25/01/2018

☆ Review: Oh…Sir!! The Insult Simulator & The Hollywood Roast "Gags that fall flatter than uuhh…eerrrmm..ahhhh" ☆ #GameDev

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Developer: Vile Monarch
System Reviewed: Nintendo Switch
Rating: Melting

I first played Oh Sir on Steam last year when I picked the game up in a sale for a few pence. It only provided me with about thirty minutes’ combined worth of entertainment but nonetheless I felt like I had my money’s worth from the game. 

Fast-forward twelve months to playing the same game on the Switch, combined with the spin-off title The Hollywood Roast and it’s fair to say that the joke has worn thin.
The premise of Oh Sir is that your character partakes in an ‘insult battle’ with another person. There are single player, local player and online modes which cater for all play styles. 

One of the main high points of the game is how well-designed and accessible the setup of the game is along with the unique, angular graphical style. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the actual game mechanics.

In Oh Sir, you choose your character from several stereotypes, the old fuddy-duddy, the cackling old bag, the elderly toff, (and H. P. Lovecraft, naturally) etc. and then do battle by choosing your options from an in-game menu to construct sentences with which to attack your enemy (the actual in-game screen is set out in a two player fighting game style, complete with energy bars at the top of the screen) the catch is that you take turns, so you may have a corker of a burn lined up but your opponent may steal the segment of the line you are after, leaving you out in the cold. 

The voice-overs are strong and well-recorded and the sound-effects and music all add to the game’s unique style. The main issue with the game is the actual sentence-building is clunky and a lot of the options aren’t particularly funny.


 

In Oh Sir the humour is derived from a sort of surrealist approach. One of the levels is lifted almost verbatim from the famous ‘Dead Parrot’ Monty Python sketch and it’s possible to build a sentence like “Your grandmother still uses Windows Vista” or “Your dad doesn’t own a colour telly and smells awful” which are simple, but amusing. 

However, too often you’ll end up being forced to make a sentence that either doesn’t quite flow, doesn’t make sense or just plain isn’t funny. 

The problems are even more visible in The Hollywood Roast where not only does the repetition of the game become more apparent in that by the third round in, you’ve pretty much heard all the game has to offer but the characters are parodies of people like Harry Potter, Gandalf and Marilyn Monroe so the scope of humour is even narrower so you end up a lot of the time with lines like “Your ex looks like my old red carpet dress and your plastic surgery is your so-called career”. There are also references to the Weinstein brothers and gags about cancer that seem ill-fitting making The Hollywood Roast feel a more unpleasant experience than the relatively light-hearted and surreal Oh Sir.

The game is clearly a budget title and priced as such. The actual idea of an insult-based game is unique (The Secret of Monkey Island aside) and there are some nice ideas here but it feels like the designers need better writers to get the most out of the game. It’s like watching an unscripted comedy movie where it seems the actors are having more fun than the audience. 

Oh Sir is easily the stronger game here with The Hollywood Roast being wisely dubbed as a sin-off as opposed to a sequel due to the identical gameplay.  The only real difference in game play with The Hollywood Roast is that you have a ‘comeback’ meter that can be used to tie-off insults that you are struggling to find and ending for, but these comebacks aren’t funny and seem quite generic so they don’t really add anything to the game.


Summary
If you are intrigued in the game, it’s only a couple of quid and you’ll easily get value from it. 

It’s a fun game to pop on for a few minutes to show to people…once. 

Then the novelty wears off. Beyond the hit and miss humour of the games, the clunky point system and sentence structure mechanics are what really needs work. 

I’d rather pay two or three times as much and have a more fully realised game that what is being offered at the moment, personally but judging from the high positivity rating on Steam, I could be in the minority here.

RATING: MELTING
Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)