Her Majesty’s SPIFFING Review

Richard Walker

2016 is a year that's going to forever live in infamy. It's the year in which an orange-faced buffoon became president elect and the year in which the UK decided it'd be better off divided from the EU. Thankfully, Her Majesty's SPIFFING is here to put it all to rights by sending it up with some rollicking British humour, picking up with a tale set in this most horrible of years. Yes, it's an adventure game that pokes fun at Brexit. Tally-ho!

Here's how it all kicks off: the Queen, no longer content with the dunderhead politicians in Westminster running the government, decides to launch the HMSS Imperialise into outer space. Hitting the big red button, the oh-so British spacecraft (half-Mini Cooper, half Harrier jump jet) blasts off straddling Big Ben (or what's now known as Elizabeth Tower, if you're a stickler for these things), carrying members of the Special Planetary Investigative Force For Inhabiting New Galaxies (SPIFFING), Frank Lee English and his sarcastic Welsh sidekick, Aled Jones.

English and Jones are a likeable wise-cracking duo too, Her Majesty's SPIFFING delivering its own line of satirical tongue-in-cheek humour via its two lead characters. English is an endearing patriotic fool, while Jones is his sardonic foil, always keen to point out the game's genre conventions as and when they crop up. SPIFFING is brilliantly knowing and self-referential, stuffed with homages and nods to other games like Resident Evil and Mass Effect, as well as classic movies like Airplane, Alien, Die Hard, Jurassic Park and Planet of the Apes. It never fails to raise a smirk.

Vitally, however, Her Majesty's SPIFFING is not only a genuinely funny adventure, but also excels in serving up some pretty strong puzzles that put your grey matter through its paces. There's never anything too complicated, but there's a sense of accomplishment when you do manage to wrap your head around some of the game's conundrums. Fittingly, it all starts with English making a cup of tea before the duo look to stake their claim on a barren, lifeless planet.

Its stereotypes, daft puzzles and secrets are also brilliantly referenced in the game's smart achievement list, which rewards you for prodding at the envelope a bit, experimenting with various interactions that you could quite easily miss otherwise. Go through the motions, simply solving SPIFFING's puzzles in workmanlike fashion, and you'll miss a great deal of the game's humour and silly observations. It's definitely worth exploring and spending a little extra time messing around aboard the HMSS Imperialise.

Wearing its Monty Python and other Brit comedy influences on its sleeve, Her Majesty's SPIFFING is a uniquely British adventure game packed with wry wit and a playful sense of fun that's more than welcome in a year of political upset. A game that uses Brexit as its jumping off point, Her Majesty's SPIFFING deals with its subject in a suitably knockabout manner, providing plenty of gleefully silly puzzles, some mildly biting satire and sharp one-liners. Developer Billy Goat has chucked in a bit of everything that more than a few of the jokes are guaranteed to land, even if you're not a cynical old Brit like us lot. Her Majesty's SPIFFING is fun, funny and well worth playing. It's almost enough to bring a patriotic tear to the eye.

Her Majesty’s SPIFFING

Who'd have thought that a game ostensibly about Brexit could not only be so funny, but also provide a selection of clever puzzles to boot? Her Majesty's SPIFFING is all of these things and therefore an adventure game you should most certainly play, if only for a little bit of levity with which to see out 2016.

Form widget
75%
Audio
80%

The music does the job, but the voice acting is superbly delivered, peppering its writing with the right amount of sarcasm to go with its humour.

Visuals
75%

A fair bit of screen tearing rears its head when you're running around as Frank Lee English, but otherwise, everything looks very solid and nicely detailed. SPIFFING is not a bad looking game at all.

Playability
75%

Occasionally fiddly, Her Majesty's SPIFFING has still been neatly adapted for the Xbox One controller, making getting your head around its puzzles nice and straightforward.

Delivery
75%

Worth playing through more than once to mop up all of its political satire and pop culture references, SPIFFING lasts a good 2-3 hours, boasting some smart puzzles and a little bit of lateral thinking, all injected with a sly sense of humour.

Achievements
80%

Not content to cram loads of references and nods into the game, Billy Goat has chucked a bunch into its achievement list too. That it's also a good, solid list is a pleasant surprise. Great stuff.

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