Ace Attorney-inspired Court of Crowns takes to Kickstarter

We’re all about plucky little indie projects here at Rice Digital, so when this one landed in our inbox this morning we thought it was well worth highlighting. Court of Crowns is an episodic visual novel inspired by Capcom’s classic Ace Attorney series, with the twist that it’s positioned as a historical drama rather than a modern-day tale.

In Court of Crowns, you play the role of Princess Adela de Rex and preside over the Crown Court as members of the nobility bring disputes before you. Unlike Ace Attorney, which has a single “correct” answer for each case, Court of Crowns allows you a certain amount of freedom to play Adela as you see fit, with her in-game “Beliefs” being shaped by your actions. You’ll be able to do the “right” thing according to your duty, abuse your position or even attempt to flee responsibility.

Court of Crowns

Court of Crowns is developed by a Polish hobbyist group known as PlaceHolder Name Studio, and is specifically inspired by the historical Commonwealth of Poland. In the game, though, the Commonwealth of Adelandria is full of strange contradictions and peculiar laws, and it’s up to you, as Adela, to figure out the best way to keep things running along smoothly.

There are a number of different mechanics at play in Court of Crowns, similar to how Ace Attorney is split into different components. The Interrogation sequences, for example, are similar to the Cross-Examination parts of Ace Attorney, with witnesses making statements and you having to point out contradictions according to your own knowledge.

It doesn’t stop there, though; there are also other situations you’ll have to deal with. In Comparison sequences, you’ll have to compare the testimony of two witnesses at once, either proving them wrong or finding the one point they agree on. And when things get heated, you’ll have to maintain order and rebuke those saying inappropriate things — but also keep an eye out for truths inadvertently revealed in a fit of passion.

Since the game is non-linear, in contrast to Ace Attorney, it features a flowchart that allows you to return to previous episodes and attempt to make things unfold in different ways. As with most visual novels, this will only unlock after you’ve seen an ending for that particular episode, meaning your first run is best played blind. From thereon, exploring the alternative routes down which the story can proceed rewards you with points that can be spent on new costumes for Adela.

PlaceHolder Name Studio is using Kickstarter as a means of gauging interest in the project rather than funding it entirely; the company notes that it is already self-sufficient in terms of writing, programming and art creation, but the additional money from a crowdfunding campaign would be useful for outsourcing translation and the creation of sound and music. If the first campaign does well, they are also planning a second one to potentially increase the scope of the game — though some of the current stretch goals also include possible expansions to the base game.

The possible expansions of scope to the game include expanding the material that unfolds between trials. PlaceHolder Name Studio is keen to follow the cues of Ace Attorney by providing adventure-style sequences between the major trials in the game, allowing Adela to engage in daily life and intrigue around the palace as well as simply presiding over the Crown Court. Adding this to the game would be a major undertaking, however, hence it being reserved for a second Kickstarter campaign if the first musters up sufficient interest.

Court of Crowns is presently looking quite promising. The team clearly has a vision in mind for how they want the game to end up, and the way it riffs on the Ace Attorney formula with a more non-linear structure has the potential to be very interesting indeed. From the early screens and video released so far, I’d perhaps argue that certain elements of the interface and art could maybe be polished up a little more — but these aspects are one of the many things that a successful Kickstarter campaign can help happen.

If you’d like to try the current demo of the game for yourself, you can nab it on Steam, Google Play or And if you want to pledge your support to the Kickstarter, you can do so here.

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Pete Davison
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