Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law Review

There comes a time in everyone’s gaming career when they are compelled to sit down and play a throwback adventure game about a superhero-gone-civilian attorney who constantly ends up accepting cases to which he has some sort of intimate connection. For me, that time is today, and that game is Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law for the PSP.

This “game” is based off of the Adult Swim cartoon of the same name (which I had never heard of until now), and borrows its play style from the popular Phoenix Wright series, also published by Capcom. I might hesitate to actually classify Birdman as a game, however, because it feels more like a collection of cartoon episodes, prodded along by a little bit of player interaction.

The narrative is very linear; players are only responsible for clicking on everything clickable on their way from point A to point B. There is some free will in choosing which area to visit next, but unless actions are completed in a particular sequence, the story goes nowhere. Really, most of the experience is comprised of watching cut scenes and adding some feedback when prompted.

Engaging in conversations, gathering evidence, and presenting Harvey’s case are all accomplished via a simple menu system. Episodes follow the general formula of gathering evidence from various people and places, and finishing things off with a courtroom victory (or loss, if you present the wrong evidence at the wrong time). There is little difficulty in winning these cases, though, as long as the player is attentive to what’s going on. The clues are all there, and are relatively transparent.

It all works, though. The game is actually quite enjoyable, even if it boils down to just riding out the story (which I guess makes sense for a TV-to-videogame adaptation). The writing is excellent, and pokes fun at itself, Capcom, and anything else it has the opportunity to joke on (be sure to pay attention to the episode-ending credits). It is sure to squeeze at least a few laughs out of whoever gives it a spin.

The acting is top-notch. Most of the cast comes directly from the TV show, and they deliver as solid a performance as a gamer could ask for. Combine that with vibrant and detailed cartoon animations, and Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law turns out to be quite a sharp little production. Fans of the show, especially, should eat it up.

I’d recommend a rental of Harvey Birdman, mostly due to its very short length (4 hours or so) and its utter lack of replay value (the few unlockables are almost nominal). Although it is the gameplay department is just about absent in this one, it is still very entertaining, thanks to a colorful cast and great writing.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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