While it can be tempting to use hints any time you're stuck, its suggested you refrain from doing so: there is not an infinite number of hint coins in the games, and not enough for you to use three in every puzzle you encounter. As such, you have to carefully choose which puzzle is simply solvable without using a hint coin, and what you think you could do with a little extra thinking. But mind you, an unused hint coin will do you no good, so you don’t need to save them for saving's sake.
Each story puzzle has four hints (three in Curious Village and Diabolical Box), while downloadable puzzles have only a single hint. Unlocking a hint in a story puzzle will cost one hint coin (two for the Super-Hints). It does not reduce your score (Picarats) to use a hint.
In Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, downloadable puzzles offer no hints, but do feature a "help" screen which details the player how to solve that type of puzzle. In addition, hint coins are also given to Professor Layton and Randall while they are traveling through the Ruins of Akbadain, and can be used throughout the ruins in order to traverse the puzzle and mummy rooms.
In Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, hint coins can be used during trials. Using a hint coin during a cross-examination will alert you when you are viewing the correct statement to be pressed or objected to. When you need to present something in the Court Record, it will block out half of the irrelevant evidence or profiles. If you have to present a spell in the Grand Grimoire, all evidence will be blocked out, and pressing the "Grand Grimoire" button will open the tome to the correct spell. When used on a multiple-choice question, one of the incorrect choices will be blocked out. If you have to point out a spot on a picture or sketch, the correct area will be highlighted. It was also made easier to find hint coins in this game: the cursor will now blink when there is a hint coin on that location. In addition, the map now shows the amount of coins left to find.
Hint coins are tiny coins you can collect by tapping on objects in the background at any scene. If you tap on the right area, a tiny coin will pop out, accompanied with a small "ding" sound. If you get this, you've acquired another hint coin for use. Sometimes, the objects that will give you hint coins will be somewhat obvious: a broken light or a moving barrel. Other times, and most often, the object will just be something that sticks out a little, such as a lamppost or a sign. Rarely, hint coins are hidden inside specific areas of normal walls or a random cobblestone on a road. These are usually impossible to find without either tapping madly everywhere at the screen or using an assistant.
Every screen of the entire game always contains at least three Hint Coins (occasionally more).
Hint coin amounts
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In the game Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask there are 250 hint coins.
Every game contains an assistant that will help you with finding Hint Coins. In order to "unlock" them, the correct mini-game has to be completed. After being unlocked, they will appear on-screen at random times on the location of an unfound hint coin.
Types of Hints
Note that Hints must be unlocked in order: you can not get Hint 2 without unlocking Hint 1 first etc.
Hint Coin-Unlocked Hints
On occasions, you will get a simple Hint when you entered the wrong answer for a puzzle. Most of the time it will be a simple "Try again" though.
- No explanation for the hint coins is given in universe in any of the games, except that the young Layton and Randal find them while in the Akbadain, which suggests a possible Azran origin. Despite that, Professor Layton never mentions their archaeological value to Luke, even though various characters tell them about the coins near the beginning of the game and set the stage for Layton to give a lecture on archaeology.
- It is not known how the coins themselves provide the hints either.
- Some coins are also on impossible locations, such as the top of a roof, inside a burning flame or even on The Moon. It is unsure how they would be obtained in universe.
- Due to the above two points, hint coins are often made fun of in web comics.
- Due to the nature of the first hint, which tends to be a rewording of the original puzzle, the player will often have to spend 2 coins before getting any actual hint.
- Sometimes the hints are actually just a joke or piece of trivia. This is rare, but it usually occurs during puzzles where it's impossible to offer hints.