Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

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Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
European boxart
European boxart, featuring the main characters. From left to right: Luke Triton, Hershel Layton, Phoenix Wright, and Maya Fey.
Developer(s) Level-5
Publisher(s) Level-5
Nintendo (PAL Regions)
Designer(s) Shu Takumi
Composer(s) Tomohito Nishiura
Masakazu Sugimori
Yasumasa Kitagawa
Series Ace Attorney
Professor Layton
Platform(s) Nintendo 3DS
Release date(s)
  • JP November 29, 2012
Genre(s) Adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (レイトン教授VS逆転裁判 Reiton-kyōju vs Gyakuten Saiban?, lit. Professor Layton vs. Turnabout Trial) is a crossover adventure puzzle video game joint-developed by Level-5 and Capcom and published by Level-5 for the Nintendo 3DS. The game is a crossover between Level-5's Professor Layton puzzle series and Capcom's Ace Attorney adventure series, combining gameplay elements from both series. The game features scenario designs from Shu Takumi, the series director for the Ace Attorney series.[3][4] The game was released in Japan on November 29, 2012,[5] March 28, 2014 in Europe and March 29, 2014 in Australia. It will be released in North America in early 2014.[6]


The game follows Professor Layton, Luke Triton, Phoenix Wright and Maya Fey as they attempt to solve the mystery of Labyrinthia. The game has two main styles of gameplay, Adventure and Witch Trial, which feature elements from the Professor Layton and Ace Attorney series respectively. The game features voice acting and animated cutscenes, a staple in the Professor Layton games but a first for the Ace Attorney series.[3]


During Adventure segments, players can explore various environments, conversing with characters and examining background objects in order to find clues to solving the mystery of Labyrinthia. The control scheme is similar to the one introduced in Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, in which players navigate the environments by moving around a cursor on the screen. Investigating certain areas or conversing with certain characters reveals various puzzles, which task players with finding its solution. Solving these puzzles earn Picarats, with more earned for making fewer mistakes, which go towards unlocking bonus content. Throughout these sections, players may also find Hint Coins which can be spent to unlock hints whilst solving puzzles.

Witch Trial[edit]

In the Witch Trial sections, players take control of Phoenix Wright as he cross-examines witnesses in order to defend his client. Whilst cross-examining a witness, the player can press them for more details, which can sometimes yield new information. The player's main task is to look for contradictions in the witness statements and present the evidence that contradicts their statement. If the player presents the wrong evidence at the wrong time, the player will lose a strike, with the game ending if the player loses all of their strikes. This time around, Phoenix will occasionally have to cross-examine multiple witnesses at once. Whilst pressing one witness, another may react to one of their statements, and questioning them may yield new information or evidence.[4][7][8] In addition to the Court Record, which contains evidence on the case, Phoenix also has access to the Grand Grimoire, a book of magic spells which can also be used as evidence. Hint coins found during the Adventure segments can also be used during trials, providing hints on how the player should progress.[9] Additional Picorats are earned at the end of each trial based on how many strikes are remaining.

Downloadable content[edit]

Level-5 announced that they would release downloadable content for the game, including a new storyline, written by Shu Takumi, which will be split up in 12 episodes.[10] It is playable when the game has been cleared once.[11] The downloadable content, which included new puzzles and gallery items, was released every Wednesday for 24 weeks, starting on December 12, 2012, with the different kinds of downloadable content alternating each week.[10]

In PAL regions, the content will be offered in a similar manner, starting with a story episode on the game's release date, and then new content will be released every week until the start of September.[12]

Plot and characters[edit]

A 2D-animated cutscene showing the characters of Layton, Luke, Phoenix, and Maya watching a mysterious figure travel through the town.

Story and setting[edit]

In the city of London, a young girl named Espella Cantabella is chased after by a mysterious force and seeks the aid of Professor Layton and his assistant, Luke Triton. When Espella is suddenly captured, Layton's investigation leads him to a strange book which transports him and Luke to a strange medieval city known as Labyrinthia. This town is allegedly home to witches who hides in the shadows, and is controlled by someone called the Story Teller, who allegedly has the power to turn anything he writes into reality. Meanwhile, Phoenix Wright and his assistant, Maya Fey, who have traveled to London on business, encounter the same book and are also transported to Labyrinthia City. There, they discover Espella has been accused of being a witch and is to be put on trial. As Phoenix decides to defend Espella, soon discovering that the laws of this world are far different from his own, Layton seeks to solve the mystery behind Labyrinthia, with the two not always seeing eye to eye.[4]


  • Professor Hershel Layton (エルシャール・レイトン教授 Erushāru Reiton-kyōju?, Voiced by: Yo Oizumi (Japanese), Christopher Robin Miller (English)), a professor of archeology who likes to solve mysteries through a series of puzzles.
  • Luke Triton (ルーク・トライトン Rūku Toraiton?, Voiced by: Maki Horikita (Japanese), Maria Darling (English)), the professor's apprentice who assists him on his journeys.
  • Phoenix Wright (成歩堂 龍一 Naruhodō Ryūichi?, Voiced by: Hiroki Narimiya (Japanese), Trevor White (English)), a defense attorney who finds himself defending a woman accused of witchcraft.[4]
  • Maya Fey (綾里 真宵 Ayasato Mayoi?, Voiced by: Mirei Kiritani (Japanese), Samantha Dakin (English)), a spirit medium-in-training and Wright's assistant.
  • Espella Cantabella / Mahoney Katalucia (マホーネ・カタルーシア Mahōne Katarūshia?, Voiced by: Aoi Yūki), a girl accused of being a witch.
  • Zacharias Barnham / Lord Jeeken Barnrod (ジーケン・バーンロッド卿 Jīken Bānroddo-kei?, Voiced by: Mamoru Miyano), an Inquisitor(Prosecutor) of the witch trials.
  • Darklaw / Jodola (ジョドーラ Jodōra?, Voiced by: Toa Yukinari), High Inquisitor.
  • Story Teller (ストーリー・テラー Sutōrī Terā?, Voiced by: Masashi Hirose), the main villain of the game. Whatever story he writes with his pen becomes reality.


The game was officially announced at the Level-5 Vision 2010 press conference on October 19, 2010.[13] The game was originally an idea that Akihiro Hino, CEO of Level-5, came up with and a project that he himself proposed to Capcom, sometime after some initial development work had been completed on the project.[7] Jun Suzuki, the producer for the Layton series, noted that Hino was a huge fan of the Ace Attorney series and even had challenged Suzuki to "produce something on par with Ace Attorney" while developing the Layton games.[7] The idea came as a surprise to Shu Takumi, series designer for the Ace Attorney series. Keiji Inafune, head of Capcom's R&D Management Group, was "80 per cent certain" that Takumi would refuse the idea.[14] However, according to Inafune, Hino was able convince Takumi to accept the idea, giving him creative control as the main scenario writer for the project.[14][15] The game features animated cutscenes produced by Bones.[16]

Inafune stated the game is a true collaboration between the two companies jointly sharing in the effort, as opposed to the licensing of characters by one company; he felt that "we wanted to create a great history, which would have been impossible if both parties were not fully involved".[14] Hino recognized that fans of both series would "want to see a showdown" between the lead characters as well as sections where the two "join hands and take on a really big challenge".[14] Both Level-5 and Capcom are contributing towards the game's development, though Capcom is specifically handling the visual design while Level-5 will publish the game.[7] The artwork style used is a mix between the detailed visuals from the Ace Attorney series and the flatter cartoons from the Layton games; the mixed style is a result of a drawn-out trial-and-error process to figure out how best to mix the two conflicting styles.[7] The game will support the 3D effects on the Nintendo 3DS console; though Level-5's developers have already worked with this feature in the release of Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask in 2011, this will be the first Ace Attorney game to support that feature. Takumi was initially hesitant of this feature, but has since come to appreciate it, realizing that the 3D visuals "[let] us present the action from different angles and really [expand] the freedom of expression we have" with the courtroom parts of the game.[7]

The game was first hinted at as a crossover between Capcom and Level-5 by Inafune, who was talking to Japanese business magazine Diamond prior to the Tokyo Game Show 2010, where he mentioned that he had great respect for Akihiro Hino, the CEO of Level-5.[17] On September 25, 2010 the game was outed on Twitter when Jiro Ishii of Level-5 accidentally tweeted to Jin Fujisawa of Square Enix, "Huh? Oh, Gyakuten XX. I'm making it, with Mr. Takumi!" in Japanese. This led to rampant speculation of a new Ace Attorney game being developed by Level-5, similar to how new Capcom games from established franchises are being developed externally, such as DmC: Devil May Cry being developed by British developer Ninja Theory.[18] The mistake was quickly covered up by Jiro Ishii who tweeted later that day that, "A misunderstanding seems to be spreading, so let me say that I'm currently working only on Time Travelers"[19] Yo Oizumi and Maki Horikita, who voiced Professor Layton and Luke in previous games reprise their roles, whilst Phoenix and Maya are voiced by Hiroki Narimiya and Mirei Kiritani, who also played their roles in the Gyakuten Saiban live action film.[20]


The game had originally only been announced for release in Japan, with Capcom gauging interest from the community over whether or not to localize it for other territories.[21] In July 2011, Level-5 International America Inc. conducted a Facebook poll in which fans were asked what currently Japan-only Level-5 game they had the most interest in.[22] Professor Layton Vs. Ace Attorney ultimately won the most votes, with over 7,000.[23] Although the game had yet to be officially announced for release outside of Japan, an English-language press release from Capcom at Tokyo Game Show 2011 hinted as such.[24] Journalists had also noted the game's listing on various Western online retailer, further suggesting a release outside of Japan.[25] Level 5's CEO Akihiro Hino had earlier stated that Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney will be released in North America and Europe by its international studio in 2013,[26] however a more recent statement from Level 5 following its Japanese release asserted that a Western release had not been confirmed or announced.[27] During Japan Expo 2013 in France, when asked about a localization of the game, Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino said that "something was in the works", but that he couldn't talk about it at the time.[28] Level-5 International America posted about it on their Facebook page later the same day.[29] A release for North America and Europe was finally confirmed on Nintendo's Nintendo Direct presentation on August 7, 2013, slated for release in 2014.[30]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 78.58%[32]
Metacritic 80[31]
Review scores
Publication Score
Computer and Video Games 8/10[39]
Edge 7/10[37]
Eurogamer 8/10[35]
Famitsu 35/40[38]
NintendoLife 8/10[36]
Nintendo World Report 8.5/10[33]
Metro 9/10[40]
The Sixth Axis 7/10[41]
God is a Geek 7/10[42]
Pocket Gamer 8/10[43]
Digital Spy 4/5[44]

Famitsu gave the game a score of 35/40.[38] Chris Kohler of Wired, in playing the Japanese version, felt the game was a missed opportunity for the crossover; while he thought the gameplay mechanics and the tweaks worked well with complementary styles, he noted that only the two main cast members from each series were brought into the game, and that the game relied on new and what he considered uninteresting characters to flesh out the story.[45]


The soundtrack to the game was a collaborative effort between Professor Layton series' composer Tomohito Nishiura, Ace Attorney series' composer Masakazu Sugimori, and newcomer Yasumasa Kitagawa. Additionally, Nishiura and Kitagawa arranged the music with the help of Yumiko Hashizume and Norihito Sumitomo; whom had both previously worked on the Professor Layton series. Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney contains re-orchestrated versions of various tracks from both series' games, as well as newly composed pieces. While the arranged pieces were used mostly with gameplay, the animated cutscenes were accompanied by more cinematic orchestral music. All orchestral pieces were performed by Layton Grand Caravan Orchestra.

Awarding it a score of 9 out of ten, Oliver Jia of praised the album as "the soundtrack that fans of both series have been wanting for years."[46] Luna Lee of RPGFan Music similar responded favorably to the soundtrack, but criticized the tracks for being, "segregated into two camps and [having] few overlaps with one another."[47]

Japanese pre-orders of the game included a special bonus soundtrack containing five musical tracks and a celluloid film strip containing select animation cels.[48] The entire soundtrack was officially released on a 3-disc set as Layton Kyouju VS Gyakuten Saiban Mahou Ongaku Taizen (lit. Professor Layton vs. Gyakuten Saiban Magical Mystery Music) on April 10, 2013. The first disc contains all Professor Layton related tracks, the second disc contains all Ace Attorney related tracks, and the third disc contains the music used during the cinematic cutscenes throughout the game.[49]



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  10. ^ a b By Spencer . December 11, 2012 . 1:21am (2012-12-11). "Professor Layton Vs. Ace Attorney Will Have DLC For The Next 24 Weeks". Siliconera. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
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  17. ^ Anoop Gantayat (September 22, 2010). "Capcom and Level-5 Teaming Up". Andriasang. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
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  30. ^ Schrier, Jason (2013-08-07). "Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Is Coming To The U.S. In 2014". Kotaku. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
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  48. ^ LAYTON-VS-GYAKUTAN | "Professor Layton VS Gyakuten Saiban" Original Soundtrack... - VGMdb

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