“Ace Attorney” Brings New Thrills and Critical Thinking Skills

Want to play a thrilling courtroom drama? Do you like playing puzzle games? Ace Attorney is it. In fact, the very first case undersells the game majorly, as I didn’t have many expectations for the game after starting, other than hoping it would make me laugh every once in a while. Instead, I found a game that made me use my critical thinking, problem solving skills, and made me genuinely attached to the characters and world that they built throughout the games. 


Each case follows Phoenix Wright, a defense lawyer that the player controls, who’s tasked with defending his clients from murder charges in court, while also investigating and finding the guilty party both between and during court sessions. Of course, the prosecutors make this a daunting task, which is not at all helped by the three day time limit for each trial. The first game has a set of standalone cases, that then transition into investigating the mysterious DL-6 incident, which digs into the past of not only the prosecutor Miles Edgeworth, but also the Fey family over multiple cases.  


The way each court trial works is certainly interesting. The game requires you to put thought into what you’re doing, otherwise you’re penalized and can even be sent back to your last save point if you mess up enough times. However, at times the game can be a little ridiculous on where to present the proper evidence or what the proper evidence even is. There have been times where I’ve known the answer before the game wants me to, but because I presented the evidence on the wrong statement, the game considers me wrong. While this can be frustrating at times, either reloading the save file or going to the Ace Attorney Wiki keeps it from being too aggravating. 


The game requires a lot more critical thinking and investigative skills than I expected, but that’s one of my favorite parts about it. Each case has a series of twists and turns that keep you on your toes, even if at times they can seem a little insensible. I actually found some of the more ridiculous twists hilarious, and I really like that a lot of the time, the game doesn’t take itself too seriously. 


One of my favorite aspects of the game has got to be the unique and charming characters. Between familiar faces like Phoenix Wright, Maya Fey, the ever impartial Judge, and brand new characters specific to each location and trial, each case solidly stands on its own, while also fitting into the bigger narrative. Even better, almost all the names have some type of entertaining pun, like Jack Hammer, Will Powers, and Sal Manella. The characters are one of the strongest aspects of the game, and the part that kept the sometimes repetitive gameplay from getting too monotonous for me. 


In total, there are six games in the franchise, the first three of which can be bought on the Nintendo Switch EShop as a bundle for $29.99. I would recommend waiting until the game goes on sale, then buying it and just letting the absurdity sweep you away. It won’t be the smartest game ever, it won’t be the most serious game ever, but it’ll make you laugh, and get you invested in all the characters as you go along.