Nintendo’s 3DS has a large amount of games that have gained a sort of cult following. Two of these are the Phoenix Wright series and the Professor Layton series. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney places you in the shoes of defense attorney Phoenix Wright as he tries to get a Not Guilty verdict for his clients. There are quite a few games in the series, including a spin off based off of prosecutor Miles Edgeworth and a sequel of sorts with a new defense attorney. The game requires you to question people, gain evidence by examining locations, and is a fun logic game with an extremely colorful cast. The
Professor Layton series, on the other hand, feature Hershel Layton, a professor of archaeology and an upstanding gentleman. Him and his assistant Luke go off on wild adventures and solve many puzzles, discovering the mystery of hidden locations and ancient treasures. Both games have very unique art styles; Layton is quite cartoon like while Phoenix Wright has a more dramatic flair to the characters. Seeing them combined in one game was quite an interesting experience itself.
While the art style for the game was a blend of both styles, the actual game was not. Although both games have unique mechanics that work for the universe that they’re set in, this game pulled mainly from Professor Layton. We didn’t get to see the crime scene examination that is prevalent in the Ace Attorney games, instead getting the mini map from the Layton series. Game play switched between Layton and Wright, although the latter mostly took over in the court room. While the main game played very much like a Professor Layton game (albeit an easier one), the court sections of the game added a few new mechanics that kept them interesting. The most interesting of these was the ability to question multiple witnesses at once while they were on the stand. That’s right, multiple people take the witness stand at once, and you get to use their statements to move the game forward. It’s a very interesting new mechanic that is enjoyable the whole time.
The story of the game is enjoyable, and the characters are as quirky as one would expect from a Layton or Wright game. The pun filled names are back (Lettie Mailer the courier is just one of many examples of this), and the feeling that not all is at it appears to be is constant throughout the game. One of the few things that were not included was the spirit medium abilities of Maya Fey, which are teased throughout the game but never shown. In addition, we never get to use the magatama, one of Phoenix’s essential tools in the series. Despite this, the game is extremely enjoyable. It is a must have for fans of either series with one note: there are mentions of suicide. Those who are sensitive to that should be aware of that before playing.