Beneath Max McMann's Stupid Grin Is An Incredibly Intelligent Courtroom Comedy

Last week I argued that Devil's Attorney, a courtroom battler for iOS and Android, could never be more entertaining than its over-the-top inspirational 80's theme song. Chalk up another win for Max McMann.

I made an assumption. I assumed that any mobile game that went to such great lengths to play up its wacky 80's style was compensating for deficiencies in other areas. I figured 1337 Game Design was playing up the materialism and decadence of its suave hero in order to serve us with the same old legal mumbo jumbo. I purchased the game in support of 80's theme music, not expecting much.

What a wonderful surprise to discover that beneath the bling lurked a deep and thoughtful strategy game that's less Phoenix Wright-style adventure and more single-player strategy board game. Outrageous cases like the man selling plots of rainforest land and then shipping them, animals and all, to surprised buyers are merely set dressing for a turn-based battle of numbers and chance.

Each case begins with opening arguments, an often hilarious spoken back-and-forth between attorneys, and then the real game begins. Witnesses, evidence and experts that enhance those two line up on the right side of the screen. On the left Max's growing legal prowess is laid out in a series of powers that damage or hinder the opposition. The goal is to knock out the prosecutor's case before your own is whittled down to nothingness. Cross-examine witness to inflict damage. Use Expert Analysis to whittle down the evidence. Use your Booming Voice to guarantee max damage for your attacks.

Max gains new skills via the almighty dollar. Upgrading his apartment, wardrobe and his cherry red sports car earns him points in three categories — Vanity, Decadence and Materialism — each with its own selection of appropriate skills. Indulging in Max's vices gives him power. Yep, this is the 80's alright.

The only argument I can raise against Devil's Attorney is that once you get into the swing of things the game's 58 cases seem to fly by. I can restart and perhaps explore a different path of progression, but once it's done it's done.

I plan on petitioning the court for additional content. Hopefully I won't find myself up against McMann.

Devil's Attorney — $US2.99 [iTunes]

Devil's Attorney — $US3.00 [Google Play]


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