Exercising your brain is one of the most popular activities on DS, but you’ve always been out of luck if you want to do it via a proper game rather than a load of abstract math problems. Until now, of course. Professor Layton is an old-fashioned point-and-click adventure in which every character and location has a stylus-chewingly fiendish logic problem for you to solve.
The aim is to guide the professor and his schoolboy sidekick through a mystery town, collecting clues that will unravel… something. Well, it’s entirely in Japanese and absolutely crammed with text, so you’ll have to forgive us for not grasping too much of the story.
The puzzles, however, are brilliant. You’ll spot the answer to some of them straight away, while others will have you staring at the screen for ages and pondering the solution long after you flip the DS closed. Where appropriate you can even scribble on the screen to help work things out.
The range of puzzles is impressive and occasionally funny - one has you rearranging a matchstick diagram of a dog to show what happened to it when it tried to cross a busy road. You have a fixed number of power points to spend on retrying or buying hints for each puzzle, and there’s a great “eureka” animation when you find the answer.
Unlike Brain Age and its ilk, the puzzles can’t be repeated. You simply go through the story, solving them at your own pace and enjoying the Studio Ghibli-style artwork and high production values.