If anyone needed an example of how to make light of a difficult situation, then they may well look the way of Her Majesty’s SPIFFING (HMS). The Brexit vote split the country almost precisely in half, so what better subject matter to cover in a satirical video game format?
Her Majesty’s SPIFFING Review – Nintendo Switch
With the outcome of the vote the same in this fictional universe, the Queen has decided to exercise her power to dissolve parliament and rule the country by herself. And what would any self-respected queen do upon her first day in office? That’s right; launch a space exploration program. More specifically the SPIFFING initiative, standing for Special Planetary Investigative Force For Inhabiting New Galaxies.
In charge of this brave exploratory mission into space is Captain Frank Lee English and at his side is his Welsh counterpart Aled. As the name suggests, Frank is the epitome of British-ness and loves a good cup of tea and living up to as many stereotypes as possible in a short space of time. HMS is a puzzler set in the ship on which Frank and Aled travel in their attempt to find pastures new for Britain to expand its Empire once more.
This plays out much like other puzzlers that have come before it, not too dissimilar to the games by Telltale and harking back to puzzle games of old such as Monkey Island. Completing puzzles keeps you on course to reach your destination and sees you fishing a metal detector out of a litter tray, sending frogs to sleep and tipping hot tea over Aled. It’s a fun game that takes a tried and tested mechanic and gives it a light-hearted twist, not taking itself too seriously.
The stereotypes it relies on to incite humour can sometimes border on cringy, but I think it just about gets away with it. The puzzles can often be obscure, leaving you scratching your head and traipsing around the ship trying to find a solution. If there was one thing I had to say about HMS is that it is over far too quickly. I know it is only one episode of what will hopefully be a succession of outings for the team at Billy Goat Entertainment, but I finished it in super quick time. If the game had multiple outcomes, which it doesn’t, then it would have a bit more longevity. Without that replay value is very limited, but the humour it gives you just about carries it through.