Nestled in an out-of-the-way corner of PAX East hid a curious little booth. A papier-mâché human head with an alarmingly long tongue signified the booth for Australian developer Affable Games’ Speaking Simulator. It was such a bizarre booth setup that our curiosity was certainly piqued. What we did not expect was just how much fun we’d have playing this game about robots trying to be people as a means of taking over the world.
First impressions of the game itself land it pretty firmly in the camp of games like Goat Simulator. It’s something so irreverently off-kilter and bizarre that it becomes instantly mesmerising. The game sees you play a robot disguised as a human with an overarching goal of global domination. However, the gameplay focuses on something a tad more mundane, as you are tasked with moving both your tongue and mouth to approximate human speech as best you can. You work your way through sentences a couple syllables at a time, trying to avoid tripping over yourself as best you can. It’s absolutely bonkers, and surprisingly challenging, as your tongue has bizarre ragdoll physics, and your grasp on being a human comes off as loose at best.
The level we got to play at PAX has you trying to make it through a date with a co-worker, inane chitchat and all. The way you speak and the words you use are just the right mix of bizarre and literal, allowing for virtually every line of dialogue you are tasked with completing working as a joke. It’s made all the better by the fact that the person sitting across the table from you seems just as weirded out by the words tumbling out of your mouth as us, making it even funnier. The demo was about ten or so minutes, and there wasn’t a single moment where we weren’t either smiling or actively cracking up. It was a riot of a time, and the fact that the final product will have a variety of scenarios is promising. If the demo was any indication, the full game will be quite the treat.
It wasn’t necessarily a stable build that we got to play, but much like the aforementioned Goat Simulator, the rough edges of the game actually manage to heighten the experience, rather than hinder it. The way your tongue clips through your mouth looks totally absurd, especially when considering it’s “only” supposed to be moving like a normal speech pattern. And that’s to say nothing of the fact that as you muck up pronouncing syllables - which will happen, trust us - your body starts to malfunction horrifically. Your nose will leak oil, or gyrate uncontrollably, your ears pop out, your eyes fall out. It’s a catastrophic abomination of engineering and every single second is a delight.
The game unfortunately is currently only targeting PC with the expectation of launching this year. But the devs were receptive to the idea of a PlayStation launch when we asked, depending on the response to the game.
Having had a laugh-filled play session with the title, this is a game we’d love to see make its way over to Sony’s platform, maybe even with some form of PSVR compatibility. We’re not entirely sure how a VR mode might work, but something about it feels ripe for virtual reality. It fills a niche for strangeness that PS4 just doesn’t have enough of, and we’d love to see it come to fruition.
What do you think of Speaking Simulator? Does it speak to you, or is it a load of gobbledegook? Have a good old chinwag in the comments below.