Platform: Nintendo DS
A second helping of brain-buffing puzzles
This sequel to Professor Layton and the Curious Village is, on its surface, a tale of mystery. And, like many great mysteries, it opens on a train and revolves around death, deception and deduction. But the whodunit element—along with the charming Triplets of Belleville animation style—is really just window dressing for the meat of the game: More than 150 brain teasers that will push to the limit your capabilities for logic, spatial reasoning and reading comprehension. (Hint: If a puzzle seems to require a lot of math, scrutinize the wording—it’s probably a trick.)
You guide the Professor and his apprentice, Luke, through mazes, word problems, spot-the-difference puzzles, and much more, and the constantly changing way you interact with the game saves it from the pitfall of stagnation. Fans of Curious Village will appreciate the new mini-games, which involve repairing a broken camera, training a hamster, and concocting exotic teas. It’s perfect for bite-sized chunks of play—and for countering your mom’s allegation that video games are rotting your brain.