Oh...Sir! The Insult Simulator is what happens when you take Monty Python and shove it into a card game. What emerges is a very British, very silly turn based strategy game that wears its inspirations on its sleeves from Vile Monarch, the developers behind Crush Your Enemies - a game I reviewed earlier this year.
The core gameplay involves taking turns to pull phrases from a central hand, trying to create an insult that makes sense. You also have two additional phrases in your own private hand which you can use at any time, or redraw them once each round by drinking tea. As I said, this game is heavily British stereotyped. You have 15 seconds to choose a phrase, and there are a lot to choose from.
The phrases all link together and flow nicely, with verbs changing appropriately to fit the number of nouns in your insult on the fly. Oh...Sir! does rely very heavily on the player knowing basic grammar rules, and punishes you by taking a few hit points if you select a phrase that doesn’t fit. This surprisingly affects the AI more than the people online in my experience, with the AI only seemingly able to consider the state of the previous phrase rather than the insult as a whole.
You play as a variety of different stereotypes, each with their own unique phrases and an achilles heel. This is where the strategy comes in: you have to choose phrases that will affect your opponent more and also try and grab the ones that will affect you the most too. This relies heavily on your opponent not knowing what affects you, which is fine against the CPU but not so reliable against people. Adding to this is the combo mechanic, which adds additional damage to your insults if you use the same phrase in successive rounds.
Those character weaknesses never change, and some types of phrases appear more than others. For example, one character is weak to insults about their family and these come up almost every round, whereas there are a couple characters whose weaknesses very rarely ever come up. Online, those characters are just so much stronger, and as far as I can tell they don’t have less health or anything else to balance them.
The online also has a big problem with people disconnecting if they start to lose, and if it happens early enough you don’t get a victory either. It doesn’t take long to find a game and each match takes only a couple minutes, so this isn’t the end of the world like it can be in longer games, but there doesn’t seem to be much punishment for leaving a game. There is also a ranking system which seems to just rate you on win-to-loss ratio, ranking then on how many games played, so as an early starter I found that my ranking changed radically from game to game.
The arenas more than make up for this though: the art itself is quirky and stylistic and each room features a callback to a Monty Python sketch, most notably is the pet shop and the dead parrot sketch. The rooms all add unique phrases, and begin and end with some referential dialogue that gets a laugh the first time you hear it.
Oh...Sir! also has a terrible unlock system, forcing you to replay the CPU campaign to unlock all of the characters. This takes about forty minutes each time, and there are three characters to unlock, so you have to play what is effectively little more than an advanced tutorial for two hours before you have all the characters. The most annoying thing about this is the best characters are unlocked from the start.
My biggest problem is with the scoring: it seems to me that the damage an insult will do is completely arbitrary. In a multiplayer game I took more damage from a standard plain insult than I dealt with a combo insult that hit the opponent's weak spot just because my opponent made it as long as possible. I don’t even think it made much sense, but obviously the scoring seemed to be as erratic as playing Cards Against Humanity with random people online.
Overall, Oh...Sir! The Insult Simulator is great fun - for a short while. Once you’ve learnt all of the weaknesses, the tactical elements come down to trying to grab all the nouns before your opponent can finish their insult. The humour loses its edge after hearing the same dialogue a few times, and it didn’t take long for the novelty of the strange insults to wear off. The online community is currently pretty thriving but leavers and the lack of progression sours what would make a great online experience.
Oh...Sir!! The Insult Simulator (Reviewed on Windows)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
A briefly funny but ultimately shallow experience that throws all of the progression into the less interesting mode and wears its inspirations on its sleeves.