Miami Law is a 2009 DS game published by Gaijinworks - the first game for Vic Ireland's new company after Working Designs. What makes this interesting is that WD never published on any Nintendo systems. And I'm pretty sure Gaijinworks avoided Nintendo after this one. Huh. At any rate, Miami Law is a sort of point-n-click adventure game, and a sort of visual novel, and it has various puzzle and shooting segments. Think of it as a kind of budget meshing of Vice City and Snatcher. Although that might be overselling it. The gameplay changes from moment to moment, as does the quality of the gameplay and writing; as does the level of fun.
The adventure/GN side of the game feels akin to something like Hotel Dusk, though not really as deep. There is some impressive depth to the size of the fictional Miami and the cast of characters. But the problem is that at times any illusion of choice is shattered by how utterly linear it really is. While investigating a case, you might want to go to one location you feel interested in, only to be told "I shouldn't go there right now." The times where you ARE genuinely given a true choice can sometimes result in a swift game over, forcing you to go back and make the right decision instead. This wouldn't be so bad, but sometimes you're forced to go back a big chunk of time which is tedious.
The game also wastes your time in how you move through the world. For instance, let's say I need to go talk to the chief at the Miami PD. I'll need to click "Move To," then select "Miami PD." Then I'll be outside the building and I need to click "Move To," and "Enter," and remember which floor so "Main Floor." Then I'm on the main floor. "Move To," "Chief's Office," "Enter," and finally "Talk to," and "Chief." WORSE is when this results in him just telling me to meet him down in the investigations room instead, and more clicking multiple times to get there. It just seems like it's there to pad things out. I suppose that's necessary in a linear game like this. There's only five missions, and I've done the first three and each clock in at about an hour. That includes the extraneous clicking.
PUZZLES are a big mixed bag as well. There are some that feel like actual puzzles, but others are definitely just there to kill some brief time. Hacking computers literally involve typing a code you're given into a keypad. It's nothing. Another involved using the stylus to "cut" some rope. There's a lot of stuff that's just tapping on the screen - I guess to remind you that you're DS has a touchscreen. There's some shoot/duck/reload parts that are mildly fun, I guess in lieu of Snatcher's legit lightgun sections.
In light of all this, I think there's actually a somewhat interesting and fun game buried under these complaints. The story and dialogue are super pulpy. Like an edgier version of Miami Vice. And it is weird to be playing a VN with these anime looking line drawings talking about drugs in suitcases and everything. To some degree, this game is almost in the realm of so-bad-it's-good. Or at least it's odd enough that I am compelled to see the story through to the end, which I'm pretty sure is only two hours away if HLTB is to be believed.