Release Date: 18 December 2015
Developer: Sketchy Logic
It is 1848, Paris. Even in the City of Light, darkness still festers. But there are those who stand against the rising tide of evil. Foremost amongst these bastions of hope is one man!
…well, okay, maybe he isn’t really up there in the scheme of things. And maybe he isn’t technically a man, he’s a falcon. But nonetheless, he stands to see justice prevails in the heart of revolution.
Aviary Attorney is one of those games looks interesting, but that you might not expect that much from. However, I’m very pleased to say that it’s maybe one of the biggest surprise delights I’ve had all year.
The gameplay for Aviary Attorney falls somewhere in between Hatoful Boyfriend and Phoenix Wright. You must traipse through the streets of Paris searching for clues and evidence in order to prevail at court and let the truth out.
However, you mustn’t let the rather simple outward appearance of the game’s mechanics take your guard down. Though the main structure of the gameplay – search for the key piece of evidence and then compare it to the correct bit of testimony at court – seems to imply that everything’s nice and straightforward, a much more complex and far darker plot is quickly revealed as you keep playing through. For perhaps obvious reasons I shan’t go into any detail, but suffice to say that there are more twists and turns in this storyline than a particularly rotated piece of Fussili.
Your own personal detective skills are tested as you must choose which leads to follow and which to drop. For instance, you have to determine whether pushing a potential witness will give you that vital information or push them away, and choosing which location will give you valuable evidence. The game has you on a ticking clock, meaning that the decisions that you make have real weight and it has no qualms about letting you miss vital bits of evidence that may prove your downfall in court.
You also get a limited supply of money, which has its benefits – a task might require that you acquire items or ‘persuade’ somebody, and a few francs changing wings can make this all the easier. More than once, you might know that there is some kind of connection between a suspect and your case, but with only a limited amount of time and resources you simply cannot secure the evidence you require.
Aviary Attorney smashed my expectations. I got my copy given free by the developer, but I’d say it’s still worth the asking price, especially while it’s on sale: the writing is extremely witty and hilarious without relying on bird puns (though there are still of few of those for good measure), with gameplay that is far more complex than it might at first appear. The story is a great foray into trying to uphold justice against whatever force may try to stop you, even the populace that you try to protect. After all, this is Paris. A revolution is never far away.