: NWR_Neal

Quote from: Mr.

I thought James was going to review this since he did the other two.

No he didn't. Zach reviewed the first and I reviewed the second.

James talked about both Laytons recently on RFN- he played them both back to back. You may just be remembering that, Vega.

Art_de_CatSeptember 11, 2010

I have been growing very found of this series since playing Curious Village. Hopefully the plot won't be as easy to figure out as CV's. :)

AVSeptember 11, 2010

Quote from: greybrick

Quote from: NWR_Neal

Quote from: Mr.

I thought James was going to review this since he did the other two.

No he didn't. Zach reviewed the first and I reviewed the second.

James talked about both Laytons recently on RFN- he played them both back to back. You may just be remembering that, Vega.

guess i remembered wrong. Is James going to talk about this game on RFN any time soon?

I don't know, but I'll be talking about it Newscast. You can always trust those good ol' boys for all your new release discussions. Sometimes we play the games, too!

vuduSeptember 13, 2010

Thanks for not answering my question!

Sorry! You could have PMed me or something. I missed it because I was exhausted from plowing through Layton for this review and writing up all the GoldenEye and Guitar Hero coverage.

I don't really have any grand answer to it either. It's like the second one is to the first one. There's similar puzzles with new skins, and new ones. I honestly don't have the definitive answer you probably want.

vuduSeptember 13, 2010

No worries--I'm just giving you a hard time.  :)

My only concern was that you played and thought "this is great, but I already did this exact same puzzle in the last game".  As long as that's not the case, then I'll happily pick this game up.

Yea, the puzzle are different, but it's still more of the same. That might sound contradictory, but I think it makes sense. I love these games, but this is the third one I've played in as many years. It's probably the best in the series, but that view gets skewed when you've played a similar game twice already.

This is my opinion of things, so let's bicker over this comparison. It's kind of like Iron Man and Iron Man 2. Iron Man wowed a bunch of people and everyone loved it. Iron Man 2 basically just gave you more of the same but a little bigger and it seemed to not get the same critical adoration. I'd say that's an apt comparison to Professor Layton games. I enjoyed both Iron Man movies, and I love the Professor Layton games. Just because they're all similar doesn't mean I won't enjoy and cherish them. It just means I won't rave about how new and original it is.

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Layton Kyouju to Saigo no Jikan Ryokou Box Art

Genre Adventure
Developer Level-5

Worldwide Releases

na: Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
Release Sep 20, 2010
jpn: Layton Kyouju to Saigo no Jikan Ryokou
Release Nov 27, 2008
RatingAll Ages
eu: Professor Layton and the Lost Future
Release Oct 22, 2010
aus: Professor Layton and the Lost Future
Release Oct 21, 2010
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