Professor Layton and Last Time Travel Original Soundtrack :: Review by Mac_Tear
Professor Layton and the Last Time Travel marks the final installment in Level 5's puzzle and adventure trilogy. For the musical score, the previous team of composer Tomohito Nishura, arranger Norihito Sumitomo, and the Layton Grand Caravan Orchestra returns. The soundtrack contains 23 new compositions and five bonus arrangements; it was released this year on January 21 so let's check it out!
The album opens in a splendid way with an live arrangement of the "Theme of the Last Time Travel". If you read my other reviews of the series, there is not much more to say about this one, because it's simply fantastic. I absolutely adore the arrangement and its performance here. What a way to start the soundtrack! Sadly, we're not going to enjoy the rest of the live arrangements until the end of the disc, so let's see what Nishiura had composed for us here instead.
To be honest, I'm again a bit disappointed with the music here. The first score was rather monotonous and lame with its compositions while the second release made things a little better by using more variety. And the third? Well, with a few exceptions the composer returns to his old format by using tons of accordion and chime stuff once again, sadly. Nishiura only just managed to fulfil my wish of creating an even better score than Professor Layton and Pandora's Box. "Puzzles 3", "Suspicion", and "Puzzle 4", for example, return to the use of bells or music box here. They create a mysterious atmosphere in the context of the game, but are pretty boring on a stand-alone basis. The accordion appears as a solo instrument on tracks like "Hexagon Tower", "Pinch!" or "The Professor's Trunk (Paro)". It also appears with additional instrumentation, such as on "London 3" or "Puzzle Battle" with violin and woodwinds. These tracks sound much better.
A slightly more interesting track is the jazzy "Casino Number 7". Here Nishiura makes great use of the piano together with violin, saxophone, and percussion accompaniment. Another highlight is "Huge Weapon" with its bold arrangement and development. More serene tracks like "Inside Sadness", "Asian Street," and "Laboratory" are sometimes interesting and can feature beautiful arrangements. This game was also the only one in the trilogy to feature a theme song called "Time Travel" complete with Japanese vocals. However, it was not included on the soundtrack and instead we get an instrumental piano arrangement as last original track on the disc. It's done very nicely, but the original theme would be even more awesome if it were included.
At the end of the soundtrack, the Layton Grand Caravan Orchestra performs another three tracks, namely "London 3", "Laboratory" and "Huge Weapon". While the first is undescribably beautiful and serene, the second manages to develop the tense and whimsical atmosphere from "Laboratory" in a more effective way. Accordionist Tetsuya Kuwayama also shines again here with his performance. Last but not least, "Huge Weapon" is nearly identical to its original version except with a little more development in the second half. It's one of the best arrangements from the series, in my opinion, next to the first track. Thereafter we got two high quality versions of the original themes, which are not very interesting nor entertaining and can easily be skipped. Yes, and that was all for this soundtrack.
In the end Professor Layton and the Last Time Travel does not shine as one of the most glorious albums for the Nintendo DS nor from Tomohito Nishiura himself. The overall style stayed the same and fits well to the context of the game, but the lack of memorability and entertainment outside of it is clearly missing here. The music may work flaweless during the gameplay and its charming sceneries, but on the soundtrack it's not quite interesting enough with a few rare exeptions such as "Casino Number 7", "Time Travel", and, of course, all the orchestral arrangements, which are the absolute highlight here. For the remaining tracks I can only say that Tomohito Nishiura did a solid job by painting the scenery with the fitting musical style, but he has to work a lot more on his musical variety if we wants to 'survive' in the musical business. Neverless, Professor Layton and the Last Time Travel is the best and most entertaining album in the trilogy for me.
Overall Score: 8/10