Like the Phoenix Wright games that preceded it, Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies is a lawyer simulation, where you step into the suit of the titular lawyer Phoenix and his partner Apollo Justice, as you object, question and present evidence across each of the game's five cases.
A rather story-heavy game, Phoenix Wright is a "visual novel", with plenty of reading to be done, and colourful, over the top characters, crazy plots, and plenty of twists to help keep things interesting. A serious lawyer game this is not - and it's all the more entertaining for it. With reams upon reams of dialogue read, it's needless to say your child will need to be a strong reader to attempt this on their own, as they press the witnesses for more information, ask the right questions and choose the correct contradictory evidence to get to the bottom of the cases.
Cross-examinations are the games' bread and butter, and require you to sift through the witness' testimony and search for inconsistencies, choosing the correct piece of evidence to expose their lies and uncover the truth. These sections are perhaps the most challenging aspect of the game, as it's not always especially obvious which piece of evidence is the correct one, and with each mistake you make, the omnipotent Judge will dock a portion of your health – lose it all and you'll be set back slightly. Without punishing you too harshly for getting it wrong, it is possible to simply fumble your way through by process of elimination, although given the frequency of the cross-examinations, it may start to grate.
With a cast of crazy over-the-top characters, from assistant lawyer Athena's talkative necklace (yes, you read that right) Widget, who has a tendency to blurt out what Athena's really thinking at awkward moments, to the hot-blooded Bobby Fullbright, who seems to come from Blackadder's Lord Flasheart's school of thought, and the staple, nameless yet omnipotent Judge who always seems a little slow on the uptake, everyone is a tongue-in-cheek caricature. With little that children may truly struggle with beyond the reading, if they're a confident reader, and aren't looking for a game that's packed with explosions, Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies could be a great pick.
Generally speaking, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies doesn't have anything particularly untoward – there's no bad language or sex scenes - but there is the occasional sight of blood. As many of the crimes you investigate are murders, there'll often be blood splattered around the crime scene - and while you never actually witness the violent deed, things may be a little bit gory for comfort, even if it is done in a more cartoon-y anime-styled way.