Miami Law Review

Miami Law is a simple, short, and thoroughly ridiculous buddy-cop graphic adventure steeped in mediocrity.

He's a reckless Miami cop with nothing to lose on a deep undercover mission to avenge the partner he lost. She's a straight-shooting FBI agent who was brought in to keep him on the reservation. Together, they fight crime with their own unique brand of justice. Marvel as they save the world in five hours or less in an unprecedented display of law enforcement interdepartmental cooperation. Laugh as they navigate a dangerous world of cop film cliches and wildly inaccurate depictions of the American legal system. Groan as they take it to the streets with a series of virtually fail-proof and frequently pointless minigames. Cry out in frustration as they make bad decisions and run into the brick wall of linear plot. In a Miami gone mad with lawlessness, it's up to you to restore order--but only if you've got plenty of patience on backup.

When loose-cannon Miami PD Detective Law Martin's partner is murdered during an undercover operation, he embarks on a mission to infiltrate the criminal underworld that took his friend's life. To keep him in line, he's predictably partnered up with Sara Starling, a levelheaded by-the-book FBI agent who specializes in critical thinking and forensic science. Throughout the course of their investigation, the unlikely duo faces suicidal drug smugglers, shadowy terrorist organizations, and a conspiracy that threatens the highest levels of the US government, all the while learning valuable life lessons from each other in a pulp fiction plot. As the story unfolds, you're asked to make decisions that allegedly alter the flow of the game, though there's only one way to do things right. You often immediately run into a game-over screen if you choose poorly, but there are times when the game strings you along as though you've made the correct choice. You'll exhaust every possibility until you discover sometime later that there's no way for you to push forward on that plot branch. You are given the option to retry from the point when you made the wrong decision, but it may take you a while to realize your error because there is no helpful feedback. Choice (even the illusion thereof) can add some depth to an adventure game, but this poorly-implemented facsimilie just adds frustration.

As you tackle the five interconnected cases in Miami Law, you're frequently asked which of the two characters you want to follow at key moments, which in turn determines how the investigation will evolve. Law favors a shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later approach, which means that his story typically revolves around brute force, thrill-less first-person gunfights, and car chases where the worst enemy is traffic. Sara, on the other hand, relies on her computer hacking skills to magically produce passwords and on her forensic knowledge to match photos, though she's handy with a sniper rifle in a pinch. In either case, you will tap, scratch, and slide your stylus through a steady stream of touch-screen minigames, many of which are nigh impossible to fail, such as cutting a rope or entering a password that's relayed to you on the top screen. Even the gunfights and car chases are just variations of these simple controls, and they similarly aren't too exciting or difficult. As if the game itself were acknowledging that it's way too short--you can easily beat it in just a few hours--completing the story unlocks even more minigames, including fully fleshed-out versions of Texas hold 'em poker and sudoku. These are some really odd bonus choices for a cop-themed graphic adventure game, but they may help to keep your attention for a little while longer.

Tough talk from a tough cop.
Tough talk from a tough cop.

Whenever you're not playing one of the minigames, there's a deluge of dialogue to read and plenty of places to visit as the gameplay really only exists to get you from one plot point or minigame to the next. The 2D background art for each location from the branch offices of the Miami PD and FBI to the beach looks good--though the slummier parts of town look remarkably well cared for--and the stylish anime character art pops out nicely. With so much dialogue, it would have been nice to hear some voice-over work, but sadly there isn't any. Fortunately, minigames and investigation cutscenes are punctuated with a lively, varied soundtrack that perfectly matches the action and would effortlessly fit into a film like Lethal Weapon.

Miami Law is a short, straightforward graphic adventure game with an over-the-top plot and a ton of diversionary minigames. The ability to choose how you want to investigate brings an interesting twist to the genre, but ultimately it has no effect on the super-linear plot; likewise, the story decisions you make don't change anything. But if you're in need of a ridiculously brief portable adventure or have always wanted to be that cop who's a danger to himself and everyone else on the force, Miami Law may be worth interrogating.

The Good
Off-the-wall, over-the-top story
You can choose how you want to investigate
The Bad
Lasts only a few hours
Minigames are way too easy
You can lose but not know it right away
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Miami Law More Info

  • First Released Jun 9, 2009
    • DS
    Miami Law is a graphic adventure game set in Miami.
    Average Rating38 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Hudson Entertainment
    Published by:
    Hudson, Hudson Entertainment
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Blood, Drug Reference, Mild Language, Violence