Final exam — Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy review

It’s bittersweet, but Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy marks the titular archeologist and expert puzzle solver’s final journey.

It’s the final game of the second trilogy of the series of interactive puzzle books, and Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy hopes to tie up the remaining loose ends posed by the first two entries in this set of prequel games. A precursor civilization known as the Azrans have left numerous artifacts behind — artifacts that hold great power to those who would choose to wield them incorrectly. It’s up to Professor Layton, his ward Luke, assistant Emmy, and some new friends to find them before the evil secret organization Targent finds them and puts them to nefarious purposes.


The narrative provided by the Professor Layton games has always been well written and interesting, and The Azran Legacy is no exception. There’s a constant sense of mystery as the true nature of the artifacts you’re hunting down provide the impetus for your journey. The pacing’s a little bit different from previous games, as you spend most of your time travelling to different locations all over the globe hunting down these ancient baubles rather than being confined to one or two larger locations. You’ll experience several smaller vignettes that tie into one larger goal, rather than being funnelled down a single narrative path — it’s a different set-up, but it still works.

Ultimately, the narrative is merely a vehicle for providing a plethora of puzzley goodness, and The Azran Legacy doesn’t disappoint, sticking to the series formula almost exclusively. You’ll alternate between scouring the painterly environments for hint coins (which will help you solve the more taxing puzzles if you need the help), hidden items, and puzzles, and then actually performing some mental gymnastics to progress the story. Puzzles run the gamut — logic puzzles, spatial-reasoning puzzles, riddles, and more will tax your mental faculties to their limit. As this is the sixth entry in the series, there’s a lot of recycling being done here — if you’ve played past games, you’ll notice that you’ve likely solved variations of many of these puzzles before. Still, they’re all highly entertaining, and tricky as always.


In addition to the main set of puzzles you’ll encounter as you progress the narrative, you’ll also come across a few new minigames set to distract you from completing your mission. You’ll help various citizens pick out the right clothes based on a specific set of criteria, you’ll help a squirrel roll a walnut through a series of obstacles, and you’ll try to plant a chain reaction of flowers. They don’t quite live up to the minigames offered in prior entries, but they’re still worth spending the time to figure them out.

The Azran Legacy also features some StreetPass functionality. As you pass by other players, you’ll receive challenges to find various hidden objects in the game’s myriad environments. Finding three items rewards you with coins that let you buy some extra goodies to put in your airship. It’s not necessary in the slightest — and actually pursuing these hidden items requires an absurd amount of backtracking — but it’s another thing to do in game with no shortage of things to do.

Stepping back into the world of Professor Layton is like coming home — there aren’t any real surprises in Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy, but it’s just as charming and fun as it’s ever been. It’s sad to see the Professor retire, but it’s at least comforting to know that his last lecture is one worth attending.

While Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy offers little innovation or surprise, it’s still just as charming and entertaining as ever, and it’s a fitting end to a legacy of perplexing brainteasers.

I've been gaming since my dad made the bad decision of buying me a Nintendo when I was four years old. Every day I'd find myself with my face glued to a TV screen, punching away at buttons, getting furious with Bowser, Dr. Wily, and those freakin' birds in Ninja Gaiden. Since then I have failed to get my parents to play any board game with me, I sold my full copy of Earthbound with box and guide for $300 to some dude in Austria for rent money, and I still believe in Nintendo even after all these years.
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