Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law

Attention law-school students who also happen to be Adult Swim fans: Your game has arrived. Everyone outside that niche may only be slightly enthused after playing Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law. Though the game is faithful to the bizarrely clever animated show about the former Hanna-Barbera superhero turned attorney, it's also only slightly more interactive than a dumbed-down Choose Your Own Adventure book, and a very brief one at that.

In Harvey Birdman's five cases (which range from determining who burned down Harvey's house to finding out who ransacked Harvey's office), you'll be tasked with collecting evidence, conversing with suspects and coworkers, and finally going to court. That's where the only real game mechanics come into play, as players press suspects whose testimony hints at something incriminating, and present evidence that refutes or backs up their statements. Make a misstep, and you'll lose a crest—the source of Birdman's powers—and if you lose all five crests, it's game over. It all largely mirrors Capcom's Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series, though Harvey Birdman is obviously funnier. But what other game will have you peruse prawn pornography for evidence, or instruct you to present proof "that Harvey is entitled to the insurance money"?


Beyond the game: The game offers players the chance to hear not one, but two Stephen Colbert impersonators, since Colbert himself was too busy to reprise his Harvey Birdman voices here. The actor playing obsessive-compulsive/paranoid prosecutor Myron Reducto is passable, but the replacement voice of Sebben & Sebben law-firm president/co-founder Phil Ken Sebben is downright awkward.

Worth playing for: Unlike many games that attempt humor, Harvey Birdman has some truly funny moments, like when you can opt to have Birdman listen to a pair of boxers for clues.

Frustration sets in when: You realize the game is nothing more than a series of menus that trigger cutscenes. Also, collecting evidence—always without a warrant—borrows a page from point-and-click adventure games: Pick up all items that aren't bolted down then sort out their relevance later.

Final judgment: A decent rental, but not a wise investment.