Giant Bomb Review

24 Comments

Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 1: Homestar Ruiner Review

3
  • WSHP
  • PC

Strong Bad cordially invites you to have a giant slice of his style.

Strong Bad, relaxing at home with his awesomeness.
Telltale Games continues its quest to restore the relevance of traditional point-and-click adventure games through the employment of irreverent humor, as well as prove that episodic content isn't just an empty marketing promise, with Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. Based on the just-past-their-prime animated shorts found on Homestarrunner.net (it's dot com!), Strong Bad seems to demand a little more familiarity with the source material than Telltale's Sam & Max series did. As someone who went through a serious Strong Bad phase, I've found the initial experience to be amusing at best, and mildly pleasant at worst.

Like Telltale's Sam & Max series, Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People will be divvied up into monthly episodes, each clocking in at a few hours. The inaugural episode, Homestar Ruiner, kicks off with Strong Bad--the braggadocious luchador-man-thing who offers senseless advice to anyone who cares to send him a poorly written email--being goaded into beating the snot out of the blithely irritating and armless Homestar Runner. The pummeling gets postponed, however, as Homestar is too busy preparing for the upcoming Free Country USA Tri-Annual Race to the End of the Race. Strong Bad instead focuses his energies on sabotaging Homestar's bid for the race's grand prize, the Silver Trophy of Ultimate Destiny, a plan that ends up having unforeseen consequences for Strong Bad.

Much of the comedy in Homestar Ruiner comes from silly wordplay and the varied and absurdly fabricated patois of the various characters who populate this weird Flash-based pocket dimension. Fans will appreciate appearances by nearly every supporting player in the world of Homestar Runner, from the King of Town to Homestar's ill-conceived doppelganger, Homsar. The Teen Girl Squad makes a small appearance that had the net effect of causing me to shout “fundamentals!” and then chuckle to myself for days after playing the game.

Strong Bad makes Coach Z's jorb harder than it should be.
It's worth noting that the Brothers Chaps, the creative force behind Strong Bad, seem to have been pretty involved in the game's development--helping out with the writing, providing all of the appropriate voices, and penning the game's irrefutably awesome opening song. While Jeff contends that Homestar himself is maybe a touch too coherent here, I maintain that, considering the dialog-heavy nature of a point-and-click adventure game, it stays about as true to the source material as could be expected. This extends to the game's presentation, which capably translates the look of colorful 2D Flash animations into modest polygons.

The actual adventure gameplay in Homestar Ruiner is there largely to move the story along and service the humor. It avoids the kinds of obscure puzzles that contributed to adventure games becoming the exclusive domain of weirdly obsessive pixel-hunters. There may be a few points where it's unclear where you need to go next, but the game generally does a good job of nudging you in the right direction. This style of gameplay works just as well on the PC as it does in the WiiWare version, though given the option, the PC version is preferable--it benefits from higher resolutions, and the WiiWare version can occasionally be a little stuttery.

As the first episode of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, Homestar Ruiner feels fairly self-contained--you just don't get the sense that the events of this episode will really inform whatever happens next. While demand for this style of gaming and for Homestar-licensed products both peaked a while ago, it's an enjoyably goofy diversion.
24 Comments
Posted by Sweedums

wow... a review of a PC game.... thats a first! Good review though :)

Posted by Homeslice

I am very much looking forward to this, on the ol' PC. Gotta play a point-and-click on a PC.

Posted by mellenman

i thinks it s a 5 star game!

Posted by JonDavis

Thanks for that elaboration there mellenman!

Great review Ryan.

Posted by Milkman

Damn, I was expecting a bit more out of this game. Out well, it's not like there's a shortage of downloadable games.

Posted by AndrewB

That's pretty much what I was expecting. This game is about a year or two too late, but I'll admit I've still thought about buying it. I'll also admit that when I heard word of the game coming out, it briefly reignited my love of sbemails.

Posted by MetalGearSunny

Nice review and way to keep them coming!

Posted by Paul

Wait, Ruiner? 

Posted by LordAndrew

I might end up getting the PC version.

What distribution service are they using? GameTap?
Edit: Okay, looks like you download it from Telltale's website.

Posted by F1

I can't get this game. I'm not attractive.

Posted by Yit

Cool. I may pick up the season at some point.

Posted by DualReaver

Just because I'm an egomaniac and this game is just for attractive people, I am buying it to feed ma ego. :D

Posted by joey

I'm too cool and attractive to get this game.

Posted by mikevanpwn

The game is awesome, I'd give it 5 stars, I used to visit the site daily a few years back, its good to come back and revisit it. 

Posted by Aaox

Well... I only started watching sbemails last year, starting with 'hygene' and I've been hooked ever since, so I can't wait to get this game. I bet you Trogdor'll be in it somwhere around the line. Probably last episode.

TROGDOR
Posted by Sharpshooter

wow that is one long ass name.

Posted by Tovan

I liked the game on the PC, but I agree that in the future Telltale needs to stick with their puzzle concepts. The game just felt too easy, which made it boring at points.

Posted by patrick

WSHP is the reason there should be WVC and WW

Posted by Gnubberen

I liked it very much, very funny game, if you're a fan of the site!

Btw totally looking forward to the Telltale office raid you guys was talking about on the bombcast

Online
Posted by skrutop

I bet luchadeer would've given it a 5

Posted by AndrewGaspar

I'm tempted to buy it, but I have too many other games coming up.

Posted by delicious_lie

the whole teen girl squad thing was very funny, the first time

Posted by ferrarimanf355

Are there any thatched-roof cottages for Trogdor to burninate?

Posted by coonce

yeah - i totally think luchadeer would've given it a 5!