Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney, returns for this third series with five new cases where players portray Mia Fey, Wright’s mentor from a past case involving Phoenix. Those who haven’t played the first two series can start with this one without any confusion. Of course, some scenes will have more meaning to those playing the first two in the series. Whether new players will like Phoenix Wright depends on how they feel about interactive stories that require lots of reading.

Each story comes into two parts: The investigation and the trial. During the investigation, players examine scenes, interview characters, move to different locations, and present evidence to prove a point. The stories last for a long time giving players a chance to thoroughly learn a case and pick it apart during the trial to help your client.

The game grows tedious with all the dialogue, but players can’t help but want to reach the truth and get an innocent client off the hook especially since it requires thinking to take the right actions. Object at the wrong time or present the incorrect evidence, and lose points with the judge. When the “health” meter runs out, the judge proclaims your client guilty and the game ends.

The screen shakes whenever a character turns flustered, and this gets very old after a few times. It doesn’t matter if the character feels stressed, mad, aggravated or anxious — shake, shake, shake… enough, enough, enough.

Another frustration point is the constant repetition of scenes when you take the wrong step or missed one. Though you can save the game, there are times when saving won’t make a difference or can’t be sure where to save the game. However, what else can the game do or else it becomes too easy? It might help to let players decide if they want to repeat questioning, present different evidence, or replay a specific section.

On the other hand, the game saves you plenty of work as it automatically enters items into evidence once they enter the story. This doesn’t make the game easy at all as some evidence needs presenting at some point to gain more information as a court record before going to trial. A court record reveals more insight into evidence. You might come across an ID badge, but won’t understand its significance until you present it to someone who can offer more details. The game set up makes it possible for players to focus on figuring out the meaning of the evidence and piecing together the story.

When it comes trial time, every witness presents testimony and then you — as Phoenix Wright or Mia Fey — conducts cross-examinations to discover gaps and lies. During the cross-examination, the witness will repeat each line — one-by-one — to give you a chance to object, press for more information, present evidence that contradicts the witness’ statement, or let it go. A standard statement appears with each response, such as “Hold it!” when pressing or “Take that!” when presenting evidence. This also adds to the tediousness of the game. You can also use your voice in objections, but it’s not required — thankfully. A person with imperfect speech — like this writer — might struggle to be heard correctly.

Two spirit healers accompany Phoenix. One is Maya, Mia Fey’s younger sister, and the other is Pearl Fey, their cousin. Pearl easily gets on your nerves like a kid sister while Maya’s immaturity can grate at times. Nevertheless, the girls have good moments when they come shining through. This says a lot about the game’s characters and their uniqueness. It would help to have another likeable character or two — like Mia Fey — that don’t annoy players in the next edition.

Since Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations involves logical thinking and a good eye, it should attract players who prefer Nintendo’s Touch! Generation games such as Big Brain Academy, Picross DS, and Touchmaster. Like those, this one is easy to learn and use especially since a tutorial helps players get familiar with the interface.

Using sharp anime-style images and animation, the game presents everything with a first person perspective making players feel part of the action. After successfully winning all five cases, there may be little motivation to play the cases again. Thankfully, they last a long time making the game worth its value. Though Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations receives a few objections over its annoyances, it’s guilty of being entertaining, humorous, and getting players to use their brains. Those who want to be lawyers someday or watch TV shows like Perry Mason, Matlock, Boston Legal, or Law and Order will enjoy the playing the role without cracking open a law book.

The ESRB rating for this game is T (Teen) for Mild Blood, Mild Violence.

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Series


Cooking Mama 2 Coming Soon

DS Fanboy reports Cooking Mama gets a sequel, Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends, the new release comes with 80 new recipes and 150 cooking procedures (holy macaroni!).

I’ve played Cooking Mama and it’s a unique game. One task I kept messing up was the blowing. Forgot that the DS has the volume thing and blowing qualifies.


Pogo Island Nintendo DS Review

Pogo fans will recognize Pogo Island, a game that blends five popular Pogo games with an adventure. Pogo Island consists of Poppit!, Word Whomp, Phlinx, Tri-Peaks Solitaire, and Squelchies. You can play these games individually through the Quick Play option or go on an adventure as Perry the Parrot Captain.

As Captain Perry Parrot, the player works to reunite with the mascots and earn supplies to repair the boat to sail away from the island. The five Pogo games adopt an island look-and-feel to fit in with the story.

Micro-games appear throughout the adventure to help players collect the needed tools to fix the boat. Players earn ranks so they can work their way up from Explorer to Island Guru. They also work hard for the tokens, which players can transfer to their accounts if they have wireless set up on the Nintendo DS for connecting to the Internet. Pogo Island awards badges when players reach milestones like “Win 5 games of Phlinx.”

The mini-versions of Pogo’s popular games translate well on the small screen. However, the game didn’t provide instructions every time a player encountered a game for the first time. Not everyone has played all the games and micro-games on

It’s standard for Nintendo DS games to provide Help the first time players play a game. Players can access the Help or tutorial anytime from the main menu. However, the micro-game instructions don’t appear in the Help. Not all micro-games are obvious that anyone can figure them out without help.

An eight-year-old took interest in Pogo Island and chose to play it over the latest greatest game he recently purchased. However, he became understandably frustrated with the All Aboard, a dull slingshot micro-game. In fact, the micro-games were more of a nuisance than fun to play.

The adventure game starts easy and gets harder as players advance. Game favorites are Poppit! and Tri-Solitaire. Least favorite, Squelchies, doesn’t work well with the double-screen since it’s difficult to tell the color of the Squelchies appearing in the edge of the screens. Phlinx took a little warming up, but it didn’t take long to turn into an addicting game. Word puzzle fans will like Word Whomp.

Fans of multi-player gaming can choose between Party Play and Multi-Card Play. Four players can join in the fun in Party Play mode. Each takes a turn playing the game on the same console. Two players can play in Multi-Card mode, but it requires having a wireless connection and both consoles loaded with Pogo Island. Only Word Whomp is available in Multi-Card mode.

Pogo Island should make fans of the five games happy now that they can take with them. If the micro-games annoy, just skip Adventure Mode and play Quick Player or Party Play mode.

Buy Pogo Island.