Developer/Publisher: 1337 Game Design/Senri
Platform(s): Android, iOS
Discovery: Random browsing on the Google Play store
Playtime: Approx. 7 hours
Devil’s Attorney is a turn-based strategy game that puts you in the well-polished shoes of Max McMann, a defense attorney whose ego is only matched by the amount of questionable clients he represents.
Right off the bat the game’s intro quickly sets the tone of the game: you’re in for a quirky, banter-filled roller-coaster ride that is the U.S. legal system. As Max, prepare to defend a variety of clients that so clearly have been wronged in their arrest, facing off against an equally as colorful cast of prosecutors.
With each case, you are given a limited number of action points per turn to spread across various techniques to take down the prosecution’s array of witnesses, experts, and evidence. For example, “Cross-examination” targets people and does 3-5 damage at a cost of 4 action points. There are also abilities that adds to the strategy such as “Deep Voice” that guarantees max damage dealt, and “Reverse Psychology” which makes opponents deal damage to themselves.
With each case won, Max earns money, and if done fast enough, a bonus on top. Earnings can be used to decorate Max’s apartment and later on, new threads and a very sweet luxury car. For example, in upgrading your bed you are given three designs to choose from, each with different effects. These upgrades contribute either to boosting the Materialism, Decadence or Vanity stats which can unlock new abilities with enough points; or into upgrading current skills already in use.
One of the major highlights of Devil’s Attorney is the pre-trial banter that Max and each prosecutor engage in. Furthermore, they are all fully voiced! It is through this dialogue that most of the story is revealed as we learn more about Max, the prosecutors, and are even treated to a budding workplace romance.
There are a total of 58 cases in the game, though they definitely go by pretty fast. If you find the gameplay too easy (or difficult), there is always the option to change the difficulty in the main menu. As far as I’ve noticed, the only changes were in how much Case Strength (your life points) you started off with. As you progress through the game, the story is divided up into three acts, introducing new characters and new ways for Max to show off his newfound success and wealth. There is also a total of three different endings one can get. Multiple replays are expected to try out all the different ability combinations and to see all of the endings.
+ Music is incredible. The intro, the ending, the credits – all of it is just awesome. ‘Nuff said.
+ The voice acting is amazing. Whoever hired the voice actors in this game deserves a mention as they match the characters so well. *reads the credits* Good job, Wendi Wills! You’d be surprised just how many games with voice acting, big or small, do not hit this point.
+ There’s a little story behind every character, even the clients. I think the game does a fairly good job of dropping enough information to build interest and enjoyment. Any more would probably have warranted a bigger game to properly expand on everything, which may not be the best direction.
+ Humor is abound. It’s strange how much I enjoyed just how arrogant and exuberant Max was, which was well exemplified throughout the game. I mean look at the name of his stat points.
– Ability system needs some tweaking. The main issue I had with the game was that unlocking some abilities required a commitment. In some cases you had to choose between increasing one of your stats or gaining a new upgrade to one of your existing abilities. One, you cannot see descriptions of base skills so it is difficult to plan in terms of upgrades. Two, it really didn’t matter anyway to plan out your upgrades when you have no idea what the upcoming cases would entail. Did I need to focus more on the evidence, or witnesses, or…? Plus at some point I just stopped caring because the cases were easy enough anyway.
– Upgrades are one-time, and permanent. Again, I little idea what I was doing in terms of upgrades. What made it even worse was that you couldn’t change up your gameplay by switching them around, so once you buy that upgrade you were stuck with it. Oh, I also ended up with not enough money to purchase the final upgrade to my car because it didn’t total out. While I admit this was because I didn’t get bonuses on some cases, it shouldn’t be that punishing, in my opinion.
– Cases cannot be revisited. With the actual trials being the main part of the game, I found it strange that there was no way to look back on your past accomplishments – I know Max definitely would have. What if there was a funny but specific case that I liked, or I just wanted to hear the banter again? Also, if you so happen to tap the screen during the dialogue it will be skipped ENTIRELY. I ended up missing two scenes completely because of that.
– Dialogue does get a bit formulaic. As funny as they are, if you look into it too much you’ll realize there’s definitely a pattern to the back-and-forth (literally) that Max and the prosecutor have. I think it was made more apparent as I would go through a handful of cases per session.
*SPOILER ALERT* Highlight to read.
– Ending is determined by only one choice, made right before you see it. I wasn’t a fan of the whole romance part to begin with, but what made it worse was that you were literally given the option of “do you want this, this, or this for your ending?” which didn’t make it feel satisfying at all to get. And no, I am not going to replay the game for whatever you call that thing between Max and Susan not-Canadian Maple.
• A cool idea I would add in is the ability to switch out abilities on a case-by-case basis (so like a limit of five to choose from), which would probably mean the ability to change out upgrades as well.
• Give an option to replay or at least revisit cases, like tapping a file cabinet or a bulletin board of the newspaper clippings. This could be added in after you finish the game. I found it weird that you could revisit your save file…but there was nothing to do.
• Tapping on the screen during the dialogue should not skip the entire scene, but each line (hold down longer to skip).
• There’s room to expand on the witnesses, experts, and evidence, which would in turn give more depth to each case. I feel like they all deserve a story or something, like tucked away in manila folders with a paper-clipped photo and quick blurb about each. This could tie into my previous idea with being able to replay cases by tapping a file cabinet!
Okay, if you’re looking for another Phoenix Wright this game ain’t it. But what Devil’s Attorney does bring is a zany and humorous charm that lets it stand on its own right. Definitely an “eye-candy” type of game – short, sweet, and oh so fun to look at.
• Gameplay – 4/10 By far the weakest point for Devil’s Attorney. I found the whole turn-based strategy to be pretty easy, which resulted in little challenge or incentive to really focus on how you strategized. Switching to Hard did give me less wiggle room, but that didn’t necessarily make the gameplay more “challenging.”
• Story/Concept – 6/10 While the general concept of the game is tied in well and done nicely, what brings the score down is a rather bland overarching story. Let’s just say the individual case backgrounds had more depth.
• Graphics/Art – 9/10 Very charming and fitting of the overall comedic theme.
• Audio/Sound/BGM – 10/10 This:
• Bang-for-your-buck – 7/10 With the gameplay being fairly easy, cases do fly by quickly. I was able to complete my first run in just four sessions. At 2.99 this puts Devil’s Attorney in the mid-range of mobile game prices. But, honestly, the short gametime is justified by just how fun and enjoyable each case is.
FINAL SCORE: 7.2/10