Professor Layton and the Unwound Future (2008)

by Nish
7 minutes read


This third installment in the Professor Layton series captivates with its unique blend of puzzle-solving and storytelling. Set against the backdrop of a potential future, it challenges and delights players, cementing its place as a classic in the puzzle-adventure genre.


Step into the shoes of Professor Layton, a renowned scholar and detective, in his quest to solve the mystery behind a strange letter claiming to be from his apprentice, Luke, 10 years in the future. Set in a beautifully animated world, players are challenged with a variety of puzzles that test logic, math, and visual skills.


“Professor Layton and the Unwound Future”, known in Europe and Australia as “Professor Layton and the Lost Future”, is the third game in the first trilogy of the Professor Layton puzzle game series by Level-5. The game was first released in Japan in November 2008, followed by North America in September 2010, and Europe and Australia in October 2010.

The game begins with Professor Layton and his apprentice, Luke, attending a time machine demonstration in London. However, the demonstration goes horribly awry, resulting in a massive explosion. The Prime Minister and the scientist in charge of the project vanish in the shroud of the blast. This event sets the stage for a titillating mystery that unfolds in the form of a letter to the professor, allegedly written by Luke from 10 years in the future.

In this alleged future, Layton meets an older version of Luke, who brings him to a terrible future he wishes him to help fix. The plot revolves around time travel, and Layton and Luke embark on an epic and thrilling journey through time. They uncover secrets from the professor’s past and face his toughest opponent yet – himself.

As with previous Professor Layton games, Unwound Future is an adventure game where the player solves puzzles offered by local citizens to progress the story forward. The player moves about the game through still images of locations. The player can use the DS touchscreen to tap on non-player characters to start a dialog or to obtain a puzzle, and also can search anywhere on the background for hint coins.

Puzzles are brainteasers of many varieties, including visual, math, and logic. There is no time limit to solve puzzles, and the player can get up to 3 hints at a cost of one hint coin each. A new feature in Unwound Future is a “super hint”, costing 2 coins, that can only be bought after the other 3 hints have been revealed, but that nearly reveals the puzzle’s solution.

The game received critical acclaim by critics, praise for its story, puzzles, characters, soundtrack, and has since been cited as one of the best games of the series. An enhanced mobile port of Unwound Future, subtitled “HD for Mobile”, was released on July 13, 2020.

“Professor Layton and the Unwound Future” is a captivating blend of puzzle-solving and storytelling, set against the backdrop of time travel. It offers players a rich narrative filled with intriguing characters, challenging puzzles, and a plot that keeps you guessing until the very end. Whether you’re a fan of the Professor Layton series or new to the franchise, this game is sure to provide an unforgettable gaming experience.


Key characters include Professor Hershel Layton, Luke Triton, the young apprentice, and a cast of unique individuals they meet throughout their journey. Each character contributes to the unfolding story, providing clues, puzzles, and insights into the game’s intricate narrative.


Gameplay revolves around exploring locations, engaging with characters to receive puzzles, and using the DS touchscreen to solve them. Players collect picarats by solving puzzles, with a ‘super hint’ feature introduced to aid in particularly challenging puzzles. The game also features around 32 minutes of full motion video to enhance the storytelling.


Professor Layton and the Unwound Future stands as a high point in the series, offering a deeply satisfying puzzle experience intertwined with a touching and complex story. It is a testament to the power of narrative in video games and remains a beloved title among fans.

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