Who doesn’t want to experience 19th century France? The streets of Paris are filled with murder and mystery, and it’s up to Jayjay Falcon to restore order. With his trusty sidekick Sparrowson, I helped the fowl lawyer collect evidence and settle cases, coming closer to a bigger picture that looms over the already fragile peace of the city.
Aviary Attorney, developed by Sketchy Logic, is a quirky visual novel with an interesting premise. I’ll admit, I saw the words “bird lawyer” and the deal was sealed for me. There’s nothing more entertaining than seeing how the storyline, comedy and all, can be taken so seriously. I’ve never played or seen much of the Ace Attorney series, but I would imagine that the atmosphere is similar. That being said, I encourage Ace Attorney fans to give this game a try.
Anyhow, let’s journey to 1848, Paris.
Literal Red Herrings
Aviary Attorney’s story is an excellent example of a serious narrative with fitting comedy. In addition to some of the dialogue between our brave Jayjay Falcon and the assistant Sparrowson, the writers were brash enough to insert puns. Not usually a lover of puns, I did find their effort endearing and caught myself chuckling at a few of them (begrudgingly).
I think the characters were beautifully written, puns and all. Jayjay Falcon has clear goals, obstacles, and even inner conflict. As someone who tries to read every line of dialogue when I’m playing games, even I tend to skip dialogue that holds no real substance to the story. Aviary Attorney, however, had the aim to entertain — and their aim was true. Needless to say, I took my time playing this and thoroughly enjoyed every character’s role and arc.
Since the nature of the game is to ask the right question and say the right thing, Aviary Attorney challenges what the “right thing” is. Being straightforward can sometimes punish instead of reward, while choosing a more tactful response could uncover something to help Jayjay’s stance in court. One thing that I especially liked was that you couldn’t just cycle through responses to try and find the right one; if you waste all your chances on the choices that you think are right, the case could end up lost.
Since choices have the potential to noticeably change the course of the story, it’s important to know that different events could occur based on how the cases go. There are three different endings, all of which can be obtained in multiple ways. This lends itself to satisfactory replayability, especially if you end up playing it again months or even years later. With the lack of voice acting and a more classical art style, the charm lies in how every character is distinguishable, with little to no confusion as to what is happening at any time.
While initially the lovely artwork, historical setting, and clashing anthromorphic characters interested me, Aviary Attorney’s true worth is in the reactions given for every choice made. But make no mistake, while the game’s premise is simple, just remember that nothing is ever as it seems. Morals will be challenged, hilariously and seriously — and the puns will always find you.