Puzzles wrapped in a mystery building to an excellent tale. There's really no more elegant way to describe the fun of Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, the latest in the Professor Layton series.

Puzzles wrapped in a mystery building to an excellent tale. There's really no more elegant way to describe the fun of Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, the latest in the Professor Layton series.

It may seem a heady summary for a game that involves a Sherlock Holmes-like archeology professor and his plucky young apprentice, but be careful not to judge this game at face value. The Professor Layton games not only challenge players with difficult mental exercises, they also tell a deep and heartfelt tale of love and loss.

This outing finds the professor and young Luke involved in the investigation of a mysterious and supposedly cursed jewelry box, which is said to kill all who dare open it.

After a friend of the professor sends word of his fascination with the box and his intention to open it, Luke and the professor rush to the friend's home. They discover he has indeed fallen to the curse - he's found dead in his study, locked inside his apartment, and the diabolical box is nowhere to be found.

The mystery of the box's disappearance leads them to an opulent train, the Molentary Express, where the two investigators meet some interesting characters and ultimately discover the secret of the cursed box.

Players discover puzzles on the path to solving the game's mystery. The variety of puzzles requires stretching the mental muscles a bit at some points during the game. Once completed, these challenges become available for play at any time.

The challenges early in the title may lure players into a sense of ease. But part of the challenge is to discover all of the more than 150 brainteasers in the game, some of which are quite difficult.

There are also a number of side tasks to mix up the gameplay. While riding the Molentary Express, players will discover tea leaves, a hamster and a unique camera. These mini-games progress as players complete puzzles and earn bonus items. They're a nice diversion, but the key fun of the game, aside from the puzzles, is the dialogue and interactions surrounding the story.

Even with the more challenging puzzles, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box is a good, family-friendly DS title that should encourage parents and children to work together on the tougher moments. It's a recommended purchase for gamers of any age.

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