Darrel Hardy kindly pointed me to a Gamasutra.com roundup of the major online reviews for the Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law video game. Overall, they’re positive, especially about the writing, for which I’m grateful. They all say roughly the same thing: Funny game, but don’t expect dozens of hours of deep, involved gameplay (as you get in the Phoenix Wright games on which the Birdman mechanics are based).
I think that’s a fair call, as it’s what the team at High Voltage set out to do. In that sense, we hit the target dead center. The reviewers’ scores seem to depend entirely on how much the reviewer wanted Phoenix Wright rather than Birdman.
As a short, snappy comedy, Birdman demands less involved gameplay. While I love the Phoenix Wright games (I’m playing through the third in the series with my son Marty right now), the convoluted mysteries of that game wouldn’t play well with Birdman, each episode of which is only 15 minutes long. I’m biased, of course, but I think the game hits the sweet spot. As the reviews show, though, that’s a matter of personal taste.