Star Court

by Anna Anthropy

Science Fiction/Surreal
2014

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Randomized sci-fi trial simulator, February 6, 2021

Star Court is a brief twine game (a playthrough is probably less than 10 minutes) with a lot of randomized elements. The conceit is that you're on trial for a crime you may or may not have committed (it doesn't really matter), and you're supposed to try to prove yourself not guilty as well as just survive the trial. It has a whimsical sci-fi pastiche setting with a comedic tone where nothing's really taken seriously. The writing is pretty fun, and I enjoyed playing through the game. Insofar that there is a deeper message or social commentary, it's about the unfairness of the judicial system for the poor, but it's too wacky to really leave much of a message.

In terms of gameplay, there are a few standard phases: pick your lawyer, plead guilty or not guilty, cross-examine the prosecution's witnesses, and call your own witnesses in defense. Then there's a break where you can try to escape (and usually fail), before the trial either concludes or restarts. A lot of the result is randomized (although more expensive witnesses usually give better results). I think eventually I figured out a strategy to win most of the time.

This game is fun to play through a few times, to see the different ways the trial could go. There's a lot of content and replayability, despite the short length of each playthrough. The crimes are randomly determined (it doesn't matter what the crime is). I've seen at least five different "Ancient Rites" (the trial by cat was my favorite), and many different prosecution's witnesses.