It might be cheating to review a game released on the last few weeks of December almost four months after it came out, but this old chap flew so under the radar that most people don’t even know about its existence. This is Her Majesty’s Spiffing, pretty much the most British game ever created, or at least ever since that one Coronation Street that came out for PC.
Her Majesty’s Spiffing is a point-and-click adventure game just like Grim Fandango and Full Throttle, with a very original and interesting story. To summarise it pretty quickly, the United Kingdom has decided to colonize other planets in order to restore the glory of the former British Empire. You control Frank Lee English (oh, the puns…), and alongside your Welsh co-pilot Aled Jones, your mission is to arrive to a nearby planet and claim it to the Crown.
Most of the game takes place inside your spaceship, the HMSS Imperialise. It might be a small cramped ship, but it has enough items and situations to keep things interesting at most times. It is also full of hidden easter eggs, some of them being taken out from popular culture and other famous videogame franchises. The fact the game holds some secrets is great, making your playthrough a little bit longer. That’s quite necessary in this game.
Sadly, Her Majesty’s Spiffing is a very short game, especially for a point-and-click adventure. The game lasts no longer than four hours, when you know exactly what to do. Even though there quite a lot of puzzles, they are, for the most part, pretty simple, not requiring much for you to solve them. If you’re not acquainted with this type of game, it still wouldn’t last much more than five and a half hours of gameplay. The game is also extremely easy to platinum, for all you trophy hoarders out there.
Given the fact that the game features some choice sections, with results that completely change the storyline, Her Majesty’s Spiffing is enjoyable for a maximum of two playthroughs.
What makes you want to keep on playing this game, and even more than once, is the script, and most importantly, the humour. This game is absolutely hilarious, if you’re into British banter. Welsh jokes, tea jokes, Brexit jokes, Thatcher jokes, Churchill jokes, French jokes, it’s all here and it’s all done in a genius manner. Kudos to the writers for making such a smart and hilarious story.
It also helps that the voice acting is pretty much perfect. Your main character speaks with the most stereotypical posh English accent and mannerisms imaginable, making all of his actions even funnier. The game doesn’t feature that many songs in its soundtrack, but the few included are amazing. And yes, “God Save the Queen” (the anthem, not the Sex Pistols song) is here, of course. Duh.
The game’s visuals are very charismatic. They are also quite fluid and glitch-free. Normally, saying a game is glitch-free visual-wise shouldn’t even be mentioned in a review, but given the fact Telltale dominates the point-and-click market with its games running on a very glitchy engine, it’s always nice to remember there are less buggy options out there in the market. Despite all of this, the game doesn’t have groundbreaking visuals. They are nice and charismatic, but they don’t look any different from a regular PS3 or Xbox 360 game.
The controls are also just okay at best. Bear in mind that porting the control scheme of a point-and-click to a controller is already a commendable feature, and kudos to the developers for doing such job. Of course, the controls and menu handling will feel very weird at first, but you’ll get used to it after a while.
To sum it up, Her Majesty’s Spiffing was a very short but hilarious gaming experience. While not thinking that $18 is a fair price for such a brief adventure, I completely recommend buying it when its price falls. It’s a very unique game out there, and as British as watching a Top Gear rerun on Dave while eating roast on a Sunday afternoon.
Also available on Xbox One and PC