Aviary Attorney Review – Birds Are The Most Brilliant of Species

Greeting from cloud cuckoo land, I’m your host, Mr. Dave Pizza and I’m the author of this review of Aviary Attorney. The special today is hrmph. So, I’ve been scouring catalogs of games looking for something that suits my current appetite. I’m having a really good run with a few visual novels, but I am hopelessly novice to them.

Yet, I was flipping through lists and it occurred to me I had this one game from last year that I intimidatingly withdrew from out of sincere oversight. The game is good, really good, and I have been getting my feet a bit wet since then in all genres of the land, really wet, like the snow literally melted faster than a snow cone in the desert. Yeah, we got some weird weather, but anyway, I have found a great game to talk to you all about.

Aviary Attorney is an interactive hand-illustrated, historical detective fiction that takes place in the earlier half of the 18th century in France. In it, every single character is an anthropomorphic animal inspired by the caricatures of J.J. Grandville. It is also chock full of jokes.

Aviary Attorney: Bird Lawyers, Of Course!

Technically, Aviary Attorney is more of interactive fiction than a visual novel, but the same elements are there for all. Caption boxes, blipping dialogue bloops, visual eye joy, and a generally directional plot.

Aviary Attorney starts off with an introduction to Holmes and Watson themselves: Falcon and assistant Sparrowson, legalese sleuths. This allegory is almost spot on, and it’s perfect.

In addition to the literary theme, the illustrated characters and locations in the game are grandiose and divine. These images are as well-suited to the story as they are in the real locations they take place in.

I wasn’t totally sure if this was all within the actual city of Paris or if it is similar. It’s not really important to know, but you might ask yourself the same thing when you look at the map.

Aviary Attorney: Who To Trust…

We’re soon aware quickly via post to seek out a lady cat character named Caterline. She has been implicated in a murder, so Falcon and Sparrowson are hired by her father to represent her. She tells the duo that she was at a party which was the location of the incident and tells the circumstances involved.

Amusingly she describes a photographer who takes pictures, which definitely could be evidence. When Falcon asks what a photograph is, Casterline describes it as a box with a hole in which a small bug paints a photorealistic image of what it sees within a few minutes. “Technology is amazing,” says Sparrowson, which totally cracked me up.

There is definitely some humor in this game. I have to say that Sparrowson is probably my very favorite. Yeah, I already love sparrows, but to see Sparrowson as… well… a bird brain! I love it! His lines are gold.

In one conversation during my gameplay, he describes his idea to catalog people he knows in a book with pictures of their faces, descriptions, and information. He calls it “Face Book.” There is also a hilarious moment where he describes a tweet as bird-to-bird communication. Haha.

I Love This

The investigation gameplay that went on in the first act of this game was pretty good. It is important to investigate as much as you possibly can. You’ll be asked to use the evidence you’ve gathered in the courtroom when you are defending your client.

Which is actually pretty fun. I suppose if you were a legal wiz or historicist it might already sound interesting, but it is very thrilling to make an educated exhibition of your evidence in this game. It’s kind of on this tightrope walk of contemplating if you know where your line of questioning is going with knowing which responses or rebuttals you may make. It’s not impossible to slip up. It simply affects the story though as far as I can tell.

It’s Good, I Rest My Case

There’s really no need for a walkthrough in this game, because it is fun enough to play the game however you want, and I enjoyed that. I did not manage to play every option there was, but if you enjoy a game, replay value can be nice.

Supposedly this game might have its roots in a game called Ace Attorney, but from what I’ve seen this is a totally different “beast.” (or fowl)

I will not spoil anything for you in the event you decide to check it out. But it is worth multitudes, it is a masterpiece, and it’s worth whatever your time if you want to investigate crimes with hilarious antique bird lawyer characters.

If you enjoyed this review, please stop back again, I frequently update. And thanks for reading MrDavePizza.com. Have a look around!

Henchman Story – These Devs Are Strange and Hilarious

I’ve been trying to give visual novels a place in my catalog. It’s a fun game style that is conducive to some good storytelling. Incidentally, I keep finding more and more edgy but good-natured humor in them. Pick a theme and go, that’s where I’d like to see these go. Most of these games are also tagged as dating sims. But that is pretty much secondary to my interest in them, however, it may interest you! Today I’ll be looking at the visual novel Henchman.

Most of the visual novels out there are also anime, not sure why. But the more recent cartoony/comic style of games that are appearing are much more intriguing to me, and that is how I stumbled upon…

Henchman Story is a cartoony comedy visual novel about life as a henchman for a supervillain named Lord Bedlam. You’ll live life within the ranks of other henchmen in dorm-style accommodations within the secret hideout or out in the field, holding your ground against superheroes who want to foil Lord Bedlam’s operations.

Henchman Studies 101

This is not an amateur attempt. It is certainly indie, but the design is a 2D comic-style class act, narrated by a cast of character actors, and a pretty fleshed-out storyline.

The main character Stan is a slightly more than low-grade henchman that you’ll interact with in the world as. Most of the interaction is with a character named Dave. He is a royal pain in the behind though.

There used to be, might still be, this series of radio ads here that went something like, “Need a reliable worker? Somebody who doesn’t slack around and do nothing like Dave? Don’t hire a Dave, use our employment website.”

Henchman Story Screen Capture

I’m not joking. I was really, very mad when I heard one of these. Whatever though, I am not that ambassador of all Dave’s. And if I was, I’d say who cares? I’ve met many Dave’s in my life and they tend to be very cool people.

Anyway, now that I have played more, I think it is hilarious. He is basically this way too enthusiastic cornball who manages the henchman operations for Lord Bedlam in the way somebody might manage a corporate franchise. Nothing wrong with that actually.

Henchman Story Screen Capture
Visual Novel Bedroom

Looking Super, I Mean Killer

The demo lasts around 30 minutes. Within that time I completed two operations, got whooped by three heroes, and even met another, much better, super villain. And it kind of wrapped up there with a bit of improv-style humor at the end about the demo.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a game I used to play called City of Heroes. I hadn’t mentioned much about the fact there was a villain expansion, but it seems that people often like villain stories as much as hero stories. That’s actually one reason I decided to check this game out.

Henchman Story Shining Nova
Visual Novel Combat

For just a tad more commentary, there is something glaringly obvious that I just realized when thinking about this game. If this game were a TV show, Stan would be Jim, and Lord Bedlam is basically Michael Scott. If you haven’t seen that show, Michael Scott somehow keeps things going but usually while repeatedly engaging in self-deprecation through his hijinks. I think that’s a super fun comparison for this game.

So in summary, this game is going to be great, you’re going to do great, by golly I’m coming with you Silken Sail Entertainment. Best of luck.

Thanks for reading this honest, although brief, review of Henchman Story on MrDavePizza.com. Make sure to check out the game and wishlist it or buy it on Steam! Support your indie devs.

Henchman Story Screen Capture

The Pizza Situation – It’s Out Now!

The Pizza Situation is an indie game project found on ItchIO about a freshman college student named Roni. He has a dream about seeing a girl with pink hair at a party and her stealing a slice of pizza from him. His goal is to use social networking to solve the problem and prevent this girl in his dream from doing so in real life.

It’s totally bonkers and irrational, but some games are like that and that’s why we have the ability to play them.

Dear Pizza Stroke Roni – The Pizza Situation

The Pizza Situation is fully animated and illustrated. You’d think there would need to be some hype about new tech to simulate a Facebook parody. Maybe you don’t though. Whatever your position on game development specifics, this idea is really nicely represented.

The Pizza Situation Screenshot

Most of what you’ll see in this demo involves chatting with people in connection with the pink-haired girl. Oh, did I mention he finds her “Galaxy” profile online in the first five minutes? A character from his dreams! Bonkers.

Screenshot

There is a well-developed social network revolving around this pink-haired girl. Young fashionista mean-girl types. Gucci, Prada, whatever. They are pretty much all just fishing for attention with their pictures and posts. To be honest, I read a few to get the context, but mostly I just scrolled through them like a sandbag on a pulley. Follow me on Facebook.

Most of the pink girl’s friends I really don’t like, but some of the people I interact with in the game are kind of cool actually. The writer of the dialogue on this game really has done a case study of trendy college students.

Actually, I kind of liked that most, because the creator of this game obviously went through the same thing I did. YEAH!

Liberal Pizza Sciences

It took me a moment to get the hang of the computer mechanics. I usually need heavy guidance in these kinds of games. It was mostly intuitive though, and I went as far as I could go. The game is played mostly by snooping on contact pages and sharing scandalous info or pictures with accomplices. There’s some edgy stuff in this game, but nothing to worry about.

Screenshot

Whether or not the demo story production has reached a stage beyond a few prototype surveys, I am not sure. I made it to Angela’s ex-girlfriend leveraging participation in my scheme. But I ran out of pointy blue arrows and notification blips that usually dictate my entire career as a game player.

The Pizza Situation Screenshot

Pizza’s Ready

The demo is really fun and colorful. This is one of my favorite illustration styles. It totally reminds me of something, but I can’t exactly figure out what. If you play this I encourage you to take the time and look at everything. I have to focus to avoid derailing my focus, but there’s enough to get lost in this game for a while. I really liked this demo. When it makes it to production there is going to be a pleased audience.

The Pizza Situation Poster

Oh, and if you were wondering, I did not choose this game simply because it has pizza in the title, although it was a plus! There are so many pizza games. Some days I’ll make a list. In the meantime, I’ve got my fingers on the indie pulse for you.

To read more about this game or try it yourself, head on over to the game website https://thepizzasituation.com/

For more game reviews and articles head up top or go to the main page for this site at MrDavePizza.com

Cryptid Crush – What A Creepy and Cool World!

I have been getting really into visual novels and interactive fiction lately. Itch.IO is rich with these games, and y’know, they’re kind of a nice gig. There’s a lot they can offer for developers and gamers. Lower production demands without sacrificing creativity, and a focused effort for players. The talent of the creator is still necessary of course. I certainly intended to give Cryptid Crush an efficient test. I played it out until the very end though. These games are making me interested in themes I didn’t even know existed. I’ll even admit I let a whole cup of coffee go cold because I was really enthralled by it.

So, let me tell you about Cryptid Crush.

Things Going Bump in the Night, Like You in Cryptid Crush

This is a visual novel/interactive fiction about you moving into a town of cryptids. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, cryptids belong to the pseudoscientific/mystical study of cryptozoological creatures, mythical beasts basically. Bigfoot, Mothman, etc. Cryptid Crush also includes supernatural creatures like ghosts and other questionable things.

There is a variety of supernatural ambiance this whole game though. Everybody gets to take a chance. Your humanity is mostly an assumption but not totally an imposition either. Why fret specifics when your buds aren’t even the same species I guess? Right?

This is not a family game. It is a horror, and it is adult. It’s not obscene, but this is locked shelf material. When I worked in the book trade, certain books were on locked shelves, because they were often stolen due to embarrassed customers. This might not totally be in that category but it rounds the bases.

Creepy Old Radio Station

The gameplay. You and your moth man friend Atlas and mystical cat Taro are driving through the country when a gravelly haunting DJ taunts the radio waves in a jester style.

Before you know it, they and Jamie the tall red devil, are breaking and entering the boarded-up old radio station from which the defunct station on the radio they knew to have been broadcasting.

Cryptid Crush Jamie Atlas

It’s amazing how a friendly cartoon façade can turn a seriously creepy story setting into something kind of fun. I’m telling you again, Visual Novels are really great. The music was spooky and glowing green ooze in the dark station was pretty good to drive the story along and also to look at.

Cryptid Crush Madhouse Mike

When you reach the DJ room beyond a red glowing on-air sign, everything turns totally paranormal bonkers, combat, crazy everything. Madhouse Mike the ghost, consumed by the radioactive Toxic Waste Energy drink holds your friends hostage as he pretty much tries to steal their souls.

Cryptid Crush Visual Novel Radio Studio

Luckily, with a group of friendly cryptids, the impact of this is not as threatening as you’d think. Even Atlas, the moth humanoid, knows a ton load of trivia about Madhouse Mike, although his fate remains in balance through much of the story.

Visual Novel Creepy but Light Horror

Is It Okay if I Say Adult Goosebumps Books?

I love the choice of characters in this game. It jibes with my open-mindedness to supernatural themes. These days that fact is more of an annoyance than a philosophy, but I love a good supernatural story where creepy beastly characters get to have a voice.

The developer, Drowsy Drake Studios, has another visual novel called Dino Nite in development, which is similar mechanically but a different story. I played through the entirety of that one, which right now is around 10 minutes before I played this one.

If you’re looking for a neat project to spend around an hour on check out this project. It’s a little bit spooky but I played it in the dark and I’m scared of everything. Kinda mature themes too, but nothing raunchy.

GOO’ Luck with Cryptid Crush

I really liked this game, and honestly, I think you should too. The developer has some great storytelling skills and an excellent design aesthetic. My niche grows more specific every day. So, gotta love trying something new to play. I hope I gave you enough information to make a decision, it’s my opinion though that this is a really creative and unique project.

You can find this game by searching for “Cryptid Crush” on Itch.IO.

Visual Novel Car Back Road

Take your time, check out more at MrDavePizza.com. I’ve played many games and there’s more all the time. Thank you for stopping by. I’m Dave Pizza, pizz’out.

The Hayseed Knight – Lots of Animal People at the Bazaar

I’ve been getting really interested in games like The Hayseed Knight and I don’t really know why I haven’t explored them further. I reviewed a game last week called Brok: The Investigator, similar mostly in the ways of it is an anthropomorphic visual novel.

The Hayseed Knight is through and through an anthro/furry/whatever you want to call it, visual novel. The themes are probably around Teen+, only in the PG-13 range though. Nothing obscene in my gameplay. The maturity level is more thematic than graphic. This is not a dating sim, but there is quite a bit of flirting.

Animal Palace – The Hayseed Knight

Nearly every character is an andromorphic form, including a tree guy, but not exclusively.

I’m going to do my best not to spoil anything, but you can only say so much about a game that’s nearly entirely dialogue without revealing some nuggets from the plot. As this game is still a prototype though, but there’s certainly more to come.

In the beginning, a gazelle (I think) and a quiet witch begin the narration of the story. Not a lot of background, but this might have something to do with how the plot unravels later on. In my lengthy sit-down with the game, none of that was revealed, however, it sets the stage for some effective storytelling.

This is a pretty THICK demo to play. I went past the half-hour mark up to almost 50 minutes, which is rare for me in a single session, because I wanted to see what would happen. There was still a lot of gameplay left over at that point, but I felt I’d tapped into the heartbeat of the story and wanted to start writing.

Pass the Buck

This game takes place in what’s best described as an Arabian bazaar/village. There are idiosyncrasies and thematic overlaps, but that works totally fine because this is a fantasy game.

Ader the buck is your basic rural raised one-eyed stag from the country, protagonist and comic relief. He’s jumpy and blasting into a nervous confrontation with just about everybody in the game.

I enjoyed Ader’s character because he manages to say things just as inflammatory as they were polite and humble.

Screen
The Hayseed Knight

There are interactions with several characters in the game, some of which I enjoyed more than others, but I particularly liked Eina, a mute female wolf/dog who runs the shop Ader works in.

I also liked the green tree man that interacts with Aider and Eina when she was awesome. I guess he’s an ent maybe? He looked more like a moss man. Anyway, his presence is fairly brief but is inter in the way it shows the anthro spectrum throughout this game. Ein’s father/boss/guardian or whatever is a beardy clocked red dude, but not much revealed beyond that.

The Hayseed Knight

Visual Novels Are Really Cool

I love how much can be done with some illustration, voice work, and visual novel creation dev work. Visual novels are great. People who enjoy reading but struggle to plop down and grab some ink-splatted pulp might be able to handle a lot more with this kind of storytelling. It’s kind of like a leap from graphic novels. English 101, with visual novels? I don’t maybe not, how about an elective.

I have reviewed more games like this. They make me feel good and engage my gameplay. They’re also easier to write about. I swear, I opened a category on Itch.IO last night and unlocked the treasures of El Dorado. So, I’ll never be bored again. I’m good.

The steam link is below.

To read more about indie games go to MrDavePizza.com

A Long Journey: To An Uncertain End – Great Space Game

Scoured Steam for ages looking for anything that caught my eye. My shortwave is all fuzz today. It must be a solar storm and a celestial body in retrograde. But it’s not, the dishwashers running and it’s just a slow week. So, I took forward to Itch.IO in the hopes of some nice dev gems out there and sweet demos. I hit the motherlode. Thank you GameDevites. A Long Journey is such an amazing collection of genres, it’s holistic in its approach. We’re talking space outlaw, contractor, story click, adventure. The art is beautiful, the design is brilliant, and well, this game is one to keep an eye on. And it’s getting a major boost by a major Kickstarter success, so expect to see it further developed and probably make it to full release.

A Long Journey: No Moon Boots, No Service

A Long Journey To an Uncertain End Character Selector

Not only that, but it’s totally amazing looking and has a very inclusive and comprehensive character creation screen, including gender and pronouns.

Set the scene, I’m waking up like an android that badly needs a cup of joe. I was awakened by a holographic corgi named C.O.R.G.I.

A Long Journey Corgi

I don’t know the origin of this corgi AI yet, but he’s adorable. I’ve loved corgis since the days of Cowboy Bebop, an anime about space bounty hunters, but not the more popular bounty hunters in space from other stories. Connection? I don’t know. Their discussion seems to show up regularly in weird places.

It’s a comfortable way to start a rough and tumble course. I chose Pizza as a name, my default character name, and Spruce McGoose as my ex. Any resemblance of actual people is entirely coincidental.

Not much involved in the tutorial, but it’s super intuitive and does the job. The way you respond to questions determines the outcome of your story basically. There’s not a lot of background given, but it’s obvious that the protagonist is a criminal in some sort of galactic crime. What it is, I don’t know. The story becomes more complex before it reveals anything though, and I spent most of my time hiding on a desert planet and space station.

A Long Journey: Intergalactic, Planetary

A Long Journey Planets

There’s a lot in this game that’s to be admired. For ages, I’ve thought about a novel I wrote in my teens, and how it would be interesting to turn into something. As I play these games day by day, seeing what’s possible in the game dev universe, especially visual novels, I get excited. A Long Journey nails the aesthetic I think I’d go for with that book.

Once you make it to the first hideout planet. You occupy your time and progress the story by doing jobs for locals in exchange for money, resources, whatever. There’s loads of content in these jobs.

Just Take My Money

I would never go so far as calling this game a clicker, but it has some similarities, that are expanded upon way better. The way jobs are run reminds me a ton of the follower quests in WoW WoD. I’m sure they have some more obvious root that I can’t think of.

sci-fi space visual novel
sci-fi space visual novel

For the sake of seeing more of the game quickly, I also noticed it’s not too difficult to just click through them. There is quite a bit of more crucial discussions that occur too.

With the way the design site on itch.IO says the choices you make determine the story, they certainly do with these conversations, and I saw no discrepancies otherwise. This is a seamless experience.

I once said that I don’t think we’ll ever explore the galaxy, especially in our own lifetimes, but I’ve eased up on that belief since then. Yesterday, the Space X return to landing rocket was in the news yesterday, and who knows. I don’t want to be a space cowboy, but some people call me Maurice… uh never mind.

a long journey hangar visual novel

Shoot For The Stars! ✨

If you want to check out this game, it’s currently in early demo. It looks pretty slick though, and it’s a good title for gamers or devs just to see what’s possible.

If you enjoyed this article be sure to check back for more demos or more timeless reviews on MrDavePizza.com. I can be found on most social media sites, and I welcome your interaction. Thanks for reading.

Here is a link to this game on Steam Store: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1164830/A_Long_Journey_to_an_Uncertain_End/

BROK the InvestiGator – Which One Is He?

Brok has been released since this was written, but here are my thoughts on the demo. Do yourself a favor right now, and download the Brok the Investigator: Prologue on either Steam, Game Jolt, or ItchIO. Right now it’s in demo mode, but it is pretty massive for a story introduction. It’s a nice game to try out for a regular gaming session, twitch, or whatever.

It’s a side-scrolling point-and-click cartoon adventure detective story. Fully interactive, voiced characters. It’s chock full of feel-good, heartwarming, animal noir gameplay. And what would an animal people noir be without a detective croc named Brok?

Forget it Brok…

The game begins in an inexplicable house fire, although things aren’t quite what they seem. After this introduction, you’ll start your story from an underground apartment. Brok’s son, Graff, is a raccoon or bear, I think. Graff is a teenager who’s your typical snippy teen, but fairly helpful in establishing location.

Brok’s phone rings shortly after he wakes up and a call comes in. A client summons him into the surface world to a gritty sci-fi animal society–not too gritty though. There’s no context, but it becomes clear the Brok is a working gumshoe and gets around quite a bit.

Brok The Investigator

The mechanics in the game are very smooth. The house fire and the apartment provide the function of teaching you how to play the game. You’ll be introduced to the story interaction, inventory, and combat modes to progress in the story.

While Brok is just a sweet ol’ crocodile, he can really bust a move on obstacles and bad guys. The combat is simple cartoon beat-em-ups but nothing too stressful. It is exciting to watch him whomping open a door or a mob though. There is a difficulty level selector as well; if you want a more action-packed Brok experience, you can do that!

Bring Back Saturday Mornings With Brok

Brok the Investigator

The first thing that came to mind when I saw this was the character Leatherhead from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, shoutout to Shellheads Podcast. An easy comparison aside from the fact that Leatherhead is an alligator, and Brok is a crocodile, amongst other things. Although I guess Brok might be an alligator too because he is an Investi”GATOR.”

The closest style comparison I can make from the game is the 90’s Disney cartoon tv show TaleSpin. If you’re not familiar, it’s The Saturday Morning anthropomorphic chartered pilot service series, which somehow featured Baloo as a seaplane pilot. Yeah, it kind of made no sense, but it went well with sugary cereal in the living room.

The game animation is totally perfect with a lot of attention to detail made. I’m not sure if any titles have combined personified animals with an anime-like backdrop this way. It’s not quite Shadowrun, but it’s not quite Duck Tales.

For a more elegant comparison, might I give acknowledgment to the classic children’s fantasy series Redwall, about a monk warrior mouse in an andromorphic kingdom, which itself is getting a Netflix restart soon? We like animals, and we like fun characters, it’s a good genre.

Beat-em-ups for Good Guys

Croc Visual Novel

I’ll probably know as much as you within 5 minutes of gameplay but there’s just one more thing I want to talk about. Between the house fire opening segment and the regular story, there seems to be some plot being set up for the rest of the story.

As Brok is a detective, it is highly likely that this plot will involve learning some context-changing information about the fire. Probably later on revealing that the incident in that fire was orchestrated with some life-altering malice. I only say this as an observer of storylines. There is a lot of unique material here though, so I’d be open to anything. My experience of it so far is quite interesting.

Heuristics

There are some psychological references to cybernetics here and there too, just based on my own observations. This makes me think maybe things are really, really, really not what they seemed, but that is total speculation, and probably not true. Actually, that’s not an uncommon theme in sci-fi games. The Steam description says “Light Cyberpunk.” I like that!

It certainly would be an okay way to go that route, but I rather in enjoy the complex technological and sociological themes throughout this prologue.

Visual Novel Croc
Brok the Investigator Map

It’s not your average tough-guy beat-em-up, but there’s plenty of action if you want that. Brok has introduced right away as a likable nice crocodile guy. I want to see him succeed. And I really enjoy the way I can interact with him but also watch him interact. There’s some quality character development here that is worth checking out. A lot of unique ideas here in general.

In fact, you can specify that when you start the game. I went with story mode because that’s usually my best bet at avoiding throwing off my first impressions.

If you like anthropomorphic video games and you like good sci-fi noir, make sure to check this one out. It’s bound to make some heads turn.

Thanks for reading my review. If you want to read more games go to MrDavePizza.com. I’m also on social media, with links at the top.