Devil’s Attorney and Aviary Attorney

Kavita Balendra

There comes a time in every barrister’s life when the reality of practice becomes a little overwhelming. At times like that, one may find oneself delving into fantasy, and in particular the fantastical world of practice as an attorney in an alternate, virtual realm.

While games designed around the actual practice of law are few and far between (the Ace Attorney series by Capcom being a notable exception – see the review in Bar News Autumn edition 2022), there are some that provide at least a mild diversionary interest.

One such game is the iOS-based Devil’s Attorney (also available on Google Play), a turn-based strategy game set in the 1980s. You play Max McMann, a square-jawed, flowing-haired defence attorney who has to represent clients accused of crimes ranging from

… smuggling rare lizards in their underpants:

... to a very familiar sounding assault charge:

Going to court involves using action points to do damage to your opponent and your opponent’s witnesses and evidence. Failure means that your client goes to jail; success means you gain your fee, which you use to upgrade your home and to unlock and strengthen your courtroom skills.

The dialogue is fun, and the soundtrack is reminiscent of the best of the ’80s. Gameplay can get a little repetitive, which causes the game to lose its gloss. Best played in small doses, it is nonetheless an entertaining time waster.

For those who are more interested in a plot-driven game and a good Ace Attorney alternative, Aviary Attorney may scratch that itch. Available on Steam and on the Nintendo Switch (but not on a Mac OS, although that is a rant for another day), it first came out in 2015 and is a short, entertaining game that you’re likely to complete in about two hours.

Set in 1848 Paris, a city filled with anthropomorphic animals, you take the role of the fresh-faced (beaked?) Jayjay Falcon, a defence lawyer. In a style very reminiscent of the Ace Attorney games, you will be asked to take on a case and given a limited time in which to investigate and gather evidence, which you then must present in a courtroom.

The climax of each case is the action which occurs in the courtroom, where you use your evidence to cross-examine witnesses on their version of events. This necessitates choosing the correct item to match up with holes in a witness’ testimony and is the way you get the jury on side.

It is littered with charming characters, including pun-heavy Sparrowson, your erstwhile sidekick. There are some modern references sprinkled throughout, which does stick out, but to me they enhanced the gameplay. The real benefit to the game is that the choices you make throughout the game do make a real difference to the ending (of which there are several), suggestive of some replayability. The whimsical artwork was definitely a highlight for me, as were the interesting characters and dialogue.

The only issue would be that it was short (and a touch too derivative), which makes the cost (and I obtained it on a Steam sale) a consideration. However, it is still an entertaining game with enough plot and intrigue to keep you engaged. BN

Kavita Balendra