Everyone loves the Ace Attorney games, courtroom dramas combined with comedy and over-the-top interactions which simply wouldn’t be tolerated in a real criminal justice scenario. Their real-life counterparts (albeit from the judge’s point of view) would be Judge Judy and Rinder, two real judges who tackle small claims on TV, all whilst providing a comedic and exaggerated personality for the cameras. Now, if you took the wacky cases we see in Ace Attorney, combined them with the over-the-top nature of the TV judges, and set up the court sessions over zoom due to the pandemic, you’ll end up with Internet Court…
Oh, A Rock! Studios are the masterminds behind this hilarious FMV game, a team that has created a number of strange yet intriguing titles previously. I mean, how can you overlook ‘Cat President’, ‘The Pizza Delivery Boy Who Saved the World’, and ‘The Beard in the Mirror’! Every game they make seems to be something new, crazy, and very silly, either presented as a point-and-click, real-life Visual Novel or FMV game – three genres I love (so I’ll certainly be checking out their older games in the coming weeks).
So, with a game and team that doesn’t take itself too seriously, was Internet Court fun to play? Spoiler, yes, it was freaking hilarious – but please read on to see why!
Internet Court is a short FMV game that will take you around 2-3 hours to work your way through the four very serious, and not at all silly, court cases. Your first case is investigating why two old friends unfriended each other, the second revolves around poorly written fanfiction, the third is someone having regerts about his tattoo, and the final one involves confronting an internet troll. Although these cases all sound very trivial and a waste of time for a judge in a real court, I can honestly imagine these topics being brought up by one of the TV judges I mentioned above!
Aside from the four individual cases, there’s a common issue that is stretched throughout all of them, inserting itself into each of the cases.
In regards to the episodes themselves, even though the game only has four acts (I really wish there was more), it manages to fill you in on a lot of information. The first case has you see the prosecutor present his first case, then the second has you play the judge as he dons a VR headset and relives an older case to show us the backstory of the prosecutor. The third case is another present case but with a more educated prosecutor, then the final case is the one that brings the underlying story to its conclusion.
So, although it may be only short, it actually packs quite a lot and it feels much longer.
Internet Court is an FMV adventure game, you’ll be given choices to make throughout the story which will result in either progressing to the next scene or getting a strike against your name – just like in the Ace Attorney games. The difference here is that you’ll sometimes play and make choices for everyone, meaning you can technically get strikes for various people and not just the prosecutor. For example, in one of the cases I managed to get three strikes as the judge, so he basically threw himself out of the ‘court’ and pulled his covers up and went to sleep!
Oh, I think I forgot to mention that, the ‘Internet Court‘ takes place on the internet (you don’t say), so each of the characters are at home on their laptops – the judge is on/in his bed, the prosecutor is in a small empty room, and the defense attorney seems to be sat in a closet in some of the videos! The whole thing is very bizarre.
You’ll have the chance to read through the evidence presented, highlight mistakes, get asked to pick the right objection to a statement, and how to respond to a situation. Some answers will result in getting a strike or losing the case, allowing you to easily continue right back where you failed, and other questions simply change the proceeding ‘video’ without any consequences. I personally liked the fact that you could technically mess up and continue as if nothing bad had happened – it meant I could experiment and see how silly the game could get.
How can I describe Internet Court without resorting to silly, crazy, wacky, and bonkers? I guess, hilarious, unusual, creative, and insane. The first thing I loved was the poor quality video and audio – it’s not bad but I love that the lazy, bored, and absent-minded judge has the highest quality camera, yet everyone else is simply using poorly-lit and low-resolution webcams – perfectly imitating real life with all the remote working at the moment. If everyone would have had studio-quality video, it would have been very sus.
The production is rather amateur, but that’s what makes it so funny. I love that the Grammar Policeman is a guy who constantly eats doughnuts whilst talking like a drill sergeant, proudly displaying his hand-made cardboard cut-out badge on his suspenders as if it’s a real badge of the law. The judge is very easily distracted, often not paying attention as he eats instead of listening, flops himself on the bed like a diva, and pretends he knows what’s going on when he clearly has no idea.
Then there’s Super Lawer 64 – the prosecutor – he made me laugh pretty much every time he came on screen, there was just something about him that I found hilarious. Maybe it was the fact he wore a T-Shirt with his name and face on it whilst in ‘court’, maybe it was the way he did the Ace Attorney “objection” at every chance he could, or it might have just been how blunt and silly he was.
It’s really hard to describe in words, but the entire dialogue was very silly, entertaining, and over-the-top. Very different game, but I would compare Internet Court to Super Seducer 3, not in terms of the content itself but in terms of the delivery and how it’s one big parody from beginning to end. Everyone played their part well, even if some of the acting was on par with Tim and Eric skits (no offence, it’s just clear that some of the people aren’t actors).
I actually liked the fact it wasn’t full of professional actors, it made the scenarios feel more authentic, added charm and unintentional humour to the game.
Internet Court is an FMV game, not an interactive movie (like I Saw Black Clouds), your choices can result in an early game over and slightly adjust the subsequent video based on the choices you make. The narrative itself doesn’t change, you just may end up having to continue once you get three strikes, or you’ll be scolded for picking the wrong answer.
The interface is easy enough to use, although I didn’t realise you could click the icons at the bottom of the screen until I was in the final case – you can only select them when you have to pick a dialogue option, but they show you past evidence which has been presented to the court.
There are a few standard options for an FMV/Visual Novel, you can save, load, and skip the dialogue of the scene your in after you’ve made a choice of what to say or do. It’s primitive, with no elaborate flowcharts or meters showing how your choices may have affected the course of the case (as they technically don’t). That’s because this is a simple FMV adventure that is more akin to the interactive movies but with more emphasis on choices and less on deviating from the A-to-B narrative path.
I don’t know if it’s my childish and immature mind, or if I’m just easy to amuse, but I personally found Internet Court really funny. I was laughing almost all the way through, whether it was at the corny dad jokes, the silly faces being pulled, the bizarre concepts of the cases, or the crazy personalities of the characters. The humour doesn’t stop when the credits roll either, as even they contain a few more jokes and funny snippets. The most interesting thing was that Diana, who plays the defense attorney in the game, actually finished law school whilst they were making this game – crazy.
The game also has bonus unlockable videos each time you complete a case. Initially, you gain access to a blooper reel for the case you’ve just ‘solved’, granting you another few minutes of laughter for the price of nothing. Then, when you’ve done all four cases, you unlock the audition tapes and a few other bonus videos to watch. It may not seem like much, but it’s more than you get with most games like this.
I love the Steam store page as well, it says: “An all-star cast, including…the developers, the developers’ moms, Victoria Budkey (an ~actual actress~), and a baby” – I thought they were joking… they weren’t. Looking at the credits, the mothers of the writer and producer are in it, I believe two of the writer’s children (same surname), his wife, maybe his sister (same surname again) and yes, one ‘actual actress’. I hope we see them all come together again in the future!
Internet Court is one of the most bonkers and continuously funny FMV games you’ll see outside of the Super Seducer franchise. Although your choices don’t change the narrative and losing offers no punishment as you can simply continue, every option you pick has a recorded reaction and consequence – meaning you can pick all the ‘bad’ choices without worrying about replaying the entire scene again. Every character has their own personality, whether the actor has done acting before or are simply related to those who created the game, resulting in some unintentionally funny moments and realistic reactions. For a game that was clearly made with little to no budget and remotely via laptops of varying quality, I found it hilarious and a joy to play, even more than some big-budget titles I’ve played recently.
If you’re a fan of FMV games and just want something non-serious to play over a few hours, give Internet Court a shot.
- - Very funny throughout
- - Four entertaining cases with an underlying 'story'
- - Despite the actors all being various levels from actress to baby, they made the experience raw, almost realistic, and very silly
- - Lots of choices with their own unique responses
- - No harsh punishment for picking all the wrong answers and essentially losing the game (you just continue where you failed)
- - It's not very long at around 2-3 hours. I would have loved more cases
- - There's no branching pathways (from what I could see), so it is quite linear. But, it's still a fun experience
- - The quality of the recordings does vary based on what hardware they had to hand, but I feel this makes it appear more 'authentic'