Professor Layton and the Middle-aged Dimwit

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future may be one of my favorite games this year: Polished, spectacular, classy, funny and intriguing.

But it’s sure not helping my self-esteem. Seriously, either this series has gotten more difficult since its first tale or I’m getting dumber. Maybe both. I don’t recall spending hint coins so early or so often seeing that look of disappointment on Layton’s face when I screw up. At least he doesn’t point and guffaw (although, that would be a great addition for Part 4!)

I’m only six hours and sixty puzzles in. But I can already recommend this game whole-heartedly. It’s a welcome return to a universe of quirky personalities, bizzare Alice-In-Wonderland character designs (what is up with that CAT???) and a now-familiar mix of charm and creepiness, with peaceful investigations periodically shattered by violence and mayhem. One moment you’re putting stickers in a picture book, and the next you’re tripping over dead bodies.

I love the whole idea of a world where everyone’literally everyone’is obsessed with puzzles and won’t help you until you solve theirs: (Help! I’m sinking in quicksand! No, I don’t know which hat goes on which tiki! Just..throw me a”¦*glunk* )

No spoilers here: I’ll just say the story’so far’is effectively ominous. Several chapters in, one gets the feeling that (as with the other installments) this story is about to twist the weird-dial into the red. I can’t wait.

How are our fellow puzzle-solvers doing? No story spoilers, please: I’ve got a ways to go.