Oh... Sir! The Insult Simulator (Switch) Review

Oh... Sir! The Insult Simulator (Switch) Review

I went to a renaissance fair one year and found a performer whose whole act was about insulting people. The more you paid him, the more cutting his insults got. The whole act was just him on stage, people throwing money at him to insult their friends, and him just letting loose a string of cutting remarks according to amount he'd been given. Since we no longer have flyting competitions and it's not like you can make money playing The Dozens, he was making a living doing what he could. For those of us less personally skilled in the art of insulting wordplay, we have Oh... Sir! The Insult Simulator to give us the experience of being like that professional insulter.

Oh... Sir! (a name which will slowly drive me crazy as I have to retype it because of those ellipses) isn't exactly the deepest entertainment in the world, but it does a great job as one of those games you load up for five or ten minutes while you're waiting to do something else. With super-low setup and stakes, it’s a perfect game to bust out when you’re for example waiting for your meal in a restaurant. It’s been out for smart phones for a while, and it works just as well on the Switch. Perhaps even better, since the larger screen makes it easier to share for local multiplayer. 

Between each player there's a column of subjects, conjunctions, and insults, which you and your opponent take turns pulling out to build up your invectives. As far as I could tell, there wasn't any cap on how long an insult can be. As long as there are words available and you can string them together, you can keep adding to the insult, thus insulting more and more things. Additionally, everyone has two "pocket words" that they can swap out at will. These can be generic insults, but also more personalized insults for each character.

The multiple characters have personalities, so each of them has a "weakness"; subjects for insults that will affect them more. One character hates when his sense of fashion is mocked, another doesn't like it when you point out how close to death she is. If you hit those weaknesses, it does more damage to the enemy. Additionally, with the pocket words, you'll get things that are just for your character.

As a last main strategy, you can also combo the things you're insulting across rounds. If you land an insult about opponent’s math teacher, and then make your next insult about the math teacher too, you'll get even more points. If luck is on your side, you can keep on chaining and make more and more powerful insults.

As mentioned before, Oh... Sir! isn't exactly the deepest game you'll ever play, but it works really well for what it is. Playing with people is definitely the highlight, preferably face to face so you can see how every insult lands and have fun building it up. Still, it works even online pretty well too. There's a single-player mode too, which gives you a chance to practice against a computer, but it's a little flawed. The AI isn't exactly amazing, so being hit with insults like "your country is your math teacher" isn't uncommon - even on the final round of the tournament mode. Usually insults like that don't score very high, but if AI keeps making nonsense insults while chaining subjects together, they can get surprisingly powerful. 

Oh, it also costs $2.

I do have a couple of other issues with the game. Some of the writing around the scenarios isn't so good, and some of them are just straight rips-offs, like the parrot sketch from Monty Python. Also, the design for God is based on Bruce Almighty. References are fine but straight pulls like that are just kind of low. Some of the characterizations aren't that great either, mostly regarding Albert, the only black character (aside from God), whose weakness is being mocked him for being poor. The first time I encountered him was in the train cart, where the conflict is basically who belongs in the first class and who doesn't. It was a very unlucky draw that just seemed tasteless as hell.

The guest characters are a little weird too, including Lo Wang from the Shadow Dancer series, and for some reason, H. P. Lovecraft. I know I'm just being stodgy here, but it kind of goes back to what I was saying about weird reference humor. What benefit does the game gain by putting characters like this in? You could make jokes with phrases like "demon's asshole" without it having to be a licensed tie-in.

Oh... Sir! is mostly a delight, a fun little game about just insulting your opponents until you've humiliated them enough that they concede. Though some of the writing isn't to my tastes (and of course, more words would be appreciated), the actual back-and-forth insult trades are really enjoyable. It's fun to string together just the right words to take the opponents down. It's going to be one of my go-to games for when I just need to kill a little bit time, and I hope to see the developers improve on this concept.