Release Date: August 29th 2014 (US)
A puzzle-solving gentleman crosses paths with a defense attorney who often aims to seek the truth to defend his client in the best of his ability. Even if their game series weren’t as well known and loved as they are today, this sounds like a stellar idea for a crossover game!
Now going back to 4 years ago, Level 5 and Capcom started working together to create this adventure crossover featuring the two well-known characters. This game got released for the 3DS 2 years later before people outside Japan started demanding the localization of this game. Level 5 and Capcom thought “why not” and decided to meet with their customer’s demands. The US was the last country to have the game localized for (which has been almost a month since the game made it’s way to eShop). I haven’t played a Professor Layton game in my life, but I have played all of the Ace Attorney titles (and loved every single one of them). That being said, I have been looking forward to taking on this particular case.
The game starts off with a girl named Espella Cantabella who seeks out Professor Layton and Luke Triton after being chased down by witches. After meeting with the puzzle-solving duo and explaining her situation, she gets taken by a great witch to which Hersel and Luke give chase to rescue her. Upon their successful completion of their mission, the duo gets mysteriously transported into a medieval town call Labyrinthia. Meanwhile, Phoenix Wright and Maya Fey flew down to London for a business trip. Not too long after their landing, Phoenix and Maya ends up disappearing into Labyrinthia as well. After crossing paths with Professor Layton and Luke, Espella ends up being accused as being the Great Witch Bezella. This sets up the stage for the witty portable gaming characters to combine their talents to try to prove Espella’s innocence and solve the great mystery behind The Storyteller and his town of Labyrinthia.
The moment Espella is captured, the developers took advantage of this great opportunity to make two different games come together like peanut butter and jelly. The gameplay styles of both games complement each other so well as well as the main characters themselves. During the investigation and trial portions of the game, The Professor, Phoenix, and their assistants work together every step of the way through to explore Labyrinthia, solve puzzles, and defend Espella. With their witty humor going back and forth between the main characters and the characters that you interact with, there is never a dull moment in the game. The charm from all of the main characters never seems to taper off. There’s even a point where Phoenix Wright and Luke pair up and investigate as Professor and Maya are on their own adventure and the chemistry worked out rather nicely.
Another part of Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright that keeps the player’s interest is the story itself. This game is surely a treat to those who enjoy a great narrative. The only downside to it though is that it starts off rather slow for the first hour or so. Once the story kicks off, the player is in for a great ride as the story will make the player keep on guessing on what will happen next until the very end. The player will interact with a variety of characters throughout the game, which each character was written very well in terms of dialogue. From the squire with serious aspirations to be a knight to the annoying village drunk, all of these characters have their personalities fleshed out very well which gets the player interested in all of the characters that they interact with. Some parts of the game include anime cutscenes at the juicy parts of the story. These cutscenes were done very well and the stellar voice acting tops it off like icing on the cake. The trial portions in this game enhance the story even more, as they usually do in the previous Phoenix Wright entries.
The puzzles do come in a great variety as usual in a Professor Layton game. There are some puzzles that are iterations of others, but the difficulty increases per iteration which makes up for it. That being said, these puzzles are guaranteed to keep the gameplay fresh to puzzle solvers alike. However, they appear to be a little easy. I’m not sure if that’s the case with the previous Professor Layton games, but at least they are just challenging enough to keep the Phoenix Wright fans interested.
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright is a great marriage of the game mechanics and writing from two different games to give the player a fantastic experience. It is certainly worth looking past a few contradictions in this puzzle. This is one of the best 3DS titles to come out this year so far. Not to mention it’s one of the greatest crossover games to ever exist. It’s a game worth downloading via the eShop near you(or ordering it through Amazon if you’d rather have a physical copy). If you haven’t played a game from either of the series, it’s a great game to get you familiar with your least familiar main characters and you’ll be wanting more of them. I sure wish that I have played previous Professor Layton games for sure!