Miami Law, developed by Hudson Soft,is a new upbeat take on the whole Visual Novel style games drawing influence from franchises such as the Phoenix Wright Series. Miami Law, however, moves away from the bunch by presenting a plot similar to a typical 80s American police drama and combining these with a classic option based adventure and action style gameplay. Can this be a completely new take on the formula or should this stay back in the 80s where it belongs?
The story in Miami Law has you following two lead characters which at points allows you to continue the story following one or the other. The first has you playing Miami PD detective Law Martin, who is undercover in a well known drug syndicate known as funny enough, the “Miami Syndicate”. His past however has been shaken up by the loss of his ex-partner Sam Brown and now he helps take care of Sam’s Sister Jessica Brown. The story unfolds as he becomes teamed up with the second lead character, FBI Agent Sara Starling who is also after the same goal, taking down the syndicate. The Story spans across the five scenarios the game presents with a couple of twists and turns making what the game calls cases more similar to “episodes” instead. The issue is that these episodes really makes the entire experience of the game become more like one long dragged out movie. Overall the story does have a couple interesting moments and plot twists but needs more with character development especially with the banter between the two leads.
The gameplay basically follows the standard with all games of this genre. You scroll through lines of text/dialog and travel to locations via menus and can search the environment using the options given to you. Occasionally these segments are broken up with short minigames which are mostly minigames. The problem is that most of these minigames lack depth and control terribly especially with the driving minigame which takes a couple of seconds for the system to recognise you command if you don’t use the buttons on the bottom of the screen. However, the minigames do fit the context of the plot and none ever feels out of place in the narrative.
Presentation wise, Miami Law takes a stylised 2D anime-ish look with nice 2D Character designs. The problem is with the 3D minigames which look blocky and jaggy without much detail. You can pretty much tell that careful attention has been paid to the story and 2D work than the minigames that seem like they were added in after everything else was done. The music in Miami Law is sufficient with appropriate sounds which fit the setting. There is however no voice work for any of the dialogue.
Overall the game isn’t a massive ground breaker but does a decent job in presenting an engaging fact paced police action story with branching narratives and plot twists. The only issues are the low quality minigames coupled with very cliche characters. The game is entertaining and anyone who likes text adventure and action can easily find something to enjoy from this game.