There are over 50 cases in Devil’s Attorney, and I won every one of them. I played as Max McMann – ace attorney – who is a winner by nature. I never lost a single case because winners don’t lose (it’s not in their nature), so I didn’t.
It’s that kind of opening speech that you’ll come to expect as you play through the excellent Devil’s Attorney, where the courtroom serves as a facade for a simple card-based combat game. Substitute “Case Strength” for “Hit Points” and “Cross examinations” for “right crosses”, and you’ll see Devil’s Attorney for the fun card-based brawler that it is. Your opponents in court will bring evidence and witnesses to bear against you, so you’ll tamper with evidence and hypnotize the opposition until there’s nothing and no one left to oppose you (which, coincidentally, makes you a winner).
Each case takes less than five minutes to play through, but there are more than a few hours of gameplay here for those who want to sit back and enjoy the game’s quirky sense of humour. There’s lots of great voice-acted dialogue to relish, so much, in fact, that it’s easy to look past occasional grammatical errors in the subtitles. There aren’t any other games like this on iOS, so my closest comparison is a combination of Telltale Games’ Sam & Max and Capcom’s Phoenix Wright. This is a courtroom drama where even Rick Astley isn’t out of place.
Progression in Devil’s Attorney is absolutely linear, but you do have a few upgrades along the way that can influence your play style. I enjoyed picking up little tricks that maximized my damage per turn, but I could also have tricked witnesses into knocking themselves off the stand, or made my cases so strong that I could simply stomp my way through the courtroom. There are upgrades aplenty, and it’s fun to feel like you’re winning in your own way. Winning cases yields more cash, and more cash buys you more upgrades. This is what you do in Devil’s Attorney: rinse your greasy hands, put a little more gel in your hair, and repeat.
Devil’s Attorney doesn’t feature very much gameplay variety, so what keeps you moving from case to case is the awesome slapstick. Every trial is prefaced by a fully voice-acted conversation between protagonist, Max McMann, and the prosecution. Some of your opposition is clumsy, some of it pathetic, and a rare few appear incredibly competent – but the fun of it all is that Max almost never feels like he has met his match. He’s always the last person to give up on himself. McMann tends to talk circles around people or mesmerize them with his perfect jawline, meaning that the two minutes of conversation before each trial are almost always a treat. There’s also a delicious sense of progression as Max’s reputation as a scoundrel and #winner precede him.
The only criticism I have of this game is that it doesn’t sync saved games across iCloud. Devil’s Attorney is a universal title on both iPhone and iPad, so it’s a pity that I couldn’t access my iPad’s saved game on my iPhone – especially since this game lends itself so well to quick bursts of play. But that’s really just me nitpicking.
Devil’s Attorney makes a great case for gaming on iOS. It’s a hilarious drama to bear witness to, and I certainly won’t object if you choose to buy it now for $3. No, really, go ahead.
Devil’s Attorney was provided by 1337 Game Design for review on iSource. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the “About” page.