Monday, September 22, 2008

Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People - Episode 2: Strong Badia The Free

For Wii and PC
Released in September 2008 by Telltale Games and Videlelectrix.

This second entry in the Homestar Runner-themed games comes in a month after the first which means it gets to the gamer at least 24 times faster than the Half-Life 2 Episodes of which Episode 3 should arrive sometime around 2012.

As in our review for Episode One of the Strong-Bad game, this is again a game that if you like the Homestar Runner cartoons, you'll like this, and if you don't like Homestar Runner cartoons, you might not like this.

This game is (surprise) again an adventure game. In my opinion, this episode presents a more compelling plot than the first episode. The King of Town has suddenly imposed a harsh tax on e-mails. Since this affects Strong Bad the most, and he isn't going to pay, he gets an explosive device fitted around his neck that will go off if he tries to leave his house. Of course, this leads to the first part of the adventure - trying to get out of your house without your head exploding. Once that is done, Strong Bad decides to rebel and form his own country, hence the title.

Everyone else decides to rebel too and pretty soon everyone has their own country, from Bubs' Concessionstan to Pompomarania. Strong Bad wants to unite these countries under his own flag and go after the King of Town. So, with a Maps and Minions board (A game not unlike RISK) for a map, he goes on a quest to conquer all, complete with a History-Channel like narration and grainy sepia-toned film to narrate successes in his endeavor.

It's got the usual good writing from the Brothers Chaps. Funny, clean, with pop culture references thrown in. For the Homsar fans (The incredibly strange man based off a typo) this episode contains a lot more Homsar and his floating strangeness. There's even a chance to bring him down to a sane level in the game for a brief time. Excitement abounds.

There's a few side games like before, like doing cave paintings of "Cave Girl Squad" and collecting the instruction manual for the Atari-like game Math Kickers Featuring the AlgeBros.

The graphics in this Episode are slightly improved. It's not saying much considering this is not meant to be something to run your graphics card into the ground, but you can tell they spiffied up the textures a bit and the animation seems a little smoother. There's a few glitches from time to time like the first episode, but nothing major.

The game itself is not too hard - the puzzles are relatively easy once you figure out the right interactions. Actually, I've found it to be slightly easier than the first episode, the only part that gets a little frustrating is the end game which actually involves a game and strategy and---thinking. Ergh. Why don't I just play Myst? From the 1990s? (It was a game involving puzzles)

Even with this little endgame of frustration, the game shouldn't take more than ten hours of play to complete. It's a good little funny game for the Wii, and considering a lot of what's been on the Wii lately has been utter crap, this might be one you want to pick up. Unless you have a PC. It's out for that as well. Then you may have to weigh your options a bit.

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