Sawbuck Gamer

Devil's Attorney

Sign Of The Cross-Examination

Max McMann of Devil’s Attorney isn’t quite as evil as advertised.

By Ryan Smith • October 25, 2012

He’s called the Devil’s Attorney, but Max McMann hardly feels like he’s doing the law work of Satan. Based on the game’s title, I guessed that the square-jawed star of Devil’s Attorney might operate like Maurice Levy or Saul Goodman, the brazenly corrupt counselors who assist drug dealers in the The Wire and Breaking Bad, respectively. But Max is just a mildly shady defense lawyer with an expensive, tacky taste in interior design and a cocky, chauvinist attitude. In other words, McMann’s more like the smirking bro-ttorneys from Franklin & Bash than Al Pacino’s evil character in The Devil’s Advocate.

Devil’s Attorney defies expectations in other ways. Each trial consists solely of a turn-based card battle against a prosecutor and his “sub-bosses” of witnesses, experts, and evidence. Instead of having to deal with cross-examinations, objectionsm or other normal courtroom procedures, you wield lawyerly named powers like Discredit or Epic Speech to knock down the other side’s stamina. (Judges are a puzzling non-entity.) You accumulate cash when you win a case, which is important so that Max can deck out his rad bachelor pad with gratuitous leather furniture or upgrades for his Ferrari—granting higher Vanity or Decadence ratings and new abilities. Devil’s Attorney is more interested in cleverly satirizing the Reagan era’s shallow self-indulgence and imitating the quip-heavy patter of ’80s sitcoms than providing a context for its Magic The Gathering-style trials, which feel oddly disconnected from the rest of the experience.

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655 Responses to “Sign Of The Cross-Examination”

  1. dmikester says:

    This is a great game with a very surprising amount of depth and strategy once you get to harder levels, and it highly encourages playing through multiple times, which is always great to see in an iOS game.  It also has a cute if simple story with above-average voice acting.  But the big thing not mentioned in the review is the unbelievably terrific music, especially the beginning theme song (yes, it has an over the top cheesy 80s theme song and music video complete with a keytar-wielding singer, and it’s glorious).  It’s almost worth the price of admission just for that song alone.

  2. NarcolepticPanda says:

    Better call Saul!

    That’s all.

  3. Squirrel_Dysfunction says:

    Glad to know commenters like it, but I miss a better-rounded review or the letter scores the AV Club once did.

    • NarcolepticPanda says:

      The Sawbuck Gamer reviews, at least I think, are designed to be less specific. They are posted daily, and are generally more of a Gameological contributor saying “hey, this is a cool cheap game I’ve been playing. Here’s how I would describe it. Sound cool? Well, it’s cheap, try it out!” and those who tried it out give their own quick synopsis. The reviews of full price games are much more detailed. They did take away the letter grading system, which, to be honest, I wish they’d reinstate.

    • Yeah, I had my eye on this title and was looking forward to reading the review, but I really don’t get a sense of if I’d dig this.

      • Side request, anybody playing Knights of Pen & Paper on Android or iOS? :D

        It looks fun, but I’m wary of anything with in-app purchases when it’s already a paid title. (with no lite version, at least on Android)