The Professor Layton games is a series that follows Professor Layton (I'm sure you guessed) and his apprentice Luke Triton as they solve mysteries in their world using logic and puzzle-solving.
I am an avid Professor Layton fan. I have played every game except for one (Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires' Conspiracy, which follows a new protagonist and I'm not sure how I feel about that) and have beat (almost) every puzzle that is available. I listen to the music constantly and am heavily considering a tattoo.
However, as a fan, I can definitely say that some are better than others. While I think all of them are worth playing, and the movie is worth seeing, if I had to pick, one stands out. Here is my list.
7. Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy
While I love all the Professor Layton games, when I started this list, I knew exactly where this game was going.
There is almost too much going on but nothing of significance occurs. There simply are too many meaningless locations. I enjoyed the conclusion a lot, but getting there had me the least entertained out of any Professor Layton game by far.
6. Professor Layton and the Last Specter
I feel this one is neck and neck with number 5 on this list. However, I simply wasn't as intrigued with the premise as I was with the other games above it on this list. As it is first in the timeline, it introduces new characters while seeing our returning characters interact for the first time, which I think is interesting. As such, the only thing that kept me hooked was the small moments of characterization, along with the puzzles, of course.
Oh, and the game contains a song that I put on to do homework constantly, so I had to give it points for that.
5. Professor Layton and the Curious Village
As the first ever Professor Layton game, it is really well-done. It has a strong sense of mystery that I feel like is lacking even in the games I think are better, but overall, I can't put it any higher on the list. Future games simply are better for the most part. It is worth a play if you want a slower paced introduction to the series.
4. Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
I really did enjoy this game. It has a lot of great elements (you will know what I mean if you play it, speaking on it is indeed spoilers), but it just isn't as impactful to me as the others on this list. It still is great though.
3. Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box
I love this game as it was my second mainline game I played, and I think it is an extremely strong game. It has my favorite locations in the entire series, and has my favorite original song of the entire series as well. It's a heart-wrenching story that deserves your time.
2. Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
While this isn't a mainline Professor Layton game, I think it is so good that it deserves to be mentioned. It is a crossover with the Ace Attorney series.
In Ace Attorney, as you play as Phoenix Wright, you guessed it, an attorney. Not to get into spoilers, but the way that the sleuthing and exploring done in Layton's portions come to a head in Wright's fiery trials is something that is unlike any of the other games. I think it works exceptionally well. Also, this is indeed the strongest overall plot by far. I love this game.
1. Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
The third game, last in the timeline, and first in my heart is Professor Layton and the Unwound Future.
It has everything that you could want from this series. There are memorable puzzles, truly amazing villains, great world-building, and more. It delves into the relationship between Professor Layton and Luke which is so sweet, and the companions you meet along the way are the best in the series as well. I have absolutely nothing to say but praise for this game. If you had to play one, play this.