After starting life as a game jam before making its way to Steam, The Insult Simulator now arrives on current-gen consoles. Has the joke worn thin or is insulting people just as much fun as ever?
The Insult Simulator wins points straight away for the originality of its concept. The idea of the game is pretty simple. You and an opponent (either AI or human) take turns to pick words from a list in an attempt to create the most offensive sentences possible. The "better" your invective is, the more damage you do to your foe. Completely deplete their life bar and you win the argument.
Oh...Sir!! The Insult Simulator features a roster of ten characters, all of whom have a particular weakness. For example, Mr J Shufflebottom is insecure about his fashion sense whereas Mrs Maggie is sensitive to jibes about death (because she's old, you see). Exploiting these vulnerabilities can be key to victory. You'll also want to try and make your sentences as long as possible for maximum damage and perform combos by using the same words more than once.
As you might expect, The Insult Simulator gives you plenty of opportunity to create some hilarious and often pretty gross put-downs. This makes the game a good laugh to play, especially with a friend in its local multiplayer mode. It has an incredibly British sense of humour and fans of classic comedies will delight in discovering its slew of references, many of which are lifted straight from Monty Python.
Surprisingly, there is actually a fair bit of strategy to the gameplay, too. You'll need to keep an eye on your opponent's sentence in order to predict which word or phrase they're likely to go for next and you can attempt to sabotage them by taking their best option off the board. However, this turn-based style means that crafting your insults takes a lot of time, much of which is spent just waiting for the other person. This means that some matches go on for a bit too long and can feel like a drag.
Another downside is the lack of insults you have at your disposal. You'll find that words and phrases repeat very often leading to a lot of the same (or at least very similar) combinations. This is a bit hard to understand as I wouldn't have thought it would have taken a lot more effort to add a few more words to the game even for a low-budget indie title such as this. This lack of content is also reflected by the fact that there are only three initial levels to choose from with just a couple more being playable later on. Each one of these features the same intro and outro sequences in spite of which characters are playing, making them all quickly feel repetitive.
You can prolong the experience by playing against a friend either locally or online. The PS4 version has cross-play with PC, meaning console players hopefully won't lack opponents at launch. I was able to find a few PC players to challenge before it officially released on PlayStation 4 without excessive wait times.
Finally, a minor downside is that the scoring system sometimes deducts points for "bad grammar" even when your grammar is fine which can be rather annoying. This in turn discourages you from trying riskier sentences in case you get unfairly marked down for them.
Oh...Sir!! The Insult Simulator is an entertaining and original offering that's worth trying out for its novelty value alone. Although insulting both friends and strangers is fun while it lasts, the lack of available put-downs and scenarios means that it gets repetitive very quickly.
- + Laugh-out-loud funny at times
- + A novel concept for a game
- + Online cross-play between console and PC means more people to play against
- - A very limited selection of words and phrases
- - Only three initial levels
- - Turn-based style can make matches drag