App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Do you remember the days of the B-tier video game? You know, the games that come along that seem pretty ambitious, but don't quite have the funding to be a polished AAA experience? Well, Her Majesty's SPIFFING feels a lot like one of those. This extremely British space-faring adventure game shoots for the moon and manages to stick the landing despite its shortcomings.
SPIFFING has you take control of Captain Frank Lee English, who has been tasked by the Queen of England to discover new worlds in the final frontier of space. With nothing but your ship (which looks quite a bit like a Mini Cooper) and your crewmate, you set a course for a new planet, wondering what awaits you there.
Since SPIFFING is an adventure game though, things are as simple as just flying to a planet and claiming it as your own. The very outset of the game begins with conflicts like deciding who is supposed to go make tea and fixing the entire ship by turning it off and then on again.
If it isn't clear enough yet, SPIFFING is not a particularly serious game. It's full of jokes, references, and plenty of fourth wall-breaking in ways that are mostly pretty clever. I wouldn't necessarily say that I had many “laugh out loud” moments when playing it, but its humor is good enough to carry you through the experience.
Most of SPIFFING's jokes center around the game's British-centric theming though, which could mean that certain lines may reference things you aren't completely familiar with. There are also other gags that I felt would lead to something in SPIFFING's plot, but ultimately were just one-off jokes. None of this makes SPIFFING's sense of humor seem “bad,” but it does make it a specific type of humor that might not appeal to everyone.
Under British control
The only thing that irked me while playing SPIFFING was the game's controls. Rather than being a point-and-click adventure game, SPIFFING gives players direct control over Captain English via an on-screen joystick. Players simply tap and drag to pilot English through polygonal environments with fixed camera angles that will change when you approach a point of interest, enter a different room, etc.
Since there isn't really much timing or reaction-based stuff in SPIFFING, these controls aren't a huge problem. That said, controlling the game is still annoying because your character moves extremely slowly. There is the ability to tap on the screen to move your character, which can occasionally prompt them to run, but this doesn't really alleviate things. Wandering between rooms using a slow walking animation is simply not fun.
The bottom line
SPIFFING may look a bit cheap, and its controls can be bothersome, but it's a solid adventure game nonetheless. It's a funny game (an impressive feat) that has some clever puzzles, which is most of what you need out of a quality adventure game. It's humor may not be for everyone, but SPIFFING is certainly worth picking up for some very British adventuring.