Now listen here, you nincompoop! There’s a new game available on the Xbox Store and it’s dirt cheap, just like your mother!
Oh… Sir! The Insult Simulator is the name of the game and it allows you to practice the art of insulting in a controlled environment, away from actually abusing and upsetting people out in the real world.
The game is a turn-based affair where players take turns picking words from a pre-determined list and attempt to form zingers to take down their opponents. It’s presented like a classic beat ‘em up where the ‘better’ the insult, the more damage it does to your opponent.
‘Better’ in the sense that it’s a rarity that the sentences you create make any sense. Sometimes the more wacky and irreverent, the more damage is done. For example, I could say that my opponents hat looks like a frightened schoolboy, and score similar points as if I said their mother smelled like a cheese shop.
Oh… Sir! has a few ways for you to get your insulting kicks, but the best place to start is obviously the Tutorial mode. From there, you can choose to either insult the CPU or insult a human. Choosing to insult the CPU gives you the option for a single argument, or to take on the Tournament mode; a series of five matches culminating in a final boss. It’s tough to decide whether or not these get harder as you progress through because the CPU will usually follow the same pattern of first picking a noun from the list, and then a verb phrase followed by an adjective or another noun, regardless of how absurd the sentence turns out.
Choosing to insult a human allows you to play a local multiplayer match or take the fight online and face a virtual human. These matches will usually be closer affairs than the CPU offerings. A trick to squeezing more damage on to your opponent is to use words and insults that they really don’t like; each character has a specific weakness you can exploit. Family, homeland and fashion sense, are all topics on the table. This tactical element is a welcome addition because the gameplay is naturally repetitive.
Another area in which the game feels repetitive is in the relatively few amount of words available to choose from. Within an hour I was beginning to see a lot of the same words. There are specific words and phrases for each of the locations you argue in, but even then there are only five locations to choose from, and one of those is exclusive to the final boss. Thankfully, with no limit to how long an insult can be, it does allow a lot of combination variation.
When you are combining phrases though, the sound of them being spoken starts to let the game down. Each character has only one way of saying ‘and’, and when combining phrases using this as a conjunction the speech starts to sound like a sports game commentary circa 2003. And then the game becomes humorous for the wrong reasons.
Without this though, Oh…Sir! can be quite funny for the right reasons too. Its irreverent humour gives off a Monty Python vibe and the developers were clearly fans as they’ve included an argument over a dead/not dead blue parrot in a pet shop, and a cheese shop reference amongst many other nods to the classic comedy troupe.
The style of humour is also in keeping with its influences, which may therefore come across as a bit tame to some people. Indeed I myself was slightly surprised that there’s nothing too offensive in the game, but after a bit of time with it, feel the humour wouldn’t have worked so well if there were F-bombs being dropped left, right and centre.
Monty Python isn’t the only thing referenced here; H.P. Lovecraft is amongst one of the playable characters and complete with a repertoire of many Lovecraftian references in his insults. And the final boss is the Omega, but rather the Morgan Freeman interpretation from Bruce Almighty. With a half-decent impression on his unique voice as well.
For all the talk of the repetition of the game, the current going price for Oh… Sir! is £2.39, less than the price of a pint. It’s a game for a night round at your mate’s house and although it won’t fill the whole night, certainly will keep you entertained for a few hours.
And the game itself very much knows this, making reference of the fact in its achievement list. ‘It Gets Boring After an Hour’ is an achievement for playing 100 rounds and whilst that may be slightly harsh on itself, there isn’t enough content here to be able to play 100 rounds without boredom setting in.
Many more of the game’s 17 achievements are for creating certain phrases that have achievement titles associated with the phrase.
It’s going to sound weird but Oh… Sir! is a quite a charming game given the context. It has an art style that certainly will not be winning any awards but is weirdly amusing to look at, much like the rest of the game. It has a very limited lifespan due to the, frankly unacceptable, amount of words included, but it’s very much aware of this fact and even heeds warnings of such in the achievement titles. It’s a quirky title that’s different and for less than the price of a pint down my local Social Club (ironically where I have heard plenty of insults thrown about over the years) is worth it for a few hours of fun.