Read my better review of the score here
So I'm changing things up by writing a review for a soundtrack of a video game...hope you guys like it!
Soundtrack review: Professor Layton and the Curious Village
by Tomohito Nishiura
Of the three games, I like Curious Village the least, both game-wise and soundtrack-wise. It's still a great game, and it's still a good soundtrack, but it is the least good of the three. It's actually a nice introduction to the series, a necessary evil. It's what you have to get past to get to the really good stuff. If you haven't played this game, you really should. Immediately. The cutscenes, voice acting, music, and plotline are all amazing for any of the three games. When I first played Curious Village, it was a completely new experience and one that I overall enjoyed. I've never been one for puzzle games, but these are really amazing.
The reason that Professor Layton's soundtracks are really good rather than great is that it's quite repetitive. The main instrument for the music is the accordion, and while it's a nice French-sounding instrument, it's used a LOT. In fact, the whole soundtrack uses essentially only accordion, piano, violin, vibraphone, and chimes.
The soundtrack starts off amazingly with "Professor Layton's Theme," a jazzy piece which becomes the main theme for the series and the basis for the main theme of consecutive games. It is followed by the fittingly creepy and mysterious "St. Mystere," which has gears winding like clockwork in the background and a very good main melody. Its runtime is just a bit too long for me, but it's a very good piece. It is remixed into a simpler, more upbeat version in "About Town."
The light "Puzzles" introduces the extremely catchy theme for puzzles, which will be heard approximately eighteen billion times during the game. "Baron Reinhold" is exactly what you'd expect from a classic murder mystery movie or something. Then we have "Down the Tubes," the theme for the sewers beneath the city, a piece that I quite like despite also sounding somewhat typical of a mystery.
"The Veil of Night" is a wonderfully soft and sweet track, it's somewhat plain but pleasant to listen to. Some fun tracks come next, "Crumm's Café," which for some reason reminds me of spinning, and the wacky "Pursuit in the Night." The melancholy "Deserted Amusement Park" is a piece where the accordion actually works very well. "The Mysterious Girl" is quite heartfelt and moving once you really start to listen to it.
Next we have the hilariously wacky and somehow menacing "The Great Don Paolo," which utilizes the accordion in a cacophony of notes, creating a fitting theme for such an odd villain.
"The Village Awakens" is another winner, using the piano more and creating a sense of unease for the second half of the game as it progresses into darker areas. "The Looming Tower" does the same with emphasis on the accordion.
Finally, we have "End Theme," a simple and heartfelt piece which manages to capture the game's heart. Here ends the in-game tracks; however, the soundtrack includes live versions of four of the songs, all of which are epic.
"Professor Layton's Theme (Live Version)" is especially awesome; this piece was made for a live performance in my opinion. "End Theme (Live Version)" really takes the piece to new heights in a must-have track. The other two live tracks, "The Veil of Night (Live Version)" and "The Looming Tower (Live Version)" are okay, but their lengths cancel out any good listening value; their themes are often too repetitive to listen to for 5+ minutes. There are also"high quality" versions of "About Town," "Baron Reinhold," and "The Village Awakens," but none sound much different from the original.
Track listing:1. Professor Layton's Theme2. St. Mystere
3. The Adventure Begins4. About Town
6. Baron Reinhold
7. The Plot Thickens
8. Down the Tubes
9. The Veil of Night
10. Crumm's Café
11. Pursuit in the Night12. The Mysterious Girl
13. Deserted Amusement Park14. The Great Don Paolo15. The Village Awakens
16. The Looming Tower
17. Memories of St. Mystere
18. Setting Out19. End Theme20. Professor Layton's Theme (Live Version)
21. The Veil of Night (Live Version)
22. The Looming Tower (Live Version)23. End Theme (Live Version)24. About Town (High Quality Version)
25. Baron Reinhold (High Quality Version)26. The Village Awakens (High Quality Version)