Holy crap! Holy crap! One of the greatest cult hits on the Nintendo DS is now available for the iPhone! I know! GLEE!
If you’ve never played Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney before, the premise is simple. You’re a young, hotshot defence lawyer just getting into the biz, and you have to work your mojo in a series of increasingly-difficult cases to prove your worth to your highly inappropriately-dressed, way-too-young-to-be-a-successful-lawyer boss.
Essentially a point-and-click puzzle adventure, you are dropped into a courtroom, presented with testimonies, arguments, and evidence. Then you are expected to spot discrepancies in stories in order to prove who’s really to blame. The top half of your screen is where you can see the character in focus, and the bottom half is where you interact with Q&As, court documents, evidence, etc. You can scroll through dossiers of key characters, lists of evidence entered into court, and are then given opportunities to either press a witness during cross-examination if you suspect anything, or present evidence to catch them in the middle of a bald-faced lie. In typical Japanimation fashion, character facial expressions are grossly over-exaggerated to the point of hilarity, such as when the case appears to be not going so well in your favor.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney consists of 5 separate “stories” to play through, but only one is initially available to you at the start. Successfully defending your friend “Butz” (no, not making that up) from a murder charge unlocks the next story in Phoenix’s adventure, and so on and so forth. In later stories, you also get the chance to play investigator, visiting crime scenes and so forth – you know, the kind of leg work that lawyers on TV do all the time and that real-life attorneys NEVER do. Do not expect a single ounce of realism here, but definitely expect to give pause and more than the occasional giggle at the storytelling and interaction between characters. It gets downright silly (in a good way) at points.
Priced at $4.99, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is an absolute steal. When it was available on the DS, it was often priced at $40 or more, and it was ridiculously hard to get your hands on a copy. Is the game itself difficult? Not particularly. Are the graphics and sound effects fitting for such a next-gen device like the iPhone 3GS? Since it’s been pretty much lifted straight from the DS version which was itself released in 2005, not so much, no. Does this make it in any way any less fun? Not on your life. You’ll quickly find yourself relishing your next chance to stand up, point your finger at an oath-breaking witness, and shout out Phoenix’s catch-phrase: “OBJECTION!”
And, well, if you still need a bit more convincing, turn up your speakers and click here. Maybe check that your volume isn’t obscenely loud first, though. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.