I’m actually kind of shocked that it’s taken me this long to write about some music from the Professor Layton series, especially the good old prof’s theme music itself. The series became an instant favourite of mine when it launched back in 2008 thanks to its range of interesting and brain-taxing puzzles, lovely visuals, wonderful characters, off-the-wall storytelling and, of course, atmospheric music. And while Layton’s theme has remained relatively unchanged throughout the series, there’s a very good reason for that – it’s perfect already.
This track sets the tone for the rest of the soundtrack, with its use of violins, pianos and the series’ iconic accordion all blending together beautifully. It feels old-fashioned, which fits the kind of time period the series evokes, but has an almost modern composition too. It has more of a French vibe than an English one but it suits the slightly more fantastical England that the series is (mostly) set in. But the main draw is how it matches Layton himself.
It’s refined and dignified, highlighting his gentlemanly manner, but its pace veers slightly between quick and jaunty and slow and methodical, perhaps symbolising the two sides to Layton. While he’s mostly known for his calm and kindly demeanour, the track still hints towards his more serious nature and how, when push comes to shove, he’ll go beyond what’s expected of him to help save the day.
The series’ music has been criticised for all sounding relatively the same (probably due to its focus on the same few instruments) but if there’s any one track that I think even the dissenters must like, it’s this one, and it’s appearance, regardless of the game, makes me happy and relaxed because it means Layton’s on the case.