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Visual Novel / My Little Investigations

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Ace Attorney Investigations meets My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

My Little Investigations is a cancelled fan game starring the cast of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, with gameplay in the style of the Ace Attorney spin-off series Ace Attorney Investigations, which started as a project by the YouTube user GabuEx, now the leader of the group Equestrian Dreamers.

Like the game it's based on, My Little Investigations was planned to tell a story across four to five chapters with Twilight Sparkle as the main character, following her investigations of a series of crimes that are taking place in Ponyville. While each chapter would have been mostly self-contained, there would have been a common thread linking the chapters together for the conclusion.

The first and only completed case can be downloaded here.

My Little Investigations provides examples of:

  • Always Murder: Averted. GabuEx has stated that none of the cases would have involved murder.
  • An Aesop: Two, in Chapter 1.
    • Be honest about your wrongdoings; true friends will forgive you.
    • The best way to put an end to cruelty is to show it kindness.
  • Animation Bump: Most of the game has limited animation, but Twilight's accusation gesture is given the full treatment, as is the culprit's Epic Freak Out.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Apparently, when the CMC tried to get Cutie Marks in interpretive dancing, they set a tiger loose, Rarity's mane was on fire, and Opalescence was stuck in a tree.
  • Bad Liar: All three CMC are bad liars. Especially their 'on break' lie.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Pinkie Pie explains the mechanics of the game, she talks about game mechanics that make no sense in-universe and directly addresses (and refers to) the audience.
  • Call-Back: The balls Pinkie Pie set up around town in case of ball emergencies are brought up. Pinkie Pie's Pinkie Promise is also brought up once more.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: As part of the "honesty is the best policy" lesson presented in the first story, Twilight writes that if everypony had been more open and trusting of each other, the case would have been solved much more quickly. In fact, there wouldn't even be a case if the thieves had just asked Rarity for the gem in the first place.
  • Dead Fic: Starting February 2017, no update on the progress of the game was made until April 2019... and to the dismay of many people, it was an announcement of the project's cancellation.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Twilight as usual. Possibly more so than usual.
    • Anyone you're interrogating or confronting, if you screw up.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Twilight lampshades this, pointing out her exploits — particularly the ones that could have been prevented, or at least made simpler, if ponies had listened to her — and then asking (loudly) why nopony listens to her, even after all that. Rarity gives this a Hand Wave by suggesting ponies probably just think she's due to be wrong after being right so much.
  • Epic Fail:
    • Everything the Canterlot Investigation Team does. Last time they were in Ponyville, they accused Derpy of "Grand Theft Muffin", implicated Pinkie Pie in a dragon egg smuggling ring, etc. This time, they fail at taking a train. A train that only has two stops.
    • Also, Sweetie Belle somehow managed to make a picture of Winona... and never realize she painted a pony instead of a dog.
  • First-Person Smartass: Twilight, as is usual for Ace Attorney protagonists.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: Pinkie Pie is given this attribute, common to her in fanon, so that she can do the tutorial. She says she has a "walkthrough"; Twilight has no idea what that means.
  • Genius Ditz: Discussed; Twilight is flabbergasted by the Diamond Dogs' keen and frequent understanding of legal procedures, such as demanding she produces a search warrant before she starts investigating their caves, that she can't help but point it out internally. Their fascination with shiny things shows they're still otherwise the same old dull-witted dogs.
    • Also, Sweetie Belle, who made the CMC capes with a deeper meaning behind them, but otherwise seems to be quite scatterbrained.
  • Hand Wave: You'd think Twilight of all ponies would be able to get others to trust and believe her, but nope; that'd make the game way too simple and boring, so it gets explained away by Rarity that the ponies probably think Twilight's just due to be wrong sooner or later after being right so much. Though whether this is the case or just Rarity's suggestion is up in the air.
  • Hey, You!: None of the Diamond Dogs are addressed by proper name in the story, Twilight only referring to them as, well, dogs. Only their name tags in the dialogue bubbles distinguish them as such. Possibly justified as they never formally introduced themselves in their prior outing with the ponies.
  • I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You!: During the confrontation with Scootaloo, if you have Twilight press for info about the CMC's comedy routine practice, Sweetie Belle eventually pops in to say how there's no way she'll tell Twilight she made the costumes for the performance.
  • Informed Ability: Played with in Rarity's case. Her partner profile says she can sweet-talk anyone to get her way, but when interacting with the Diamond Dogs, she's yelling and insulting them a lot. She does, however, sweet-talk the Mayor into issuing a search warrant.
  • Informed Flaw: Sweetie Belle is described in-game as "not the brightest" of the CMC, but it isn't very apparent in-story. She even hides a homage of the eternal struggle between free market and socialist values in her CMC cape design to symbolize harmony.
  • Jumped at the Call: Twilight is so determined to prove herself a capable investigator that she wastes no time trying to crack the case on her own. While she does manage with what little professional experience she has, this leaves her underprepared for any legal procedures she must undergo.
  • Lampshade Hanging: There's the occasional nod to game mechanics that make no sense in-universe, like Twilight wondering why she's carrying around a picture of the Diamond Dogs.
  • Lighter and Softer: When compared to the Ace Attorney series due to averting Always Murder. And because most of the characters are so nice. Chapter 1 takes quite a bit of setting up to make a situation where they will actually lie to you.
  • Literal-Minded: Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle promised Scootaloo to not let anyone that's not a CMC into the clubhouse. So Apple Bloom makes Twilight an honorary CMC.
    • Twilight herself at one point while pressing the real culprit.
    Rover: In case the pony hadn't noticed, we have gems coming out of our ears in these caves!
    Twilight: You expect me to believe that? Why, you don't have ANY gems in your ears at all!
  • Lying to the Perp: A variation. Twilight lies to Rarity by making it seem like she knows more than she really does to get Rarity to stop hiding information.
  • Oh, My Gods!: As is usual for FiM fan works (and the show itself to a degree), anytime the word "god" would show up in a common phrase, it's replaced with "Celestia".
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Rarity and Sweetie Belle, both voiced by the same actress, sound Dutch more often than not.
  • Police Are Useless: The Canterlot investigative team called in to solve the case in Ponyville are very incompetent, and everyone in Ponyville knows it; for instance, they once implicated Pinkie Pie in a dragon egg smuggling ring that didn't even exist. All the more reason for Twilight to crack the case before they do. At the end of the first chapter, they finally arrive nowhere near Ponyville; an astounding feat, considering the Ponyville train line only has two stops, and one of them is in the town proper.
  • Race Against the Clock: Twilight only has a few days — and later just one day — to solve the first case before the investigative team from Canterlot arrives. And judging how they once spent Celestia knows how long searching for a "missing" baby that was safely hiding in a closet, she and her friends have every reason to panic.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: For all her incompetence and initial aversion to the idea, Mayor Mare is willing to make Twilight an official Ponyville Investigator after Twilight proves herself.
  • Reset Button: If you fail a confrontation, choosing to try again essentially causes this by starting it over with no acknowledgement of it happening besides an internal comment from Twilight.
  • Reverse Who Dunnit: The very first cutscene of the game shows the silhouettes of the culprits, and you spend the entire first case just trying to prove it so Scootaloo doesn't get the blame.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: A heroic example. Being the mayor of a town that has no police force, the Mayor comes to the realization that she has the authority to bend the law in that field, and uses "the power vested in [her]" to make Twilight a temporary investigator so she can be given a search warrant, just like that. She also takes on declaring the verdict for the accused party in the end, despite not being a judge.
  • Sequel Hook: Case 2 would've involved Trixie Lulamoon in some fashion, but alas...
  • Sexophone: When Rarity tries to "...sort things out, if you catch my drift" with the Diamond Dogs' guard dog, the soundtrack briefly switches to a saxophone melody.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Slacker: The Mayor does anything but actual work when at her office. That's not to say she's incompetent, though.
  • Spanner in the Works: Scootaloo serves as this for the thieves' plan, as her chance appearance startles them into making a hasty retreat when they steal the True Blue, leaving behind the evidence needed to implicate them. Opalescence also fulfills this role, her hair and bow leaving a trail to the culprits.
  • Taught by Television: Twilight apparently learned all of her investigative skills through mystery novels.
  • Terror Hero: The Diamond Dogs see Rarity as this, her mere presence triggering unwanted memories of their last encounter. The whole reason why they try to steal the True Blue in the dead of night, rather than take it by force as they normally would, is so they won't have to deal with her.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Diamond Dogs are substantially more competent in this game and prove rather challenging adversaries to Twilight, especially Rover.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: Twilight writes in her friendship report at the end of the first chapter that repaying cruelty with kindness is the most effective way to catch someone off guard. Rarity demonstrates this by letting the Diamond Dogs keep the True Blue when she learns it originally belonged to them and were just trying to get it back.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Well, not exactly villainous in this case, but there's a "breakdown animation" near the end of the case. Rover starts screaming, causing gems to fall down from the ceiling of the cave. Fido and Spot run away, leaving Rover standing there getting hit by gems. Finally, a larger gem than the others crashes down on Rover's head, causing him to fall over.
  • "Yes"/"No" Answer Interpretation: When Apple Bloom doesn't look convinced at Twilight Sparkle's promise not to tell anyone what she just told her, she promises it with a Pinkie Pie swear from the show: "Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye." The response this gets is, "That a yes?"
  • You Just Told Me: Appears word for word in Twilight's thoughts once she realizes Apple Bloom's hiding something.
    Apple Bloom: Why would you think I'm not telling you something, huh?
    Twilight (thinking): Because you just told me that you're not.
  • "You!" Squared: Rarity and Rover the Diamond Dog have this exchange for quite a bit when they first meet in-game.