North American box art
Level 5 (JP)
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Professor Layton and the Unwound Future (JP) (Professor Layton and the Lost Future in Europe & Australia) is a Nintendo DS video game released by Level-5 in Japan on 2008 and Nintendo in the West on 2010. The game is the third game in the series.
Layton has received a letter from his apprentice, Luke Triton, from ten years in the future. Thus Layton and Luke take a trip to London to see the new Time Machine invention. While there they solve puzzles and take a trip to the future, meeting his Future Mom and helping to solve various strange mysteries in Future London, uncovering Layton's past and future.
As with previous Professor Layton games, Unwound Future is an adventure game where the player solves puzzles offered by local citizens to progress the story forward, through dialogue and around 32 minutes of full motion video. The player moves about the game through still images of locations. The player can use the DS touchscreen to tap on non-player characters to start a dialog or to obtain a puzzle, and also can search anywhere on the background for hint coins, with some areas needing to be tapped several times to reveal a secret hint coin or puzzle. Puzzles are brainteasers of many varieties, including visual, math, and logic. There is no time limit to solve puzzles, and the player can get up to 3 hints at a cost of one hint coin each; a new feature in Unwound Future is a "super hint", costing 2 coins, that can only be bought after the other 3 hints have been revealed, but that nearly reveals the puzzle's solution. If the player is correct in solving the puzzle, they gain a number of "Picarats", a form of currency within the game. Guessing the incorrect answer will reduce the number of picarats the player can get on subsequent attempts. Players can visit certain areas in order to play undiscovered or unsolved puzzles that are left behind as the story progresses. As part of rewards for solving puzzles, the player may play one of three mini-games that support additional puzzles in Layton's Trunk that can be attempted at any time. One mini-game is based on sticker books, placing the correct stickers at locations in the book to make the story make sense. Another requires training a parrot to carry items to a character using a series of ropes to act as perches or rebounding walls. The third mini-game is a toy car that the player must drive across specific tiles on a map using a series of directional indicators. Layton's Bag also contains details on the story, characters, and a list of completed puzzles the player can review and try again.
After completing the game, several other puzzle challenges become available in the game's bonus features, many more difficult than the main game puzzles. When the player has completed all the puzzles within the game, a final puzzle is revealed. Players may also access a number of bonus features depending on how many picarats that have accumulated throughout the game.
As with the previous two titles in the series, additional weekly puzzles were available for download via the Bonus menu, with one being released each week from the original release date, for 33 weeks. After May 20, 2014, it's no longer possible to download the additional content, as the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service was terminated on that date.
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Video game talk show Good Game: Spawn Point's two presenters praised the memo overlay feature and said, "If you're a Layton fan, then you're going to get exactly what you expect — which is some very polished and brilliant puzzle action." Nintendo Power's review said, "I have no qualms calling this the best Professor Layton game yet", and, in the 2010 Nintendo Power awards, the game was recognized as both the best puzzle game and the game with the strongest ending released in 2010. In Japan, Famitsu gave the game a score of one nine and three eights for a total of 33 out of 40.
The Escapist gave the game all five stars and called it "a brain-twisting delight. Show up for the clever puzzles, stick around for the gorgeous visuals and quirky minigames." The Guardian similarly gave it all five stars and said it was "perfectly designed for DS and something the whole family can get sucked into." The A.V. Club gave it an A− and said that it "doesn't require knowledge of the previous games, but still builds the trilogy to an appropriately grand conclusion." The Daily Telegraph gave it a score of nine out of ten and called it "an absolute delight."
As of December 2010, Unwound Future sold 862,967 copies in Japan, and more than 1.87 million copies in North America and Europe. As of March 2011, its sales in North America and Europe totalled 1.97 million copies sold.