This has been a bad year for some of us. Trump is president, Britain voted to leave the European Union, and a number of great people have passed away.
But Her Majesty’s SPIFFING is a glimmer of happiness in a year that can’t end soon enough. The game is almost a must-play for anyone of British heritage, taking every stereotype and keepsake of ‘britishness’ and taking it for a damn good run. From a simple point-and-click comes a hilarious twisting and turning, yet sadly short, adventure which kept me laughing hard for all of it.
The year is after 2016, and Her Majesty, after watching the political embarrassment of 2016, decides that government is no longer fit to rule and takes charge. She sends the spaceship HMSS Imperialise out into the universe, with the goal of claiming land and rebuilding the British Empire. You take the role of veteran and gentleman Captain Frank Lee English, who alongside his mild Welsh sidekick Aled are tasked with exploring the galaxy and establishing a new British Empire.
It is very hard to say what the best part of this game was as so much of it felt so damn good. The game is a point-and-click adventure, reminiscent of older titles such as Sam and Max. The fun of the game is less in the puzzles, as they are relatively simple and straightforward, and more in the exploration of the environment. Movement of fluid and the deliberately small scale of the game means you are never really too far from anything if you need to backtrack.
And boy is the environment filled with things. You never know what will happen interacting with an object, and I was put to tears of laughter by some of the lunacy that you simple do not expect (interact with the toaster, trust me.) Captain English is a wonderful stereotype, and his reactions are spot on and full of wit, working well with the more serious Alec. Little jokes are scattered everywhere and some of the replayability is finding all the little moments hidden away in the ship.
You would be surprised how much a story in such a small adventure twists and turns, adding various references and jokes away as well as many references to the current political climate and the tropes of point-and-click adventures. Everywhere you go has a joke of some kind, even if you have to use trivia knowledge to see it. While the conclusion is a rather sudden end the path there, despite being short, is jam packed making the experience feel more fulfilling. The only disappointment is just how short this game is. While it is a small studio production the price of £14 is extortionate for a 2-3 hour experience depending on how stuck you get and with no real replay value the game is pushing hard on its own worth.
I have to say that Her Majesty’s SPIFFING is one of the most fun games I have played this year. Maybe being British has made the jokes strike home harder than a wider audience would but apart from that one Turbolover scene in Watch Dogs 2 no game has had me in such fits of laughter with its wonderful writing and charming characters. The price will put off a lot of people but for any British person with a sense of humour (insert stereotype of lacking humour here) this game is almost a must play, and one of the few games this year I will give a 10.