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Video Game / Professor Layton and the Unwound Future

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The third game in the Professor Layton series.

The first trilogy concludes with Professor Layton and the Unwound Future (Last Time Travel in Japan, Lost Future in PAL regions). One week ago, a demonstration of a time machine went horribly wrong, causing its inventor and the Prime Minister to disappear without a trace. Now the Professor has received a letter postmarked ten years in the future, as that era's Luke asks him for help to undo the chaos that Future London has fallen into.

Please place examples that apply to the series as a whole on the main Professor Layton page.

This game provides examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The Laytonmobile, and in the cutscenes that show it in full, Clive's mobile fortress, stand out against the 2D characters and backdrop.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Belle, for "Fluke". The young one, I mean.
  • Abnormal Ammo: The slot machine gun that Professor Layton and Future Luke create uses coins as ammo.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Belle keeps calling Luke "Fluke," intended as a term of endearment.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Layton, Don Paolo, and Dmitri are all in love with Claire, but only Layton receives affection in return, finally revealing Don Paolo's motivation for his actions. A more minor example is with Belle and Luke, Belle's obsessed with Luke but Luke doesn't love her back...probably due to how creepy she is.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: It's not a Humongous Mecha; it's called a "mobile fortress".
  • Arc Number: 10. 10 years in the future, an explosion 10 years in the past, a puzzle about two scientists with watches five minutes behind or forward (which leads to them being twenty minutes late, if you're looking for an answer), and 10 minutes to escape the fortress because of a watch that only runs for 10 minutes before unwinding - which in and of itself is a metaphor for Claire's current condition.
  • Are You Sure You Can Drive This Thing?: Layton is actually asked this twice, the first time by Bill Hawks while the Laytonmobile is still normal. The second time is by Luke when the Laytonmobile turned into a plane.
  • Behind the Black: Hazel has a habit of cowering behind the opaque part of the DS.
  • Beneath the Earth: The "future" London.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Future Luke/Clive is considerably more gentlemanly than Luke, but secretly harbors a desire for wide-scale vengeance. On a lesser scale, Becky's politeness toward guests depends on whether her grandmother is listening at the moment.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The ending for the storyline is quite bittersweet, with the Professor finding out that he's been with Claire all along, only to have her pulled away from him as he begs her and sobs for her to stay. Not to mention, Bill Hawks pretty much gets away scot-free. Afterwards, Luke goes overseas, but with the promise of more adventure in the future; a promise fulfilled in The New World of Steam.
  • Bowdlerize: The Japanese version includes a puzzle called "Burton's Case Report" that involves a murder case. It was replaced with a puzzle about parking a car in the localization.
  • But Now I Must Go: Claire, back to the time of her death.
  • Calculator Spelling: In one puzzle, the only clues are a calculator and a note that says "101 X 5". The solution is that the result of the calculation, 505, looks like SOS. The trope is downplayed, as you don't even have to turn the calculator upside-down to see it.
  • Call-Back: Quite a few of them, mostly to Curious Village:
    • Luke notes that Don Paolo had once tried to run them over with a Ferris wheel.
    • When you tap the Towering Pagoda which is in the distance in the area just before its entrance, Flora will say "That tower is even taller than the one in St. Mystere!"
    • When you have to escape the Pagoda, tapping the curtain will cause Flora to say, "Why don't we just make a glider and fly away?"
    • In the sticker book metapuzzle, several stickers are of Curious Village characters.
    • Luke still has Don Paolo's mask of Chelmey. It can be seen hanging over the lid of his suitcase when he's packing up during the credits.
    • There's one to Diabolical Box as well: Examining the underground railway entrance in Chinatown (without tapping the Shoe icon first) will have Luke say "The railway is useful, but it's no Molentary Express..."
    • And one to both games simultaneously: if you tap the manhole cover outside one of the subway stations, Luke remarks, "Remember the last time we went into the sewer?"
    • Puzzle 124, a deathtrap set up by Clive, is itself a call-back to the first puzzle against Future Luke.
    • One of the pictures during the credits is of Layton and Paul frantically running away from the mobile fortress controlled by Clive to destroy London the exact positioning as the picture in Curious Village's credits of Layton and Luke running away from the Ferris wheel sent by Paul to destroy them.
  • Captain Obvious: Layton says, "There's something going very wrong," when the time machine had just exploded.
    • Then there's this exchange:
      Luke: This ladder should lead us down into the research facility.
      Don Paolo: Ah yes, Captain Obvious to the rescue once again.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The pocket watch which Layton gives Claire in a flashback comes in handy ten years later, to disable the mobile fortress.
  • Clueless Mystery: Layton concluding that Future London is actually an undergound replica of the real London is a subversion, since there's enough clues and oddities for an attentive enough player to at least come up with a similar theory. It's still played straight regarding Future Luke's identity, as Layton goes on to essentially describe the character's whole life story in excruciating detail that is not hinted anywhere else in the game, almost like he was making shit up on the spot.
  • Computer Equals Tape Drive: The 2 Computer banks attached to the time machine sport data reels similar to ones found on many older computers.
  • Cool Car: The Laytonmobile goes up to eleven in this game.
  • Corrupt Politician: Prime Minister Bill Hawks, full bore.
  • Cute and Psycho: Puzzlette might count, as she has a punching bag and a spiked flyswatter, which is a bit overkill for dealing with insects.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Late in the game, Professor Layton reveals what Future London actually is and who the Big Bad is. After The Reveal, the Big Bad decides to kidnap Flora, and for some reason no one even tries to stop him except Luke, despite there being multiple people in the room. Flora doesn't even try to resist getting kidnapped, and Luke is stopped by a potted plant. Chelmey and Barton also do nothing but stay in place while looking befuddled.
  • Darker and Edgier: Considerably, in comparison to the rest of the games in the series. For one, it's the first game in the series where people actually die. The villains all have traumatic backstories, and not even Layton and Luke escape woobification.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Future Luke, as seen in this conversation:
      Shmarton: You're one of the fellows behind the incident at the casino, aren't you?
      Future Luke: Let's say I am. What would you do about it?
      Shmarton: I'd get my boss Shmelmey to give you a knuckle sandwich...if only he hadn't gone off to the bathroom!
      Future Luke: Well, lucky for us, he's not here. We'll just be going now.
      Shmarton: If you run off, I'll make sure my boss squishes you like a bug when he finds you!
      Future Luke: Duly noted.
    • Even Flora gets a bit of this, when they're making their way through the tower in Chinatown.
      Flora: Nothing livens up a den of iniquity like a potted plant.
  • Demoted to Extra: Subverted. Flora isn't mentioned at all in the first third or so of the storyline, and when you finally do encounter her, Layton seemingly sidelines her. However, when you return to Future London she irately shows up and makes it clear that she isn't going to take no for an answer, and accompanies the Professor for the rest of the game.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: The Towering Pagoda is built up as the other Layton's hideout for much of the game, but there are quite a few loose ends left over when you're done.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Toyed with, as the "time machine" used to travel between Present London and Future London turns out to be simply an elevator. But then you get to the very end, and discover that the original time machine built 10 years ago did work, temporarily launching Claire into the present time.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Poor, poor Beasly. Or not. One of the credit images shows him flying away from Puzzlette's swatter, injured in a comical way.
  • Easily Conquered World:
    • A lone twenty-or-so-year-old with no special connections or background (Clive) is able to single-handedly manipulate the nation's top scientists into doing his bidding and kidnap the Prime Minister with just his money.
      • There is a pretty thorough justification, though it's easy to miss as the game mentions it only once, but: after Layton saved him from the accident that killed his family, Clive was adopted by a very wealthy woman, whose early death left him with a huge fortune and influential connections. Along with an illustrious early journalism career, he leveraged this into a vast criminal network; however, ten years is a still a bit unrealistic to garner all of that and build an entire city.
    • Considering what he's done, the fact that Bill Hawks even became Prime Minister in the first place.
  • Enemy Mine: Don Paolo joins forces with Layton because he wants to get to the bottom of what's going on... and for other, personal reasons.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Exploited by a painter who's tired of repainting a white wall after it gets vandalised. He then gets an idea and asks the local children to help paint a picture on the wall since he figures that "you'd have to be a real worm" to ruin that.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Excluding the very brief prologue of Layton and Luke attending the time machine presentation, the whole game takes place over the course of a single day, starting early in the morning and finishing very late at night.
  • Fake Assassination: After Layton and Luke meet Future Luke 10 years in the future (or so they think), they're attacked by a huge number of Family henchmen. However, since Future Luke, a.k.a Clive, is their boss, it's probable that they actually never intended to kill him.
  • The Family for the Whole Family: They're even called "The Family."
  • Fauxtastic Voyage: The game uses one with Faked Rip Van Winkle elements in the form of faux time-travel as the antagonist's Batman Gambit.
  • Flashback to Catchphrase
    • We see in this game where Layton got his top hat.
    • We also learn why he decided to become gentlemanly, and who inspired his catchphrase "That's what a gentleman does!"
  • Flying Car: Don Paolo transforms the Laytonmobile into an ornithopter.
  • Fond Memories That Could Have Been: When Claire mourns the "unwound future" that she and Layton could have shared, she's talking about the relationship she could have shared with him had she not died in the time machine accident.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • A lot of the early game puzzles, and then some sprinkled throughout the game, are linked by the common theme of time. But an equally important number is also centered around buttons, often numbered, like those of a lift. The Midland Road clock shop isn't a real time machine, it's actually an elevator to the underground city.
    • Hey look, it's Pavel! Oh, you're looking for giant underground caverns that some scientists believe can be found all across the globe? Well, good luck with that, thanks for the puzzle, and tell Ryoga I said "hi." Come The Reveal...
    • Also, another puzzle giver talks about how he went digging deep into the earth, and wound up in "future London". Luke assumes he just wandered into a wormhole, but the reveal makes everything make more sense.
    • The statue of the boy and the author, who look suspiciously like Luke and Layton. Or rather, Clive and Layton.
    • Two steps outside the clock shop and you can see that it extends into the sky.
    • A more minor example, but before the first Puzzle Battle, Future Luke suggests that the Professor Layton in front of him could be Don Paolo in disguise. Skip ahead a few hours to the Towering Pagoda, where this is precisely what happens.
    • An unemployed lighthouse keeper gripes about how his previous job was stolen by a machine, and things seemed to look up for him when he took the job to maintain the lighthouse in the Thames, only to quit before he started since it was full of machinery, which spooked him since it reminded him of his previous endeavour.
      • Layton and Luke at one point comment about the lighthouse's presence, citing it as weird and out-of-place. Naturally...
    • Remember that white wall that a man wants some local children to paint a mural on? Over the course of the game you can revisit the location and see the current progress of the mural. The first thing to be painted is a giant mech standing above an underground cavern. Later on the cavern even gets the pattern of the Union Jack.
  • Frictionless Ice: A recurring puzzle in this game. It differs from the usual puzzle of this type in that it is often possible (and necessary) to avoid slipping by finding a route around the peels.
  • Future Me Scares Me: And how! Played straight with Future Layton, and later Future Luke.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: It's implied in a flashback that Layton hit Clive whilst restraining him, to stop him from going back for his parents, after the explosion that killed both Claire and Clive's parents.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: At one point in the Towering Pagoda, Layton is forced to put on a strange pair of goggles in order to see the puzzle that will unlock the next door. Their real purpose is to scan his memories of a specific day so Dr. Allen can program that data into his time machine... except 'Layton' was really Don Paolo in disguise, so Allen couldn't have gotten the information off him in the first place.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Prime Minister Bill Hawks is the one responsible for the time machine demonstration that killed Clive's parents and Claire, setting off the chain of events leading to this game.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: Subject 3. Years of being experimented on have left him misanthropic and cranky enough to give even Shadow the Hedgehog a run for his money.
    "Take one more step, and I'll rearrange your kneecaps!"
  • Hard on Soft Science: The Prime Minister is talked into participating in the time machine demonstration after Dr. Stahngun needles him over abandoning the hard sciences.
  • He Is All Grown Up: We get a glimpse of what Luke would look like when he's older. Later in the game, it turns out that he is not Luke but a young man named Clive, who looks incredibly similar to Luke. As far as we know, Luke and Clive are not related, making the resemblance something of a Contrived Coincidence.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Don Paolo, although he claims it's only temporary.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Poor Rosetta (for Layton) and Belle (for Luke).
  • Humongous Mecha: The mobile fortress.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Layton disappears for a short period when the gang are heading for the Towering Pagoda, and Luke and Flora are naturally concerned. Flora remarks that Luke is "just lost without him," which is a nice bit of pot-kettle-black coming from Little Miss Separation Anxiety. Of course Luke calls her on it, but it's all quite good-natured.
  • I Have Your Wife: Clive abducts Flora to ensure that Layton will chase him, although the specific motive for this act is never actually stated. He finally admits that he doesn't really know why, and guesses that something inside him made him want to be stopped.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Florence in Puzzle #46.
  • Ice Queen: Bill Hawks's wife, who behaves as though attending the scientific event at the start of the game is somehow beneath her and the food isn't good enough.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: In the casino, Layton, Luke and Future Luke are being shot at by SMG-toting members of The Family, yet no one gets shot despite a large amount of collateral damage.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: "Paint me <adjective>" from Slate and "drone" from Beasly.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: On two occasions, from both Layton and Luke. Granted, they were at some of their lives' saddest moments.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!: Clive plots to use his fortune to build a giant mecha to destroy London, despite all the more efficient (but less entertaining) ways of levelling a city.
  • Interface Spoiler: Inverted: the game's interface helps to hide the biggest plot twists from the player by putting "Solved" stamps on some of the mysteries even when the "solutions" found were in fact lies created by the villains. Once the truth is discovered, the "Solved" stamp is replaced with a "The Whole Story" stamp.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: At one point, Layton and Luke find a statue of an author who became friends with an ill boy, and who wrote children's adventure books. Eventually the boy died of his illness. The "author" looks a great deal like Layton and given that Layton saved Clive, it may actually be Layton. Luke returns to that statue when he's troubled by the news of his father moving.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Don Paolo, again. He claims that the only reason he modified the Laytonmobile is so Layton could save Flora.
  • Karma Houdini: Bill Hawks. Despite being the one responsible for the explosion ten years before the present and causing the deaths of probably dozens of people, including Clive's parents and his lab assistant Claire, he is never punished. In fact, he's actually rewarded for his actions, earning a fortune which he then uses to gain political favor and become the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Even by the end of the game, we never see him get comeuppance; all that happens is that Chelmey makes a pointed comment about being blinded by ambition, but it goes over Hawks' head.
  • Large Ham: Prime Minister Bill Hawks, but only when he's publicly speaking. The contrast between his normal and orating voices is stark indeed.
  • Layman's Terms: Name-dropped by Layton when he's explaining the "memory scanner".
  • Light and Mirrors Puzzle: One is midway through the Towering Pagoda.
  • Lighthouse Point: There's a lighthouse in the middle of the Thames, instead of at the mouth of the river like a normal lighthouse. It's actually the top of the moving fortress.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Very subtle, but when you first meet Hazel he is terrified of Layton's hat, so he shies away and hides behind a wall. Naturally, this wall is the side of your DS.
  • Loophole Abuse: Layton and Future Luke try to prove themselves to one another by, obviously, presenting puzzles. Luke starts by challenging Layton to find a spade in a set of four cards, and Layton does the same on his turn. But Layton's cards don't include a spade - he noticed that Luke never specified that all four cards were of different suits, and took advantage of that loophole to make his own puzzle Unwinnable by Design. It turns out to have been a Secret Test of Character; Luke was seeing if Layton would catch such a loophole.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Future Layton turns out to be Dmitri Allen, aka Dr. Stahngun - who, in the end, was being manipulated by Clive, aka Future Luke.
  • Manly Tears:
    • Layton after losing Claire for the second time.
    • They start up again in the very last cutscene, when Luke loses his composure and runs to hug the professor goodbye, before the latter is left watching the boat Luke is on sail away.
  • Masquerade: Future London is a fake created by Dr. Stahngun; he kidnapped scientists and made them believe they were 10 years into the future, then enlisted their help in finishing his time machine by telling them it was the only way to get back to their correct time.
  • Memento MacGuffin:
    • As we learn in this game, Layton's hat is one.
    • A more plot-critical one is the watch that he gave Claire.
  • Metapuzzle: The Picture Book is a minigame that constitutes the narration of a story. There are three picture books, in each of which there are sentences and literary passages that are missing due to the absence of certain words. Those words, in turn, are the names of stickers you gather by solving other puzzles over the course of the game. Since each sticker can only be used once (and the limitation is carried over to all three picture books, not just the specific page of the book where you're using it), you need to figure out the correct placement of the stickers (an unsuspecting player might think a certain sticker is meant to be used in the story of one book, only to realize later that it's for a later book's story); and ultimately, by the time you get all stickers, you'll have to check all stories and their passages to ensure a correct solution for each of them.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Margaret is about as short as her granddaughter Becky, who doesn't look much older than young Luke.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: For someone nicknamed "Lockjaw", he sure can't seem to keep his mouth shut.
  • Mood Whiplash: Considering all the concentrated awesomeness that had occurred just before, few saw that ending coming.
  • My Future Self and Me: Luke and future Luke.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Even with Clive's destructive rampage through London with a giant mobile fortress, there's no reference of any deaths whatsoever. This can lead to Clive becoming a Unintentionally Unsympathetic character, when you realize how many innocent people he must have killed.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Averted for the first time in the series. In a flashback, we see Claire kiss Layton, and then she does it again at the very end before leaving him for good. In the present day, Layton hugs both children at different points. Flora throws herself into his arms when he rescues her from her abduction, and Luke does essentially the same thing before boarding the steamship for his move to America.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • Layton's breakdown at the end of the game, after Claire leaves.
    • And then again at the credits; despite telling Luke that a gentleman never makes a scene in public, Layton tears up as his sobbing apprentice hugs him goodbye.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: "Suspicion", which plays over the Previously on… segments, among others.
  • Papa Wolf: We finally see Layton become truly pissed off when Clive kidnaps Flora.
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: The hint coin-finding pet in this game is a parrot. Sadly, the meta-puzzle where the parrot learns words and repeats them back was replaced in the English version.
  • Product Delivery Ordeal: The Parrot minigame revolves around a parrot who volunteers as a delivery bird taking belongings to people who are in Future London. The objects in question are relatively mundane, such an apple (to Luke), a soccer ball (to Raleigh), or a cup of coffee (to Silky); in one instance there's a living pet the parrot has to be delivered as well (a dog, to Viv), though. Due to the products' weight, the parrot cannot fly too efficiently on his own towards the recipients, so the player has to use the touch screen of the Nintendo DS to draw ropes between marked dots (which represent dotted hooks) and create perches that guide the bird. The angle and placement of each rope is essential, and only a limited number of them can be made (the exact number depends on each level of the minigame). For extra difficulty, there cannot be any intersection between ropes, no hook can attach more than one rope, and a rope can only be attached to two hooks.
  • Punny Name:
    • Rosetta Stone, the archaeology student.
    • Also, Puzzlette, for well... obvious reasons. Her name in the Japanese version is Nazolene, "nazo" being a Japanese word for "puzzle".
  • Ramp Jump: Taken to a ludicrous extreme at the end of the game and this ramp is a levee by a river.
  • Rationalizing the Overkill: Future Luke, a.k.a Clive created a gigantic underground futuristic version of London, built a giant robot, put up a great farce, and tried to blow up the real London only because his parents died in an unfortunate accident. He then justifies it by saying that it's teaching the government not to callously disregard ordinary people (since Bill Hawks managed to not only avoid responsibility for his failed time travel, but reached high office).
  • Red Herring:
  • Reverse the Polarity: The war machine Clive uses is destroyed by switching some gears around to make one of them run backwards.
    • However, this is a much more realistic example of this trope than most, as swapping gears around inside highly complex machinery is sure to do SOME damage, at least.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: What the good Professor embarks upon, like any good Papa Wolf, when Flora is kidnapped.
  • Rule of Cool: After being cornered behind some slot machines by The Family, Professor Layton and Future Luke work together to find a way to escape. Their solution? To create a friggin' machine gun out of slot machine parts that had been shot loose just moments before. Did I mention that they managed to do this while under fire?
  • Save the Villain: Celeste/Claire saving Clive, feeling responsible for what happened to him. Also, in a sense, Layton and company saving Bill Hawks
  • Sequel Hook: At the very end of the game, Luke writes to Layton about a mysterious happening at his new home, which sounds like just the sort of mystery for Layton to solve. The game ends, not with "The End", but with "To Be Continued". This hook would be ignored for several games, until The New World of Steam.
  • Shout-Out:
    • During class, Rosetta - one of Layton's students who has a crush on him - closes her eyes to reveal that she's written I LOVE YOU on her eyelids. With Layton being a professor of archaeology, it's a subtly funny nod to Indiana Jones.
    • In a conversation with another patron in the bookshop near Chinatown, Luke remarks that "I've read the Sherlock Holmes books at least a dozen times!"
  • Similar Squad: There's a Family member named Layman, who is similarly dressed to Layton and gets several of his catchphrases wrong. Layton never comments on this. There are also Shmelmey and Shmarton (Barley and Chelton in the UK version), who are similar to Chelmey and Barton.
  • Snow Means Love: The ending: it starts snowing at the end of the game, even though the weather conditions and the foliage on the leaves would imply summertime. All while the woman Layton loves walks away into the past and towards her death.
  • Soft Glass: Averted. Clive locks Flora in a glass cell, which neither she nor Layton seem able to break. Good thing it had a puzzle lock...
  • Spotting the Thread:
    • Why didn't the future Dr. Schrader react when the Luke who came to visit him was still an Adorably Precocious Child instead of a young adult? Answer: that wasn't Dr. Schrader, and he wasn't from the future. And so the web begins to unravel.
    • Dean Delmona's hair is graying, but Layton knows he's bald and wears a toupee.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: When Flora is kidnapped, one hand on her upper arm and she is completely helpless. Of course, she's no Action Girl in the first place.
  • Start of Darkness: Don Paolo's motivation against Layton is finally explained. Claire was more interested in Layton, which Paolo did not take well. Then her death made things worse...
  • Stealth Insult: From Layton to Luke.
    Professor Layton: And even in the future, you seem to need my help in solving [mysteries]. Your constancy can be quite a comfort in these uncertain times, my boy.
    Luke: Er... Well, thank you... I think.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Claire and her younger sister Celeste could practically be twins. Subverted when it turns out Celeste is Claire.
  • Take Your Time:
    • Contains a particularly egregious example near the end of the game. The Big Bad has activated his gigantic, mobile fortress and is about to begin tearing London apart, and you want to go back and solve any puzzles you may have missed? No problem!
    • Even worse, at the very end, you install a watch with a stated time limit of ten minutes to stall a Self-Destruct Mechanism, yet you can STILL go back to leisurely mess around! Weirdest of all, there's a (telegraphed) Point of No Return right near that point, just like you'd expect — but it's the puzzle immediately after the one where the time limit kicks in, so your final save is guaranteed to one where London is supposedly about to explode in ten minutes.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: A one-sided version: Rosetta, one of Layton's students, makes thinly-veiled references to how she's looking forward to their private sessions. Layton, for his part, seems to know what she's implying (he stutters a bit) but is clearly not interested. Leads to a humorous moment during the credits, which show Rosetta and Layton in their "private" session... with Luke and Flora. Layton and the kids are evidently having a great time; Rosetta, not so much.
  • This Cannot Be!: Clive, after his machine has been disabled.
  • Time Travel: The basic premise. Layton and Luke (later with Flora) must travel into a Bad Future to help Luke's future self stop Layton's evil future self from destroying London. Subverted in that neither Future Layton nor Future Luke are who they seem to be, and there's no actual time travel involved, and then Double Subverted when it turns out "Celeste" is Claire, who did time travel to the future.
  • Title Drop:
    Claire: We had so many plans for the future. Do you remember, Hershel? I'll miss you... and our unwound future.
    • Naturally, the dialogue in the Japanese version also had a Title Drop, but for its own title ("The Last Time Travel"), therefore being a bit different.
      Claire: It looks like my time is up, at last. It was nice to see you again. It ended so suddenly. My... last time travel.
    • It's also slightly different in the UK version, as there was also a Title Drop for its own title ("Lost Future").
      Claire: You won't forget, will you? Our shared past, and our... lost future.
  • Tranquil Fury: Layton at the end, once he's worked out what's really going on here. He remains gentlemanly and reserved throughout, but loses the softer tone in his voice and his beady little eyes suddenly become... unsettling.
    Layton: This is... utter madness.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Well, sort of. As he watches Hershel and Claire getting all lovey-dovey from behind a tree, Paul's bald-but-long-on-the-sides hair stands straight up in shock, then gradually flattens out and hardens into Don Paolo's trademark horned hair.
  • Tropemobile: The Professor's beloved Laytonmobile makes a heroic return in this game, with some unexpectedly badass upgrades.
  • Underground City: While we don't get to see it, underneath Future London is a facility building a huge, city-destroying mecha. Considering that "Future London" is a fake built under the real London, we have a Humongous Mecha built in an Elaborate Underground Base under a Beneath the Earth city under a major metropolis.
  • Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: Dmitri opposed pushing forward the time travel experiment, as Hawks planned to do for his sponsors.
  • Universal Driver's License: Professor Layton is able to fly a plane - rather, the Laytonmobile transformed into a plane (or more specifically, an ornithopter). Strangely, he seems to have a much easier time flying it as a plane than driving it on the ground.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: A few are pulled in the "casino shooting" scene.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • Dmitri plays into Clive's plans without realizing that he's also one of the targets of Clive's revenge plot.
    • Cogg and Spring apparently helped Clive with his plan by making the "time machine" elevator, as they were servants of his adoptive family. They, however, had no idea what he was really planning.
  • The Un-Reveal: Just as Beasley's about to tell us all about how he became a Puzzle Bee, Puzzlette cheerfully interrupts him with a flyswatter. Several times.
  • Verbal Tic: A prominent NPC has one. Is it Cogg? BZZT! Beasley? BZZT! Max? DING DING DING!
  • Villainous Breakdown: Clive, once Layton uses Reverse Polarity on his Weapon of Mass Destruction.
    Clive: This isn't happening. It can't end this way. IT WON'T END THIS WAY!
  • Wham Line: From Claire.
    "You've taken awfully good care of that hat I gave you."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Subject 3's fate. Whether he is adopted and learns to accept humans, or is taken back to another facility, or just hangs out on the wharf for the rest of his life, we never learn.
  • Which Me??: Luke. Layton solves this by referring to them as "Big Luke" and "Little Luke".
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Clive, who has a grudge against scientists and politicians because he lost his parents in an accident caused by Dmitri and Bill Hawks's time machine experiment exploding; and is willing to destroy London to teach them a lesson.
    • Dmitri arguably counts as well. He was in love with Claire, who was killed by the explosion, and is suckered into helping Clive with his plan, unaware that he's one of the people on whom Clive wants revenge.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Layton shares one last kiss with Claire before she is inevitably sucked back to her own time to die.
  • Zany Scheme: Clive's. And how. Clive was somehow able to get the workers, funding, and support for his harebrained revenge scheme, despite only being about 20 years old.

Alternative Title(s): Professor Layton And The Lost Future, Unwound Future, The Unwound Future