After a somewhat stalwart week, DS software recovered nicely and once again dominated the charts. Even though the same amount of games appeared in the top thirty (fifteen in total), they ranked higher on average than they did in the previous week. Good software sales also gave DS hardware a little boost:
PSP: 64,449 (6,087)
Wii: 49,047 (7,475)
Nintendo DS: 37,404 (2,499)
PlayStation 3: 9.071 (1,370)
PlayStation 2: 7,189 (167)
Xbox 360: 1,947 (473)
Four new games debuted in the top thirty, including Sega's Let's Make a Pro Baseball Team!, which nabbed the first place spot from Monster Hunter. The other three games were Glory of Herakles, Scarlet Fragment, and Tea Dogs Room 3. Herakles (or Hercules, if you prefer) is the title that sparks our interest the most, as it's an interesting RPG published by Nintendo. Even so, it's first week sales were (unfortunately) subpar, yet good enough to land it in the top ten.
Check out the sales numbers and rankings for yourself after the break.
Whatever your opinion about social networking sites, one thing's for sure: they're hella popular. Somebody at Nintendo has clearly clocked onto this, because Professor Layton and the Curious Village now has its own Facebook page, along with screenshots, wallpapers, a trailer, and 220 friends at the time of writing (more than double the number acquired by this blogger in eight months). That's right: you can now have a game as a friend. And if we were going to cyberstalk befriend a game, we'd totally choose to be friends with a mysterious and clever one like Professor Layton.
We've been excited about Professor Layton and the Curious Village for some time now. With every new screenshot and video released, that excitement quickly grew into obsession, and then infatuation. Last Saturday night, we were barely able to sleep, scrunching our eyes tight shut whenever our mums would come and check on us, and bouncing on the bed in excitement when she left. But now -- joy! -- it's here! And it's really good! We know because these people told us so!
1UP -- 85%: 1UP reviewer Jeremy Parish felt that the game was more than the sum of its parts: "Admittedly, the game's puzzle and story elements likely wouldn't stand well on their own -- the puzzles are excellent but often rely on certain tricks of language that, once spotted, become transparent in subsequent iterations; the adventure game is unrepentantly simple and linear. The genius of Layton is that they don't stand alone. Instead, the two game types work together harmoniously, resulting in something altogether more entertaining than its base components."
GamePro -- 75%: GamePro's assessment, meanwhile, was slightly less glowing, criticizing the puzzles for being anywhere between laughably easy and horrendously hard. In the end though, they rather liked it: "For all its frustrations, Professor Layton does have its merits. The overall vibe of the game is charming and immensely likeable and the basic game mechanic is solid. There is also a ton of things to do: aside from the puzzles, there are other neat extras that I'll let you discover on your own. Even if the uneven difficulty robs the game of some of its fun and the slow, methodical pacing might lull some gamers to sleep, for puzzle lovers and brainy gamers, Professor Layton definitely has a lot to offer."
GameSpy -- 90%: GameSpy simply adored Level 5's game, praising the developer for going the extra mile with the storyline and game world: "Professor Layton and the Curious Village is an incredibly original and thoroughly entertaining addition to the Nintendo DS library. Level-5 could have easily packaged the puzzles into a barebones daily format and have ended up with a game that's as entertaining as the Brain Training series. Instead, Level-5 went the extra mile and wrapped these puzzles into a beautifully presented world inhabited by endearing characters amid a compelling murder mystery. The effort paid off."
Developer: Level-5 Publisher: Nintendo Release: February 10
If you weren't interested in Professor Layton from the get-go, there's a good chance that we've brainwashed you into thinking otherwise by now. With a beautiful art style, charming story, and challenging puzzles, how can you go wrong? This alluring adventure title has clearly won the hearts of many Japanese gamers, and there's a good chance that it will win yours over, too.
Solving a mystery and finding hidden treasures aren't simple tasks, though. During the game, you'll have to navigate your way through countless (if you can't count past 130, that is) puzzles, many of which will make you flex your brain muscles. Perhaps you're not up to the challenge.
We're trying to be nice here – what we really mean is, perhaps you're just too stupid to handle the puzzles that Layton will throw at you. Why waste your money on a game of crème brulee caliber when all you really deserve is a pixy stick?
Of course, since you're reading DS Fanboy right now, we can bet that you're probably MENSA material. That means we think you're ready to take on Professor Layton. Just in case, though, we've created a guide of ten ways to know that you're too dumb for Level-5's acclaimed adventure game. If any of these idiocies apply to you, you probably shouldn't be playing what will probably be one of the best games of 2008.
1. You live in a sideways house
There are some poor decisions that you can make in life, but living in a sideways house is probably one of the worst. It's not funny – it's dangerous.
2. You like to eat cats
It's no secret that those of us on the DS Fanboy staff love cats. We mostly enjoy the LOL kind, but members of the cute and regular variety are accepted around these parts as well. We don't love them enough to eat them, though. That's just wrong. And stupid. If you feel the need to feast on your feline, stay away from Professor Layton. Might we recommend Catz?
3. You need a dog to help you solve crimes
Man's best friend can be smart and helpful, but if a dog is smarter than you – that's when you know you're in trouble. Specifically, if a dog can trick you into accidentally hook-shotting a ham sandwich straight into its mouth, you shouldn't be solving crimes. There won't be a canine cop to help you out in Layton, so it's imperative that you haven't grown to depend on one.
4. You don't run away from pedophile horses
If there's one thing we've learned from our mothers, it's to stay away from horses wearing trench coats. They're just up to no good. Everyone knows what happens to girls and boys who aren't careful around such ponies ...
5. You are Carl Lewis
The bits with the old lady wearing the giant clown glasses in a hot tub say it all, don't you think?
6. You hire robots to do your chores
It may seem like a smart idea, but if you haven't learned your lesson about trusting robots from the Terminator movies yet, we really can't help you. You're clearly just too stupid.
7. You cut off your nipples, cast them in resin, and wear them in your ears
We're pretty sure evolution/God/other didn't put nipples in our ears for a reason. Why would you ever think that it'd be a good idea to do such a thing? Besides, how are you supposed to hear the voiced animated scenes in the game if you have nipples plugging up your ear canals?
8. You wear (or have worn) a head massager
If you can't solve the "what's the stupidest thing I could possible wear on my head" puzzle, how do you think you'll solve any of the puzzles in Professor Layton? Simple answer: you won't.
9. You don't read DS Fanboy
Let's face it. Someofthestaffmembers at DS Fanboy aren't the brightest bulbs on the tree, or the sharpest tools in the shed, or whatever euphemistic metaphor you feel like using for calling them stupid. None of that changes the fact that DS Fanboy is a haven for those of us with unprecedented wit and talent. Also, reading this right now proves that condition #9 doesn't apply to you, so fear not -- you just may be smart enough for this game.
10. You don't love pugs
If your soul is so crusty and hardened that you can't find it in your heart to love pugs (or at least like them a little bit), Layton's cute visuals have no chance of charming you.
Where do you stand?
Did you manage to pass DS Fanboy's rigorous stupidity challenge? If so, then congratulations! Professor Layton is clearly the game for you. You're already well on your way to solving the mysteries left behind by Baron Augustus Reinhold (spoiler: no relation to Judge Reinhold).
If not, we're sorry. Perhaps by the time Professor Layton's sequel is localized, you'll have wised up.
It saddens us to say that none of us are wealthy people. If we were, we'd fund the purchase of a ludicrously expensive high-end color printer, which we would then use to print this fantastic promotional poster for Professor Layton and the Curious Village. We'd laminate it, pin it proudly to our wall, and then do the same for all of our friends.
Yes, even the promotional material for this game rocks. This flyer was circulated as part of a recent Nintendo email, and is just like the game it promotes: inventive, quirky, and a little bit different from the usual promotional baloney we encounter.
Hit the break for a far bigger version, and see how quickly you can solve the puzzle.
For the last few months, we've had no choice but to pore over screens and scans of Professor Layton and the Curious Village that contain nothing but indecipherable kanji. But no longer! This morning, Nintendo issued the first batch of English language screenshots from Level 5's professorial puzzler.
Rather than showing off the game's beautiful manga art, all three depict some of the puzzles we'll encounter when the game hits North America in February, and Europe ... heck, whenever.
Check the new shots out in the gallery below, or go past the break for a clip from The Office that we couldn't help but be reminded of upon seeing the wolf/chick puzzle to the right.
While we still wait for our first foray into the Professor Layton series, folks in Japan are enjoying the sequel to Professor Layton and the Curious Village, while Level 5 enjoys some massive sales. In its first day, Professor Layton and the Devil's Box is reported to have sold 200,000 copies in Japan. Not too shabby for first day sales at all (and by "not shabby" we mean "pretty damn awesome"). Considering that the current apple of Japan's eye (Dragon Quest IV) sold a rumored 360,000 copies on its first day, Professor Layton's sales seem pretty impressive.
All this news, of course, is only more torture for those of us waiting to play the first game. We know you feel our pain.