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Video Game / Aviary Attorney

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"It's like Phoenix Wright if Phoenix was a kind of bird.

Wait a second..."
Steam user review.

Aviary Attorney is an Adventure Game about 19th-century Parisian lawyers…who happen to be birds. The game's art is based on the lithographs of 19th-century French artist J.J. Grandville, who was known for his caricatures of anthropomorphic animals. The soundtrack consists of music by Camille Saint-Saëns and some of his contemporaries (including Georges Bizet and Charles Gounod), prominently featuring several selections from Carnival of the Animals.

Gameplay is similar to that of the Ace Attorney series: you guide defense attorney Jayjay Falcon and his assistant Sparrowson through investigations of crime scenes and conversations with witnesses, gathering evidence that you can use while cross-examining witnesses in a trial phase.

Developed by newly-formed British team Sketchy Logic, Aviary Attorney was funded by a 2014-15 Kickstarter campaign and released on Steam in December 2015.

Aviary Attorney contains examples of:

  • Affably Evil: The first villain is actually quite lighthearted and even charming about their plots and misdeeds, only turning desperate when cornered. The others... not so much.
  • Alliterative Title
  • Amoral Attorney: Averted with both Falcon and Cocorico, each of whom mentions in Act 2 that he's more interested in finding the truth than winning the case. Judge Romulus calls them "moralizing blowhards" for this.
  • Anachronism Stew: Trouvé's explorer-extractor device is actually a real thing. Except that it was invented decades after the events of the game, in 1874.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Since the game is set around the 2nd French Revolution, this becomes an important theme.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Discussed when Sparrowson confuses the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel for its more famous sister, the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile:
    Falcon: ...when a man like Napoleon invades half of Europe, he gets to build as many triumphal arches as he damn well pleases.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Seigneur Purrtoir set out to hire the best lawyers in town to defend his daughter — but they weren't available at such short notice, so he hired Falcon and Sparrowson because "Aviary Attorney" was first in the directory.
  • Been There, Shaped History: No matter what you do, Falcon and Sparrowson play a key part in how the French Revolution of 1848 unfolds. In the Golden Ending, you can even ensure the revolution unfolds without a single casualty apart from that of the conspirators who seek to ensure it turns violent.
  • Big Bad: Leonie Beaumont, the Rebel Leader and final prosecutor. Aside from her, there is also mention of the mysterious Viridian Killer. The Viridian Killer is actually two people, Judge Romulus and Frère Remus, and they’re manipulating Beaumont to seize power for themselves. There’s also Dame Caterline Demiaou, who is actually the culprit of the first case. She and the Viridian Killers are the game’s only culprits.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Sparrowson is the hero of the second day of the trial in Act 2-he proves the chocolate was poison, he brings a surprise witness and he shows up in exactly the nick of time-after having recovered from being poisoned. The failed law student is the one person who keeps Falcon from suffering two bad endings in a row.
  • But Thou Must!: Mostly averted. Unlike in Ace Attorney, for instance, time keeps moving forward regardless of whether you've seen every scene or picked up every item. In fact, it's possible to avoid getting certain key pieces of evidence, though you can usually progress through the game anyway. Played straight in the first case, however, where you can't leave Château Crinière without going to all the rooms and picking up all the evidence you need, which you will get no matter what you choose in the conversations. In fact, you have to try pretty hard to lose the first case.
  • Chain of Deals: Falcon and Jayjay do this to help Trouvé complete his invention. Or you can just fork over some cash and buy the items you need, however they will be fairly expensive. Whichever you decide to do, Trouvé will wonder why you did all that work/spent all that money when there was a store just down the street from his workshop selling the items for cheap. Falcon is not amused.
  • Dark Secret: Falcon seems to have one in his past, and even changed his name at one point. Volerti suspects him of being the Viridian Killer, but Falcon really just wanted to hide the fact that he's Robespierre's grandson.
  • Downer Beginning: The first case has no happy ending. Either you prove your client innocent and she reveals she was guilty all along or you fail and Falcon laments letting an innocent person be executed and never finds out she was guilty. Either way, the case causes an Achilles in His Tent moment to begin the next case. Depending on how the following two cases go, Falcon can either bounce back from this, or it can be the start of his descent into the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Expy: Séverin Cocorico, the pompous rooster prosecutor and old acquaintance of Falcon's who enjoys belittling him, parallels Miles Edgeworth in several ways.
    Cocorico: When I was fresh out of law school, I thought my role as a prosecutor was to condemn every potential criminal that came my way. I thought, "if the guilty person ends up behind bars or on the hanging dock, then justice has been served." But as I gained experience, I started noticing the details. […] So I changed my role. I decided that I should not strive to secure a guilty verdict, but to ensure that justice is served.
    • Juste Velorti is a clear analogue to Inspector Javert, being a justice-obsessed bird who doesn't distinguish "law" from "right" and is single-minded in his pursuit of rebels and the Viridian Killer.
  • Foreign Cuss Word:
    • If the player selects one of the poor-bedside-manner conversation options, Falcon gets called a fils de pute (son of a bitch).
    • At one point, Sparrowson observes that they'll be in deep merde if anybody realizes they're bending the truth.
  • Foreshadowing: When Inspector Volerti mentions the Viridian Killer during the first case, it's easy to assume he's simply rambling irrelevant details when he's supposed to be testifying. Turns out the mystery of the Viridian Killer's identity plays a huge role in the latter half of the game. The fact that Romulus and Remus write with green ink is also a subtle clue to the fact that they were the Viridian Killer.
  • Furry Confusion: Non-anthropomorphic animals do also exist, such as the fish that Kingly catches. There are also normal horses, as evidenced by Baron Rorgueil's horse statues and Cocorico's riding crop. Additionally, two major characters are chickens but chicken is also mentioned as food.
  • Golden Ending: 4B, "Égalité". The king escapes, the conspirators are the only casualties of the revolution, and their plot to turn it violent is foiled. Cocorico and Volerti vow to make up for their past misdeeds, and Beaumort plays an important part in the Second Republic. Paris is at peace, for now.
  • Good Lawyers, Good Clients: Averted in the first case, where it turns out the defendant was actually guilty and the "evidence" of her innocence was a coincidence.
  • Hanging Judge: We don't see what Judge Romulus is like as a judge in any case where he isn't the murderer but in that case he's beyond nasty, sniping that cross-examination is a waste of time, insulting different characters, and oh yes pushing the judge who was supposed to take the case, as well as one of the attorneys, into the river Seine, where he expects the attorney will die.
  • Heads or Tails?: Sparrowson flips a coin to determine which out of him or Falcon has to wade into a fountain to retrieve evidence (and rigs the toss to make sure it's not him).
  • Historical Domain Character: Louis Philippe, the king of France, appears in the game (as a penguin), as does his prime minister François Guizot (who looks like a vulture of some sort).
    • In addition, French inventor Gustave Trouvé appears in the game (as a breed of dog), and one of his inventions ends up being a key piece of evidence in the third trial.
  • Historical Character's Fictional Relative: Jayjay Falcon is identified as the grandson of Maximilien Robespierre.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Characters use expressions like "let the opportunity slip through our feathers" (although that one's a bit odd, because actually the bird characters have human-looking hands, not Feather Fingers).
  • Hurricane of Puns: A staple of Sparrowson's humor.
    Falcon: This is a picture of a fence.
    Sparrowson: It's a fencey photograph. It leaves the viewer defenseless. Out of all the pictures here, I would picket as my favorite.
    Sparrowson: Okay, I'm done. No more fence puns.
  • Insistent Terminology: Toussaint, the kingfisher, is sensitive about being called a "fisherman", even though that's his job. He insists on being referred to as a "person who fishes".
    Toussaint: Here comes Toussaint Kingly, the kingfisher. CLEARLY he must be a fisherman. Because — didn't you hear — ALL kingfishers are fishermen!
  • Inspector Javert: Inspector Volerti is single-mindedly searching for the "Viridian Killer", sometimes to the detriment of the other aspects of his job. In Act 4A, we learn that he set up the investigation in Act 3 as a test for Falcon, to see if he would reveal himself as the Viridian Killer. That this means the probable death of a valorous man he ignores, though if said man lives you find him soused to the dewlaps and regretting everything.
    • Severin Cocorico was this in his younger years, before experience showed him not every case was a simple matter of black and white. Since then he's worked to atone for his actions, which resulted in harsh and unjust sentences for people like Beaumort's father, who died in prison for stealing produce so she could survive the winter.
  • Karma Houdini: Caterline Demiaou, in every ending except 4A. Masterminds Romulus and Remus also achieve their goals in every ending except 4B, though 4C sees Remus shoot himself to ensure the revolution turns bloody as planned, and sees an injured Romulus captured and imprisoned, so neither actually benefits.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Averted, unlike the Ace Attorney series. The one time you do have the option of breaking into a building to obtain evidence, Falcon specifically points out that it can't be used in court because it was obtained illegally, and it doesn't tell you anything you couldn't figure out easily without it, anyway.
  • Leitmotif: Based on well-known pieces of classical music, no less.
    • The lion, donkey, kangaroo, and elephant characters get their respective themes from Carnival of the Animals as leitmotifs.
    • The theme of Juste Volerti, the police inspector, comes from the Symphonie Funèbre et Triomphale by Berlioz.
    • Cocorico's theme is based on the Gaillarde from Leo Delibes' incidental music to Victor Hugo's play Le roi s'amuse.
    • Léonie Beaumort's theme is the "Libera me" from the Fauré Requiem.
    • The client in Act 2, Spanish prince Juan Querido, has the "Aragonaise" from Carmen. The flower-selling swan in the same case has the Carmen Intermezzo as her theme.
    • Renard Vulpes's theme comes from the opening of Charles Tournemire's Moscow Symphony.
    • Tchaikovsky's Marche Slave is the theme of the wolves.
    • Several minor characters share Gounod's "Funeral March of a Marionette" as a theme.
    • Trial scenes have background music based on the Bacchanale from Saint-Saëns' Samson and Delilah.
  • Meaningful Echo: In Act 4A, you return to the garden of Château Crinière. Sparrowson makes horse puns when you investigate the horse statues, just like he did the first time. Except that this time, Falcon isn't there…
    Sparrowson: This statue is in-neigh-tly beautiful. Wouldn't you say, Falcon?
  • Meaningful Name: Most character names are references to the animal. Special mention goes to Renard Vulpes, which is French and then Latin for fox.
  • Multiple Endings: Depending on your choices in Act 3, you can play one of three completely different chapter 4s, aptly named after France's national motto: "4A (Liberté)", "4B (Égalité)", or "4C (Fraternité)".
  • Murder by Mistake: In the second case, an assassination attempt on King Louis Philippe kills Major Howl, one of the royal guards, instead.
  • The Perry Mason Method: Played with. The first act plays out like a typical Ace Attorney case, except that you find out afterwards — despite all the clues clicking neatly into place, and an antagonistic figure incriminating himself in a fit of anger — that your client really was the murderer all along. In the second act, it turns out that the judge is responsible. And in the third act, Falcon is almost right when he bets that the real murderer is somewhere in the room — the murderer is, in fact, right outside.
  • Player Nudge: If you run out of investigative time in Act 3 and don't have all the evidence you need to save Cocorico from the rebels, before you head to the catacombs, Falcon will have the gut feeling that he's either dead or beyond help. He's right: you can continue, but you can't save him and therefore you're locked out of the Golden Ending. If you have all you need to find him Not Guilty, Falcon will instead say that it's about time to go rescue his friend.
  • Predators Are Mean: Predators are thought to have a particular ambitious and bloodthirsty streak, though whether they do and if so what they do about it definitely depends on the individual.
  • Pungeon Master: Falcon is often groaning at Sparrowson's puns.
    Sparrowson: Don't worry. If everything goes wrong in the trial we could always just…wing it.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: It's Phoenix Wright in an alternate 19th-century France where everyone's some kind of animal!
  • Red Herring: Not every item that ends up in your evidence folder is actually useful, including the literal red herring from Baron Rorgueil's dinner in the first case. Falcon will Lampshade this if you present it:
    Falcon: Yes. I wish to closely examine and question the piece of evidence that is overtly labeled as a red herring.
  • Running Gag: Falcon getting wet, Falcon oversleeping, and Sparrowson being obsessed with food and puns.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: As part of the game's "braided" Story Branching structure, some events will happen no matter what, with the details based on your earlier decisions.
    • No matter the outcome of the trial in Act 1, Act 2 starts with Falcon having spent the entire weekend drinking at Le Canard Joyeux. If he lost, he's depressed because he lost. But he's still depressed even if he won because the real murderer was declared not guilty thanks to his actions and an innocent man will be put to death for their crimes.
    • Someone will interrupt the trial in Act 4A or 4B by blowing up the courthouse, but it will be a different person depending on which route you're playing.
  • Script Breaking: One scene where Sparrowson eats a chocolate wrapper to see if it's poisoned will happen exactly the same way even if you didn't pick up the piece of evidence it involves.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To a certain Running Gag from the Ace Attorney series:
      Falcon: This appears to be a photograph of a ladder. Symbolic of climbing towards success, perhaps?
      Sparrowson: It looks more like a step-ladder to me.
      Falcon: Oh, no. We're not getting into that old argument.
    • To Les Misérables:
      Falcon: I'm not going to lie to you, Sparrowson. If we're caught, we will be spending the next twenty years with a number instead of a name.
      Sparrowson: I call 24601.
    • While impersonating a policeman, Sparrowson claims that he's new in town, just transferred from Marseilles Vice.
    • During the same impersonation, Sparrowson gets to say, "Book 'em, birdo."
    • While introducing himself in court, the artist Robinio declares, "Tu es une pipe."
    • To James Bond:
      Beaumort: …but now I find out that you're some sort of spy.
      Sparrowson: I…I am like a spy, aren't I? The name's Sparrowson. Sparrowson Sparrowson. License to practice law for the immediate future.
    • To an April Fool's Day post on the developers' blog, in which they "announced" that they were going to produce a game called Axolotl Accountancy instead of Aviary Attorney:
      Judge Maxime: When I awoke, I had a mild case of amnesia. I thought I was an axolotl accountant!
    • To Episode IV of Star Wars:
      Beaumort: ...You look a little short for an interrogation specialist.
    • The characters Romulus and Remus are named after the characters from Roman mythology.
  • Species Surname: Not every character, but plenty of them. We've got Catherine-Marie Cygne the swan, Reynard Vulpes the fox, Monsieur Grenwee (sounds like grenouille) the frog, and the title character Jayjay Falcon (though he changed his name from "Robespierre"). Other characters' names are based on, but not identical to, their species names: Eric Porc the porcupine, Rupert Rabbington the rabbit, and Sparrowson the…sparrow. Then there's Séverin Cocorico the rooster, and the Demiaou family (who are cats).
  • Sticky Fingers: In the first case, the housemaid has a thieving habit that's grown to the point where her employer's entire silverware collection has gone missing.
  • The Stoic: Cocorico, who makes fun of Falcon at one point for not being able to put up a "stoic façade" to hide his nervousness in court. And when he's captured by the rebels, Cocorico refuses to speak — even under torture — for many hours. The rebels don't even know his name until after Falcon and Sparrowson show up.
  • Story Branching: You don't automatically lose the game if you get a guilty verdict, but it affects other things.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • The court proceedings are considerably closer to a real-world trial by jury than the dramatic Japanese-court-inspired inquisitorial trials used in the Ace Attorney games, which make take AA veterans by surprise.
    • While the studio photograph found in Act 1's case hints towards the resolution to the case, it can't be directly used as evidence because it was obtained illegally (i.e. because Falcon and Sparrowson broke into Monsieur Robino's studio and took it).
  • Take That!: Act 2 has Sparrowson claiming that people who write in green are always dastardly villains. Just what could he be >Implying by that, hm?
    • The United States gets hit with a few of these.
      • If you press one witness's statement about distances, Falcon will go off on a tangent about the metric system, leading to this exchange:
        Judge Maxime: MONSIEUR FALCON! Is this going anywhere?
        Falcon: Yes, your honor. The metric system is going towards a unified system of measurements for the entire world.
        Sparrowson: Assuming those stubborn-ass Americans don't drop the ball, that is.
      • Falcon calls out Cocorico for unfairness:
        Falcon: What is this, a witch trial?! This isn't America, Severin! That's not how we do things here!
    • The game's official twitter points out that Falcon objects in a way that is consistent with legal proceedings.
    Unlike SOME lawyers. Not mentioning any names. Phoenix.
  • Taking the Heat: In the second case. Renard Vulpes disguises himself as a Spanish prince and makes it look like he attempted to murder the king in order to save Cygne, who was forced into the assassination attempt by Judge Romulus.
  • Thanatos Gambit: In Act 4C, Remus talks Officer Beck into firing on the crowd if he hears a gunshot so that the revolution will turn bloody regardless of whether Beaumort kills Inspector Volerti or she kills Remus for having set her up. And if neither happens, he shoots himself to ensure the same outcome.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Romulus and Remus plan to goad Beaumort into a violent revolution rather than a peaceful one so that they'll be able to seize power in the ensuing chaos.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: They call her Madame Beaumort, not Mademoiselle. The mistake is made so frequently that she's probably quite young.
  • Vigilante Man: Jayjay himself becomes one in Act 4A, killing Caterline Demiaou and challenging Inspector Volerti to a duel for his involvement in Severin Cocorico's death.
  • Wham Line: In Act 4B:
    Judge Maxime: [To Falcon] Show me what the grandson of Maximilien Robespierre is capable of.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: To one of the cases in the first Ace Attorney game, in the latter part of Act 3 : you're defending a prosecutor, your rival, who's been framed for shooting someone, against a prosecutor who's controlling the entire flow of the trial. You even get to cross-examine a parrot, though it's much less surprising in this case. The resolution of the case scores extra similarity points when the murderer is unmasked because there's a bullet in his shoulder, which is revealed by a metal detector. However, the particular details of the case still manage to be fairly different from Turnabout Goodbyes.
    • This is followed in two routes by court being interrupted by an explosion in the courthouse, which happens in Dual Destinies from the same series.
  • You Say Tomato: You have the option of doing this if you press a certain statement in the testimony of the rooster Inspector Volerti.
    Volerti: At 10 o'cluck in the morning…
    Falcon: Surely you meant to say 10 o'clock?

Let's make a move!