|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|
Falling on the easier end of the spectrum, Episode 1 is a pretty basic point-and-click adventure. It's light on gameplay and heavy on the laughs yet manages to provide enough entertainment value to keep players clicking along. The open, sand-box style environment lets you plop new locations on Strong Bad's hand-drawn map when they're available, and the entire game has a laid back feel to it that encourages playing at a casual pace.
Aside from wandering around to check out all the funny tidbits gained from interacting with other characters and enjoying the game's other amusements, the gameplay itself primarily ends up being a combination of item hunts and chatting folks up. While the few puzzles thrown at players are quite clever, they don't require a lot of mental capacity to complete. Most of the puzzles are typically solved by using item A on hotspot or character B. The episode's comedic value more than makes up for its light difficulty, and the many little extras sprinkled into the game are worth checking out.
The colorful, lo-fi flash animations from the cartoon have been replicated in 3D seamlessly. The artistic style is simple, but that's how it's meant to be. For all of the jokes spread around, there are nearly an equal number of visual gags to uncover as well. A voluminous amount of comical voice work, wonky sound effects, and purposely cheesy music also brings the characters and environments to life. The citizens of Free Country USA certainly aren't lacking in the personality and eccentricities departments - this is evident every step of the way.
The differences between both the PC and WiiWare versions of the game are fairly negligible, and either will provide a substantial amount of entertainment. Using the mouse controls on the PC and pointing with the Wii Remote offer similar experiences, though you can turn the latter sideways in classic controller style when playing Snake Boxer 5. Also, you can snap pictures in both versions, but the WiiWare edition lets you send e-mails and pictures taken in the game via Strong Bad's Lappy.
Unless you happen to be an enemy of all things cool and funny, the first installment of Strong Bad is where it's at. This new monthly series shows tons of promise, and the next episode, Strong Badia the Free, looks even more delightfully ludicrous. If you own a Wii or a PC, there's absolutely no reason why you shouldn't throw down some money to pick up Episode 1. Strong Bad's first wacky gaming adventure is highly recommendable, but can you handle his style?
CCC Staff Contributor