Many games nowadays always make you play as a hero or anti hero who finds it OK to use whatever forms of violence to achieve their goals. Not so in this game where you play the role of a defense attorney rookie named Phoenix Wright who's sole purpose is to prove his clients are not guilty. There's reading, and LOTS of it, whether by characters or examination.
First, the game is generally divided into two parts, which are the trials and investigating the crime scene. During the trials, you'll listen to everyone's views and ideas on the current case and you'll seriously have to pay attention. However, sometimes your mind will wander as the text slowly scrolls by and you can't exactly go back and reread what you missed. When the prosecution calls a witness to the stand, it's up to you to find any contradictions in their testimony. Pressing the witness will usually get more information which may cause that part of the testimony to change details. Presenting evidence at the right time will help reveal more of the truth to the case, but present the wrong one and you lose a mark. Lose all your marks and it's a game over. For fun, you can scream HOLD IT! into the mic when pressing and OBJECTION! when you think you found a contradiction. Apparently every witness in the world is a liar because they all seem to be hiding something.
When you're not in court, you will be at various locations to find clues to help your case. You can use the touch screen to examine the area for any hidden details, but sometimes this can turn into a pixel hunt since some of the clues can be so damn tiny. You can also talk to people and present various items to them to get more information, but this can also drag on since you will probably have no idea what to present and will try to present every piece of evidence you have until the person recognizes it. This problem can also arise during a trial if the witness' testimony is so vague or so well spoken that you have no idea what to present to show they are liars. You can save between trials and investigations and also save during the game to make a save point, which can be easily abused if you are stuck in a trial and want to try everything without risking anything.
Since the game was originally a GBA game, the graphics aren't up to the standards of the DS, but it's very well animated and stylized. The music, while suited for various scenes in the game, is pretty low key and nothing to remember. The game's strong point is the script. While the game does put on a serious tone, it can still cause some laughs as some of the characters speak very silly things or something plain outrageous; there's even one character who speaks in internet form! And there's also a few (and unintended) sexual innuendos.
Is the game worth a buy? Only if you like to figure out puzzles and read a lot. It is rewarding to solve a puzzle and win a trial, but once you finished all of them, that's it. There's nothing else to go back to once you beat the game.