This marriage of two of the DS eras most enduring stars has been a long time coming, having first appeared in Japan back in 2012. The reason for the delay becomes as clear as the prof’s signature top hat after the game’s elongated prologue, though. This is a videogame with a hell of a lot of text. reams and reams of text. Thankfully, the always-consistent translation team fills the endless dialogue with wit, charm and colloquial spirit. it tells a tonally askew crossover tale where professor Layton collides with Phoenix Wright in a case of a young girl who’s accused of a crime she may or may not have committed.
The story is hacked in two, with sections dedicated to classic Layton puzzling and picture-prodding and others entirely focused on Phoenix’s high-energy courtroom melodrama. The clash between the pair is a little jarring, but such is the pedigree of both series that it manages to hang together. ostensibly, it’s a Phoenix Wright game taped to a Layton adventure, but as you play through the story, their worlds begin to cross.
When Espella Cantabella appears on professor Layton’s doorstep in some distress, she drags our co-stars into a supernatural mystery that probably fits better in Layton’s world but has just enough criminal intrigue to fit Phoenix’s. As Layton and Luke solve puzzles to work out just what has happened to Espella, Wright defends her vociferously in the courtroom, yelling at witnesses and annoying judges just as he always does.
Anyone familiar with either series will know what to do straight away. The Professor’s puzzles are as thoughtful and confounding as ever, drawing in some of The Azran Legacy’s 3D artwork but eschewing that game’s more open, free form approach to storytelling. This is defiantly linear stuff; a slave to its story and, oddly, probably the least ambitious version of either of its stars’ games in years. Not that it makes it any less enduring.
Watching Layton give that famous point to camera when you’ve cracked a puzzle is as satisfying as ever. The day cutting through a witness’s testimony in Ace Attorney stops being a rush, it’s probably time to retire from videgaming. In fact, it could easily be argued that layton’s leisurely puzzling is a more enjoyable way to split up Wright’s courtroom scenes than his standard investigation-and- interrogation.
it’s too wordy for its own good, and the clash of styles is sometimes jarring and somewhat nonsensical, but this blend of two classics maintains enough quality from each to be well worth investigating. a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging crossover.