Published on October 16th, 2017 | by Kirk Hiner0
Apple TV Game Night: Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD
My family doesn’t always do well with game nights. If you’ve got a competitive streak in your family, too, you understand that. Board games can turn bitter, and multiplayer video games can become exercises in frustration when one person wants to collect everything while the other wants to set speed records.
This is not the case with Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD for iOS (pun not intended, but acknowledged and allowed). When we play an Ace Attorney game, we’re all on the same page, we’re all working together, and disagreements/arguments lead to hilarity, not pouting sessions. There are two reasons for this: the way the game is presented and thew way we play it.
Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD is—at its most basic—a visual novel with plenty of puzzle solving. Comprising the first three Ace Attorney titles, this collection tells the story of Phoenix Wright, a young defense attorney making a name for himself in a society where those willing to defend “criminals” are viewed as the bad guy. Phoenix encounters some exceptionally bizarre cases involving even more bizarre (but always charming) characters, and you’ll have to guide him through it all.
Gameplay centers around investing crime scenes for evidence and interviewing witnesses and defendants for details, then presenting it all in court to exploit contradictions and inaccuracies, hopefully leading to a “Not Guilty” verdict. This was all a single-player affair on Nintendo devices, but every single aspect of Ace Attorney is more fun to play through the Apple TV.
There is no tvOS version of Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD, but that’s easily overcome by mirroring the iPhone or iPad screen on your Apple TV. In my case, I then play the game on my iPhone and my family follows along the living room television. Although you can hold the phone vertically to emulate the dual screens of the Nintendo DS, Capcom also provides a horizontal option that does a much better job of filling in your TV screen.
During the investigation segments, we work together to determine where to go next, where to tap to uncover evidence, and what questions we should ask. It’s much the same in the courtroom, where we all have to decide what evidence to present at what time, when we should press a witness, when to object, and when to bluff.
The real fun, however, comes from acting out the individual roles. Dialogue in both segments is written on screen, not voiced in-game, so each of us picks a character (or three) to portray. I’m always the judge…I make a very good judge.
We create voices, we read, and we get as over-the-top as the stories themselves. Bad guys and good guys are charmingly written and fun to voice, and it helps that the dialogue is genuinely funny. Not that “fun for the whole family” type of comedy that really means “not funny at all, but at least inoffensive.” In Phoenix Wright, you and your kids will laugh at the same things for the same reasons.
Although…that does come with an age warning. These are almost always murder cases, after all. And whereas the murders are never fully depicted, there will be blood, dead bodies, plenty of talk about weapons, and a couple ghosts here and there.
It’s nothing worse than you’d find in many PG movies, so if your kids are old enough to read along, they should be old enough to handle the content.
Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD is available in the iTunes App Store for free, but that’ll just get you started on the first case. You can then purchase additional cases individually or get them all for $16.99. The trilogy does contain a cohesive story arc, so if you like that first case and want to continue, you should feel safe picking up the whole thing. When you’re done, Phoenix and the gang (plus many new characters) continue the fun in Phoenix Wright – Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies, Phoenix Wright – Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice, and Apollo Justice – Ace Attorney.