Easing in to Phoenix Wright

I think a lot of adults got to know the DS years back because of two games: Braintrainer was a sure hit with the older generation. I mean, even Nicole Kidman was playing it while lounging on her couch in the commercial. Which of course meant it was a cool thing to do! The other game lots of people knew and loved, was Professor Layton. The Curious Village was the first game in the series, and one that definitely changed the way people played games.

It wasn’t just running and jumping on various levels like they knew from Mario games, or catching Pokémon. No need to shoot at everything that moved; no, this game required brain power. And topped it off with a great story and two very lovable protagonists. Akihiro Hino created Professor Layton and his sidekick Luke for Level-5, and they took the world by storm. It combined puzzles with adventure in a unique way, and was translated in many languages around the world.

I was reminded of this when a colleague asked me: “if I would want to play a game on my sons DS, what game would you recommend? Mind you, no running around or shooting and such. I don’t like the kind of games my son plays!” I could recommend him the Layton games, and talking about them, I remembered how much I enjoyed these games. Just like in cartoons, I could feel a little light bulb in my brain that had a eureka moment.


You see, for some time I have mentioned time and time again that I would love to play a Phoenix Wright game, that they look so good. But my first encounter with the very first game in that series didn’t do it for me. I remember feeling a bit stupid that I just couldn’t figure out when to shout “objection” in my first court case. I quickly put the game aside, but the feeling lingered. And in my eureka moment I decided to go on the hunt for the cross-over game: Professor Layton versus Phoenix Wright!

I bought it used (still a high price though!) and was glad it plopped in my mailbox the next day. I do have two other games running at the moment, but since I got this one, I haven’t been able to stop playing. It felt so good to see my friend Hershel Layton again, and hear the exited babble of Luke. The story was captivating from the start, and after the first prologue I got my first real taste of a court case.

It helped that I knew a bit of the background. The same girl that Layton had met (and rescued…he is such a gentleman!) was now the defendant in court, and Wright did his best to get her off the hook. Espella Cantabella herself hardly reacted to anything at all, and had already confessed. Poor thing though, she had already gone through so much, I was glad Wright managed to free her of blame.Layton vs Wright

Of course, I’m only at the start of the game, but I’m having fun. We will see how I progress though, for now the Layton part feels nice and comfy, and the Wright part is…strange. For the fans of the Phoenix Wright series: why does the screen blink and shudder so much? Am I seeing everything through his eyes, and is it his nerves that get the better of him? A bit annoying, but maybe it just takes getting used to. If you have any tips for me it would be very welcome!IMG_4923


  1. I want to give Phoenix Wright another chance. Like you I got stuck on the first game and never want back to it. Maybe I should just play it with a guide. Then I can appreciate it like a funny visual novel rather than a puzzler.

    1. So I’m not the only one that’s confused by the logic in the trials? So far, I’ve had only one court case, the rest has been Layton.

  2. I havent played this one yet, I’m going through the whole AA series first on DS so I can start on the 3ds after. And heck, before I play this one I might just have to play all the Layton, since I only played Curious Village. Hope you enjoy it to the end!

    AA series is pretty easy to get once you understand the mechanics of the game. If you ever feel stuck, there’s plenty of guided to help you. The basics: try to find contradictions on people’s statements, usually they contradict the information in your organizer. When they do, you just present the evidence. 80% of the time you have to press the witnesses for more information to be able to find the contradiction. AA has a really good story and twists, so if you ever feel like you still don’t get it, just grab a guide and go through the whole cases like that. You’ll learn a lot just by doing that ✨

    1. You’ve got your work cut out for you if you want to play all AA games first and then Layton! A guide might not be such a bad idea, often I don’t get the logic behind the court case. But I’m learning!

      1. Ah, I’m almost finished with all the DS AA games tho XP
        Each game is 20-30h at max, since there’s no grinding or battles, this is why I really like visual novels
        It’s hard to get the logic at first, I struggled too when I first started. Once you understand better, you’ll start piecing things easier. And of course, when stumped the guide will give you a little push in the right direction

  3. I very much enjoyed Brain Age, played it quite abit.

    I’ve never played a Professor Layton or Ace Attorney game. I don’t know why, I’d probably enjoy them both. Not enough hours in the day I suppose.

    1. Not enough hours in the day is a common problem, right? We need a time turner like Hermione Granger had in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban!

  4. Ace Attorney is one of my favorite series of all time. I can’t get enough of the fun characters, murder mysteries, and courtroom reversals. It’s essentially a long string of connected logic puzzles, though you have to be invested in the story (and sometimes defendants) to appreciate it. That said, the crossover is awesome, but not the best place to learn about AA. You’d want to play through the first DS game (better yet, the whole trilogy on 3DS) to learn about the characters. The games do a great job in making you feel for this nutty cast of characters. I know you tried, but there’s a lot more to it than shouting Objection (which by the way, you don’t actually have to scream into the mic to activate it). I’d say it’s worth a second try if you want to see a better version of what’s represented in the crossover. As for why the screen beeps and shakes, it’s a suspense thing. The original GBA games did it because they needed a way to represent excitement in a visual novel but had limited resources to do it. They’ve kept it in games ever since, even though it’s probably not needed with the new, fancy character models doing all the expressing.

    1. Up till now I’ve found this cross over game does a good job to ease me into the AA part of it. Because I can use hint coins to help me by prompting whether or not I should press or present evidence. It’s easier to get a knack for it this way.
      I am actually enjoying the characters, and had somehow concluded the shuddering of the screen had something to do with Espella, as part of the storyline. I’d noticed the screen doesn’t do it when it’s just Layton and Luke. So it has nothing to do with that, thanks for clarifying!

  5. I have been wanting to play the Layton games for a long time, I have just not had a chance to get them yet! Too many other games to beat! I do remember I was working at a bowling alley years ago, and a few days a week we would host a “Senior Fun Day” for senior citizens to come and bowl. (I loved that, by the way!) There was a gentleman who was pushing 80 that always came in, and he would sit down with a cup of coffee and his DS before bowling. One day I asked him what he was playing, and he started excitedly talking to me about the Professor Layton series and how he loved them because he loved puzzle games and the story was excellent. At the time, I think there were 2 games out and he was eagerly waiting for the 3rd one! I thought it was pretty awesome 🙂

    1. What’s a lovely story! That’s exactly how a DS game can effect a non-gamer. Professor Layton games I can easily recommend to people who have never played a game before but love a good puzzle. Plus, it’s important to keep the brain power going when you get older right?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *