Although I have not reviewed it, I have played an thoroughly enjoyed Professor Layton and the Curious Village. Now I've gotten through maybe half of Diabolical Box and thought I'd give it a shout out. (Yes I should've gotten through more before reviewing, but it's like this: my 2 year old discovered the DS. I rarely get to play now.)
Story 8.5/10: It's not incredibly creative - a strange antique/relic causes mystery and a gentleman detective and his young assistant have to figure out the mystery... Hmm. But it is really fun and catchy, and the Layton games do a great job of expanding the story line through dynamic characters and interesting settings. I really enjoy playing this game and moving the story line along, because it does keep me curious about what I will find in the next room over. Will it be a hilarious character, like a fat lady who thinks her dog is her child? Or an ex-rocker-type who is now a train conductor? The world may never know...but I will as soon as I hit that precious little foot and walk through that door!
Graphics 9/10: I wanted to give it 10/10...well actually I wanted to give it 10,000/10 because I seriously love the art style of this game. I find Professor Layton & all the characters to be so adorably drawn, and the style of the environment around them is really awesome. I feel like I could print screen shots of this game and frame them as art around my home. The only reason I didn't give it the full 10 is because it's all kind of still frame - there's not really any animated action except the cut scenes which, for the DS at least, are really great quality. It's not even that I want it to be action, because I think that would take away from the artistic side of this game. I guess, after all this, it really should've just gotten that 10.
Sound 8/10: The background music for this game is charming, albeit slightly repetitive. And I'd have to put in "Curious Village" again to make sure, but the music might even be the same? (Probably not, probably just the same people creating the sounds.) I wish that we could mix it up. Perhaps let the player unlock different background songs that you can choose from? I do like the voice acting for this game, but I am always wayyyyy too impatient to sit there and actually listen. I'm totally a "Wow I like this voice acting but I am so going to read the closed captions and move on asap" kind of girl.
Gameplay 8.75/10: Again, I'm dinging this one just a little tiny bit because it is still frame and you just click around to move in the environments. This is kind of handy if you're not all that video-game oriented and you don't want to have to direct your character around, but for me it gets a little tedious and I feel like I am just sitting there clicking arrows instead of really immersing into the game. Also, finding the hidden "clue coins" by clicking all over the place? Really fun but also it has its moments where you just want to scream. Clearly I didn't mean to click on that same suitcase three times and hear Luke say, "Wow the Professor knows how to pack neater than anyone else I know!" I don't want to do that. I want to click on the couch cushion and find that darn hidden coin that I just know must be under there.
The puzzle play is fun as always. If you have played "Curious Village" then you know exactly what you're getting into.
Overall 9/10: This game is really amusing, and a great way to pass the time. It's also nice because you can put into it as much time in a sitting as you would want. Have 10 minutes to kill? Get on and play a couple puzzles. Want to lose an hour or more? Get into it and really progress the story line. Like I said, if you played "Curios Village" then you will know exactly, and I mean exactly what to expect with this game. It is very similar in storyline, and exactly the same in gameplay. Just new puzzles. And, thus far, I actually think the puzzles are easier than they were in "Village". Granted, they seem to get more difficult as you move forward in the game, but I specifically recall being a lot more frustrated early on in "Village." I think that this is a ding for "Box" because, well, I like a challenge. Don't get me wrong - I have definitely had some head scratchers and used up a few of my hint coins...just not as many this time as before. But man, I can not resist these early math class puzzles. They are so fun!
Buy/Rent: You know me..I always say Buy - haha. But really I think that the Layton games have a certain amount of replayability. There are quite a few puzzles that have solutions that you can improve your score, and, if you're like me, you could play this game and finish it, then play it again 6 months later and not remember any of the solutions. Oh, recycled joy! DS games are cheap though, and if you buy it you can just play this game at your own pace not have to worry about renting and returning. Do yourself a favor, pick this one up. It's way more fun than Brain Age.