Speaking Simulator is a game about an android with anxiety who's trying to pass as human

Speaking Simulator, on the surface at least, is very clearly a gag game in the vein of, say, Goat Simulator. The premise—you're an android trying to infiltrate human society through the power of casual conversations, a process that involves using WASD keys to manipulate your tongue while simultaneously maneuvering your jaw with your mouse—is is inherently silly. But it's also apparently quite good: Jody said in 2018 that it "turned out to be one of the best upcoming games I saw at PAX Australia" that year.

The road to world domination starts off simply enough, with things like first dates and job interviews, but assuming you don't blow it, you'll eventually yourself in more high-pressure situations in front of larger audiences. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like you're a particularly temperate robot, and the more you fumble your words, the more nervous and flustered you'll become. Go too far off the rails, and your face will begin to fall apart and eventually explode, which is liable to give away your big secret.

"Words are hard, and a lot of us who are unquestionably human take that for granted," Affable Games co-founder Jed Dawson said. "When we started making Speaking Simulator we realized the concept of pushing words out of mouth-holes is actually incredibly funny and gross, and therefore ripe for a comedy game."

Speaking isn't the only challenge you'll have to overcome. As your campaign progresses, you'll also need to learn how to smile, how to frown, and how to avoid uncomfortable eye contact. But not all eye contact, because that would be weird too, and not being weird is the goal here, even though weirdness is obviously central to the experience. For players who'd rather get straight to that without all the hassles of human society, Speaking Simulator will also have a "Self Expression Mode" in the form of a club where humans and robots can drop their masks and dance.

Speaking Simulator missed its expected release in late 2019, but Affable Games said today that it will go live on Steam on January 30. Find out more at affablegames.com.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.