Your math teacher dances like a platypus. Your father smells of elderberries. Your country is no longer in Europe. If some of these insults tickle your fancy, then Oh, Sir! The Insult Simulator might just be the game you’ve been looking for. Born out of a Global Game Jam from the very comedy oriented minds over at Vile Monarch, Oh, Sir! is a game that focuses entirely around insulting the pants off your opponent.
Oh, Sir! starts off with a very accessible tutorial, introducing you to the whole jist of the game and how you can string together your insults. The algorithm favors grammatically correct sentences, chastising you and taking points off if you attempt otherwise. Apart from that, the rounds are quite simple: Make the largest, most offensive sentence as possible. Making your insults is based on a little bit of RNG and a little bit of good thinking. One thing I will say is that ultimately, Vile Monarch’s sense of humor is what prevails when deciding which insult is better. At times I will admit it has left me rather puzzled when receiving points.
Starting up the game, you either have the choice for a quick game against the computer, tournaments against the computer, or against friends. The game does also favor couch co-op, which always wins points in my book. When browsing the settings of the PlayStation 4 version of the game, the servers are now equipped to deal with cross platform play, which does widen the roster of people that you can play with online, and only has an ever so slight delay when matchmaking with a different console or PC. Of course, your plan may be to simply hone yourself playing against the computer, however you will quickly outmatch them after completing a tournament or quite a few warm up games. It really does shine when it comes to playing against other sirs or madams.
When it comes to the art style of Oh, Sir! it does take a rather unique approach and uses short caricatures of different stereotypes of British culture originally. Through updates to the game over time, the roster has expanded. The original list of characters were simple and made up by the creators. Now, players can choose to play as the renowned writer H.P. Lovecraft, or even Lo Wang of Shadow Warrior fame. In order to unlock the extra characters (including the extra special character) you will have to grind tournament mode a few times, using different characters each time. Characters seem to have a nice range of cosmetic differences, from being fully voiced to entirely different designs and styles. The only important differences between each insult-giver are their weaknesses (i.e. what will score the most points if you manage to pull them up for it).
As stated earlier, this game really does shine when it comes to couch co-op. I found that I had around ten times as much fun as I did playing opposite a friend than when insulting the computer. Very much like real life, it’s far more fun to insult someone who can insult you back. With another person in the room, the game becomes somewhat strategic, as you both eye each other up to make sure neither of you takes that last bloody ‘and’ in order to extend your insult. Unlike other characters, I found that Serious Sam from the series of the same name can also be unlocked through co-op, which should be good news to people who wish to unlock more characters without wanting to grind.
When it comes to the game’s soundtrack, it is very simply a collection of classical music. This at first may sit well with you as you ponder your phrasing, but after a few rounds of the tournament you may find yourself thinking, “If I have to hear another rendition of ‘Four Little Swans’ from Swan Lake I may just end it now”. Luckily, you can always just play with the music off, or drown it out whilst playing with a friend. One disappointing thing would be the remix from the credit sequence, well, the fact that there isn’t more music like that in the game, as I found it the most enjoyable piece of music in my entire experience.
Overall, I would say this game takes heavy influence from the Monty Python series and other British shows and culture. It is very clear to see where the humour lies, being a fan of these shows myself. There are scenes evocative of famous scenes, the Dead Parrot sketch, for example. With the way the game is presented, it is also easy I believe for anyone who may not even be a fan of the shows to pick it up and still have a blast insulting their mates.
In closing, I’ll leave Vile Monarch with one little interesting fact – it’s a maths teacher, not a math teacher.