Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Jan 102020
 

Not only did I end 2019 with A Hat in Time, but I started 2020 by finally playing another game I backed on Kickstarter, Aviary Attorney.

Aviary Attorney first caught my attention because it looked like Ace Attorney, except with animals as the main characters. Oh, and being set around the era of the French Revolution.

The game’s cast and art style came from the art of J.J. Grandville in the book Public and Private Life of Animals. As a result, the entire game has been made with this art style, and while it’s unusual, I got used to it pretty quickly.

Now, Aviary Attorney had a troubled development. While the game did come out, the planned bonus chapter and other Kickstarter rewards never did. The developers offered backers a refund and then left Aviary Attorney.

It’s getting new life soon on the Nintendo Switch because another developer stepped in to make a Switch version, but the main reason I’m bringing up Aviary Attorney’s history is because of its bugs. Aviary Attorney has two major bugs which are easy enough to work around once you know about them, but are an unpleasant surprise if you aren’t.

First, the “save and quit” feature doesn’t work. The game auto-saves at the start of each new day, but the tutorial says you can also use “save and quit” to save your progress at any point. You can’t. The daily auto-save is the only way. “Save and quit” just quits.

Second, the game saves at the end of each case. However, if you start the next case, but then quit the game before reaching the first auto-save, trying to continue from the start of the case will result in a broken opening you can’t get past. You’ll need to replay the previous case’s final day in order to continue.

Like I said, these are simple to avoid, but only once you know about them.

Let’s move on now to talk about the game itself. Aviary Attorney might look like an animal-starring Ace Attorney, and it definitely has some nods and shout-outs to the series (as well as a prosecutor whom I thought of as Bird Edgeworth for most of the game, because that’s pretty much what he is), but it also takes some steps to distinguish itself from Ace Attorney’s formula.

Séverin Cocorico, aka Bird Edgeworth

The main way it does this is by putting restrictions on how much you can do during investigations. In each case, you only have a certain number of days before the trial, and you can perform one action each day.

Don’t panic, though. While it’s a little frustrating to not be able to see every line of dialogue in a single playthrough, there are often multiple ways to find the evidence you need, so it’s not as stressful as you might expect. Failing a trial doesn’t give you a game over, either, but lets you continue.

Since Aviary Attorney has multiple endings, I expected your choices and trial outcomes to play a major role in how the game branches. Instead, they influence dialogue and available options, while the main story follows a fairly linear path until one specific part where it branches into its three endings.

You can start over from any day you’ve previously completed, so getting all three endings is pretty simple (especially since the game is short, only taking me about 5 and a half hours to get my third ending).

Overall, the game is enjoyable. There’s a lot of funny dialogue, and the characters are good, especially the main protagonist Jayjay Falcon and his assistant Sparrowson. Their banter included a lot of entertaining moments that made me laugh, and I really got to like them.

The overarching plot is generally interesting, too. Aviary Attorney is set around the French Revolution, and each case builds toward a growing conspiracy.

Click for Aviary Attorney spoilers
I do think it would have been more compelling if they spent a little more time building up the Veridian Killer in the earlier cases, since it felt like I was suddenly being pulled into another character’s plot at the end of the game.

I also wanted a little more from Falcon’s past. He does act like he’s hiding some dark secret, so when he finally reveals he just didn’t want to be compared to his grandfather, it felt like a bit of a cop-out to me. If nothing else, they should have spent a little more in-game time talking about who Robespierre was to make Falcon’s behavior more understandable.

I enjoyed Aviary Attorney. Being limited in how much I can investigate isn’t my favorite mechanic, but I’d happily play the bonus chapter or a potential sequel if they’re ever made… preferably without bugs, this time.

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  7 Responses to “Aviary Attorney: Restrictions and Revolutions”

  1. Glad you liked it despite its flaws. I never actually played Ace Attorney even though I always meant to. Maybe that helped me like this game more though, since I wasn’t comparing the two. I don’t remember that bug, that’s an annoying one.

  2. […] lead roles seem oddly popular, with Aviary Attorney being one of the most notable ones we’ve discussed in the […]

  3. […] I prefer in my mystery games (plus it has limited actions, a feature I wasn’t crazy about in Aviary Attorney), but I’ll be sure to look into it […]

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