Professor Layton and the Last Specter is the fourth installment of the Professor Layton puzzle adventure series. This game is a prequel to the original games and begins three years before Professor Layton and the Curious Village game. In the game, Professor Layton receives a weird letter from an old schoolmate telling him about a mysterious giant that is terrorizing his town and asking Professor Layton to help him. Professor Layton heads to Misthallery with his assistant, Emmy, to try to help his old friend.
Professor Layton and the Last Specter is a puzzle adventure game. The game play takes place on the bottom screen with a map of your location appearing on the top screen. You move around in the game by using the stylus to follow arrows or click on objects and people. When you click on a person, they will speak to you and give you information you need to figure out what to do next. Speaking to different people at different points in the game will change what they tell you. Clicking on some objects will give you information about the object, launch into a puzzle, or give you a hint coin. Hint coins can be used to get hints to solve the puzzles. They are limited so don’t use them too quickly.
There are a number of different types of puzzles in this game including word games, brain teasers, riddles, etc. Each puzzle is worth a certain amount of points. As you use hints to solve the puzzles, the amount of points that the puzzle is worth decreases. While playing the game, there is a treasure chest icon that you can click on. It keeps track of the puzzles you’ve completed, provides an index of mysteries that you have discovered so far, and lets you access Professor Layton’s journal which is where Emmy keeps notes on what you’ve learned so far. There is also an icon called "Episodes" that gives you a bit more information about some areas or people. As new information appears in the journal or Episodes section, the word “new” is superimposed across that icon. You just click on the icon to read the new information.
On the top screen while you are in the treasure chest area, you can see how many puzzles you’ve solved, how many puzzles you’ve found, your total score (points), how many hint coins you have and have used, how long you’ve played and your current location. You can also make notes using the memo function. The treasure chest area has three blank icons with question marks for items you will receive as you progress through the game.