Someone has been watching a lot of Breaking Bad. At least that's the impression I get from developer Anders Hejdenberg, who's managed to make Devil's Attorney feel like an homage to Breaking Bad's sleazy lawyer, Saul Goodman.
In Devil's Attorney, you play as the cocky, arrogant, smart ass lawyer, Max McMann. Max has the looks, the charm and the charisma to get any client off, no matter how slam dunk the case may appear to be for the prosecution. Devil's Attorney takes place in the '80s, where a sleazeball guy like Max fits right in with his over-the-top attitude and decor choices.
After watching one of the best opening game sequences ever made, you start as a two-bit lawyer, working small and meaningless misdemeanor crime cases. After you manage to work your way up the legal ladder, your status will improve, as will your reputation and the types of cases you take on. Just like in real life, the only way this is possible is by decorating your apartment, car and by buying ridiculously expensive suits. The higher in status you get, the better your living quarters become.
Head to the law firm and pick the case you want to take on. Once that's done, you'll chat with the prosecutor for a bit before the case begins. I shouldn't say chat -- more like torment. You'll run across the same lawyers in different cases, building a relationship with them that borders on wacky and weird. Make fun of a guy's toupee enough times, and a few cases later, he'll show up wearing a ridiculous wig. It's this type of humor that keeps the game fresh. The "drumroll" scene had me cracking up.
The cases themselves are all ridiculous, though some are so stupid, they've probably actually happened in real life. My favorite cases are the ones that are movie related. Max will represent a hotshot pilot who did an illegal flyby, or represent a man who stole a jet to attack another country. (Iron Eagle, if you don't know that one.) You may even have to save a certain ghost-busting guy after he burned down a library trying to catch a specter.
And how do you win cases? By depleting the prosecutor, witnesses and evidence point values before yours are depleted. It's not as complicated as it sounds. You have a certain number of action points each round. Pick a skill value on the left to use on the prosecutor, witness or evidence on the right. Once you're out of attack points, it's their turn to attack you. You have a lot of different ways to attack your opponent's case, and you'll get the hang of it very quickly thanks to the tutorial.
Winning a case earns you cash, which you use to upgrade your apartment, car or dashing good looks. Depending on the item you buy, you'll upgrade your Materialism, Decadence, or Vanity value. The higher they are, the more court techniques you unlock. You also earn gifts from clients from time to time. It's a really simple, and fun, way to upgrade your character.
Speaking of fun, that's exactly what this game is. Fun. The voice work is great, the cartoony graphics are nice, the dialogue is witty, and the challenge is just right. The game feels like a breeze until you get closer to Act III, then things really start picking up. I loved the simple interface, and I couldn't wait to dive into another case just to see who I'd be representing. The game is fun and addicting, which is what an iOS game should be.
I must admit, there isn't a lot to complain about. It can be frustrating at times during the harder cases, but if you don't like how the case is going, pause it and restart the trial. Shame that isn't available in real life, but you won't need to file an appeal when it comes to Devil's Attorney. It's a winner from the first case to the last, and I can't wait for a future update.