The fate of Paris lies with you.
Aviary Attorney, developed by Sketchy Logic, was originally a crowdfunded Steam game released back in late 2014. Over four years later, it has arrived on the Nintendo Switch as the “Definitive Edition.” Much more of a visual novel than a detective game, Aviary Attorney does a tremendous job creating a story that’s thoroughly engaging.
Set in 1848 Paris, you are cast as JayJay Falcon, an eagle attorney with a poor track record and mysterious past. Along with your assistant Sparrowson (a sparrow, obviously), you defend a number of clients by travelling across Paris to pick up clues in order to find out the true culprit’s identity. Once your time to collect evidence is up, it will be time to defend your client through cross-examination, and naturally the goal is to find your client not guilty.
The trial portion isn't that deep. All it really asks you to do is to scan the witness's statement and point out errors, usually by presenting evidence found while searching through areas. If you collected enough evidence, you can easily set your client free. It’s not all that in-depth, but the story does change later if you fail to gather enough evidence during certain trials.
One of the most striking aspects of Aviary Attorney is its art style, taken from caricatures of JJ Grandville, an artist from around Aviary Attorney’s timeframe. Along with Grandville’s artwork, a large portion of the soundtrack comes from classical French musicians such as Debussy and Chopin. The developer’s usage of these public domain works really adds to Aviary Attorney’s feel as an old-timey detective story.
The strongest part of Aviary Attorney lies within its writing and characters. JayJay Falcon and Sparrowson are a terrific duo and play off each other incredibly well with their well-timed humor. If you like dad jokes, there’s plenty of them here. The story itself, which builds up to the 1848 French Revolution, develops well over time and by the end has done a great job building intrigue over the fate of Paris.
Playing Aviary Attorney won’t take that long. Gathering evidence doesn’t take a lot of time, and the court cases are rather quick, unlike other detective games like Daganronpa or the Ace Attorney series. My first playthrough was completed in a few hours. There are two additional endings based on what happens in the third act, and you can go back and replay the third act once you clear the game.
Aviary Attorney’s clever writing and storytelling are its strongest suit, and is worth playing for that alone. It’s not in-depth as other detective games, but it doesn’t need to be as its other qualities more than make up for some of its shallowness. Aviary Attorney is great for those that want a short, but thoroughly entertaining experience.