Oct 30, 2012
Publisher: Game Design AB
Many people view the legal profession as one more of style than substance — something that iOS publisher Game Design AB has taken to heart with the much-hyped Devil’s Attorney. Within days of its release, Devil’s Attorney’s retro visual design, catchy theme song and top marks from app review websites around the world had made it a viral smash. We purchased Devil’s Attorney and put it through its paces, and while it may not be a must-have iOS game, it is incredibly entertaining and well worth the price.
An iOS Puzzle Game With Unique Window Dressing
At first glance, you might look at a gameplay screen from Devil’s Attorney and conclude that it must be a courtroom simulator in the vein of Phoenix Wright. In fact, Devil’s Attorney contains no questioning of witnesses, no investigations and no real story apart from a brief introduction before each case. Under the unusual courtroom window dressing, you can actually think of Devil’s Attorney as having gameplay similar to that of a collectible card game.
On the right side of the screen are the various witnesses and items of evidence involved with the case. Each does a certain amount of damage to your case each turn or enhances the damage done by other items. On the left side are the different actions you can perform; each does a certain amount of damage to an item or has other benefits such as reducing damage done to you or increasing the strength of your case. When you run out of action points for your turn, the opposition deals its damage. If your case strength — or life meter — isn’t empty, you can take another turn. This continues until you have knocked all of the opposing witnesses and pieces of evidence out of the case.
Between cases, you can use the money you’ve earned to buy various luxury items such as upgrades for your apartment. Each item increases one of your skills or adds a new ability for you to use in a future case.
Style or Substance?
If you’ve done any reading about Devil’s Attorney, you’ve probably seen the clip of the fully voiced introduction to the first case in which the main character, Max McMann, speaks about his perfume called “Success.” If you found the video funny, you’re almost certain to enjoy Devil’s Attorney as every case has a similar humorous introduction. The voice acting is uniformly excellent, and it’s touches like these that make Devil’s Attorney far more than an ordinary iOS puzzle game.
If there’s any downside to Devil’s Attorney, it’s that so much effort was put into making the game stylistically appealing that the actual gameplay is occasionally a bit disappointing. Some reviews on the App Store mention that the game includes too few cases. In fact, Devil’s Attorney includes nearly 60 cases. With each having its own fully voiced introduction, you’re actually getting a very large amount of content for $2.99. The reason why some people feel the game lacks a sufficient number of cases, though, is that you can fly through all of them rather quickly. Although a few of the cases may initially look difficult to win, the solution usually becomes evident almost immediately. Once you figure out the proper order in which to execute your skills — you’ll find yourself relying on just a few of them throughout the entire game — the case is over within seconds. Even if you listen to every spoken introduction — which we highly recommend doing, as it’s a huge part of the game’s charm — you can easily finish Devil’s Attorney in a few hours.
Devil’s Attorney is a fun game to breeze through when you have a spare evening for a stylish puzzler. The game’s humor is often genuinely funny and the voice acting is some of the best we’ve heard on the iOS platform. While the game is perhaps too easy, we like the characters and gameplay and would love to see a Devil’s Attorney sequel or DLC in the future.