|System: Wii (WiiWare), PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: TellTale Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: TellTale Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 11, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
Telltale Games is among a select few developers and publishers to fully embrace the bite-sized model of digitally distributed gaming vignettes, but episodic gaming is catching on, as the quality of the titles being released continues to improve. With the launch of yet another humor-packed episodic series, they're poised to build on the forward momentum gained in recent years by quirky adventure game adaptations of Bone and Sam & Max. The premiere episode of their latest endeavor, Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, suggests this could be Telltale's most addictive series to date.
As a spinoff of the hilarious Homestar Runner flash web cartoon, SBCG4AP crams an impressive level of wackiness and fun into a relatively short timeframe. The first episode, Homestar Ruiner, clocks-in at only a few meager hours, yet every second immersed in Strong Bad's bizarre realm is time well spent. Nintendo's WiiWare service provides the perfect venue for this new series, though PC owners who've enjoyed Telltale's other episodic titles don't have to miss out on the fun.
Strong Bad has to be one of the most entertaining villains imaginable. As the shirtless, lucha libre, mask-toting, prankster nemesis of Homestar - the cartoon series' super athletic yet mentally dim star - he's a walking bag of gags and frequent source of comic relief. Armed with a mischievous irreverence for most other living creatures residing in Free Country USA, and a love of video games, talking about making out with girls, and generally being cool, Strong Bad is the perfect candidate to score his own ego-centric gaming. Of course, the rest of the gang is all here (including Homestar, Marzipan, The Cheat, The King of Town, The Poopsmith, Bubs, Pom Pom, and other popular main characters), but they primarily serve as cannon fodder for Strong Bad's warped comedy machine. Long-time Homestar fans may get all the subtle winks and nods littering this adventure right away, but it won't take long for newcomers to develop a taste for the series' humor.
The game opens with Strong Bad answering e-mails in his typically over-the-top fashion when he's reminded Homestar Runner is long past due for a good pummeling. He sets out to cause mayhem for his sporty pal at the Free Country USA Race to the End of the Race, but his prank has unintended effects. Strong Bad's efforts to resolve the situation sets off a chain reaction of side-splitting chaos throughout the remainder of the episode. It's easily worth taking the extra time to click on everything possible just to hear Strong Bad's unruly comments. The open-ended, explorative nature of the episode lets you venture around at your own pace, but there are also plenty of other diversions along the way. Trimming hedges into the shape of rock guitars and Trogdor (a serpent monster with a muscled human arm), playing Snake Boxer 5 (it's 83 percent snake handler approved!) on the FunMachine, taking pictures of Strong Bad in silly outfits, and making your own Teen Girl Squad comics are among other entertaining endeavors to occupy your time with.