Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations is a visual novel and adventure game. You play as Phoenix Wright, a defense attorney who works to gather evidence, question witnesses, and present his argument in a courtroom to defend his client. It's the third and final game in the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney trilogy.
Pro Engaging choice-based gameplay
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations is all about choosing your own adventure through living the life of a defense attorney. It's up to you to do a good job for your clients, meaning you have to make the best choices when going through the case. When you interview witnesses and suspects, there's a dialogue tree where you choose what you want to ask them, and then during the trial, you carefully choose the best evidence to support your argument.
The stakes are high during court cases, since if you pick the wrong evidence during a cross-examination, for example, the prosecution's side will hammer you on it and you'll suffer a loss. There's more incentive this time to get everything right and do your best, otherwise you may lose the case outright for your client. You get to the bottom of each investigation and trial on your own terms, either by following your instincts or listening to helpful suggestions from other characters.
Pro Intriguing story where you get to play as characters other than Phoenix Wright
The story in Trials and Tribulations wraps up the Ace Attorney trilogy in a great way, while offering a new gameplay mechanic. The first case starts off in the past, where you play as another lawyer from the series, Mia, who tries to find out whether a young Phoenix Wright committed murder or not. You also get to later play as Edgeworth, another lawyer and one of Phoenix's rivals, to see the story from his point of view. All of the (spoiler-sensitive) cases tie in together as a nice way to give closure to the trilogy, with a slightly stronger focus on the overall narrative this time compared to the first two games. Having these new perspectives adds more layers to the cases and overarching narrative.
Pro Polished character designs
As this is a character-heavy visual novel game, it helps a lot that the art for the characters are all really well-done. Full of expressive personality, they look just like the ones in the series' anime. Their exaggerated humor shows through their designs and animations, helping the game to stand on its art and writing without more complicated animations or even much voice acting. Experiencing the story through the character art doesn't get tiring, since it does such a good job of carrying the whole legal drama.
Pro Charming music
Since this is a port of an older game for the Game Boy Advance, the music still has a rather old school sound to it, but this only adds to the charm. It's great at setting the tone in any given scene, sounding more serious with lower instruments for when you're collecting evidence, and then again when presenting that evidence to the court, while it's of course much lighter during funny conversations with silly characters. There's always a computerized sound throughout that makes it charming to listen to, like going back in time before the more modern orchestral music in gaming today.
Pro Accessible learning curve
Even if you don't know anything about legal cases and courtrooms, Trials and Tribulations is easy to grasp and learn. The first case is more of a tutorial for how the game works, and it does a great job at getting you used to the mechanics with collecting evidence, questioning witnesses, and going through the motions of presenting your argument before the judge. You don't need to know any special legal language or anything like that; you can still have fun with this game while getting to feel like a defense attorney in an entertaining way.
Con You may need to play the first two games to appreciate the story
As this is the third game in the Ace Attorney trilogy, the story does rely on you having a connection to the protagonist Phoenix, especially for the first case. Being invested in other characters like Mia and Edgeworth from the other games also adds to the novelty of getting to play as them. Without that context, the new points of view here doesn't hold much weight. You can jump into the trilogy with this game if you really want to, but if you want more of an emotional impact, it's better to play the other games first.
Con Doesn't offer enough new changes over the first two games
You get to play as different characters from time to time, like Phoenix's rivals Edgeworth and Mia, but that's about it. The rest of the gameplay is fundamentally the same as the other two games in the series. If you play all three games, you may find that things are pretty samey by this point. The Ace Attorney games do have a good formula, though it would have been nice to have more innovation throughout the trilogy.
Con Not for players who want more involved gameplay
Since this is a visual novel without much voice acting, that means there's a lot of reading. You won't find typical gameplay here with responsive controls and freedom of movement. The gameplay is all about being an attorney and an investigator, through gathering evidence and presenting evidence to defend your client. If you're not used to these types of games, this may not be for you unless you're willing to try something new.