As in previous games, there"s a gesture to casual gamers in the form of three new mini-games; none are essential to the overall game, but all unlock extra content if completed. There"s a picture book to be filled with stickers that you pick up during your travels, a toy car that must negotiate some tricky track-based challenges using directional arrows you collect along the way, and a parrot that must deliver fruit using a set number of collectible rope pieces. None of this really changes the formula laid down by the previous two Layton adventures. In fact, the most significant new element is that each puzzle now has a superhint, which can be unlocked by spending two hint coins (rather than the usual one) revealing more substantial help that effectively spells out the solution. However, these are purely optional aids and hardened players will still use the on-screen memo and diary functions to crack puzzles the old-fashioned way.
And that"s all we can say without giving any of the game away. If you like the Prof Layton games (and frankly, who wouldn"t?) The Lost Future is just as charming and well designed as the others and easily the most polished. It"s perfectly designed for DS and something the whole family can get sucked into which, with Christmas fast approaching, is a recommendation in itself.