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Review: Oh…Sir!! The Insult Simulator
James Honke reviews the quite unique and attractively funny Oh...Sir!! The Insult Simulator
What does 99p get you these days? A McDonald’s sundae? A £1 shot? A bar of chocolate? Basically nothing worth spending your hard-earned wages on.
Instead, dear reader, might I humbly recommend that you wait for a Steam sale and then buy ‘Oh… Sir!!’ (or you can stump up 60p and buy it now, you wealthy sod). It might be the best 99p you’ll ever spend. Promise.
The game itself is simple, taking the premise of a Street Fighter-esque fighting game and turning it into a literal tongue-bashing. Where in Street Fighter you chain together fast-paced fight moves, “Oh… Sir!!” has you stringing together lists of words to form the longest, most virulent insult possible. Insults range from the classic “your mother is your father” to the patently absurd “your sister is full of eels”, with a pinch of gaming or Brexit-themed savagery along the way. The game encourages a level of brutality that should come with an ESRB warning, encouraging you to combo long insults for bigger health hits and to go after your opponent’s weakness, no matter how low the blow. Don’t hold back, the game whispers… hit them right in the insecurities.
This works very well in the single-player, which, while short, gives you the opportunity to verbally duke it out against a number of other player characters before a ridiculous encounter with the big G-man himself. The strategy is surprisingly deep, requiring you to take chances and plan out your insults in advance. Do you go for a short-but-sweet insult so that you can get that all important finishing word off the board? Do you take a risk that one of your ‘private’ words will come up trumps when you stop for tea? Or do you string together the longest insult you can and pause for breath, desperately hoping that your opponent won’t be able to take advantage? Enough complexities abound beyond the simple façade to keep the game from becoming repetitive, at least for the duration of the ‘campaign’.
This is especially important since there’s not even a half-hearted attempt at a story here (something I would normally be frustrated by, but not when it’s this funny), just good ol’ verbal fisticuffs in a range of pretty but static environments. The art style, like the game, is simple but amusing, a loving homage to the original “Oh… Sir!” (which came out of a 48 hour game jam and is still free on Steam) whilst the sound effects are beautifully yet ridiculously dubbed. The characters are living stereotypes (mostly British ones) and provide another layer of gorgeous slapstick over proceedings, as every character comes replete with a preposterous accent and goofy backstory.
The game really shines, however, in local multiplayer. If you’re looking for a short-term, silly party game then look no further, since “Oh… Sir!!” takes very little explanation and provides some real belly laughs. There’s nothing quite like looking your friend in the eyes as the computer stiltedly abuses them in the thickest, poshest British accent you’ve ever heard. “Your mother is a hamster and tells dirty jokes at funerals, you cross-eyed, inbred muckspout!” it cries, as you stare them down, daring them, defying them to stop you. Damn right, you think, as they silently accept a 50-point M-M-Monster hit right in the emotional gonads. Damn fucking right.
Oh yeah, and playing online is also fun.
This stupid satisfaction is also the game’s biggest weakness. If you don’t have a steady stream of friends with whom to duel, the game lacks any real longevity or replay value. The strategy is deep and the gameplay satisfying, but since so much of the satisfaction relies on the amusement of the insults and the absurdity of the setting, it also starts to fall apart as you start to see the same phrases over and over. With prolonged play, the game starts to become dull and the sound - which was funny at first - begins to grate. Having said that, for 99p (or £1.59) you’ll easily get 4 or 5 hours out of the game before you get there, so you still get your money’s worth. And you can rediscover it every six months for the rest of your life and have an hour of two of farcical fun.
Can’t say fairer than that.