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15 Comments

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

4
  • WSHP
  • PC

Strong Bad goes all Che Guevara in Episode 2, with amusing results.

The Art of War, Strong-Bad-style.
It's one month later, and Telltale returns with the second installment in its webcomic-inspired episodic adventure game, Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: Strong Badia the Free. While it shows no signs of building any overarching story for the “season”, and the basic formula remains unchanged, it's a much fuller and funnier experience than the first episode.

The game opens with the traditional, ceremonial email reading, this time asking Strong Bad about the dumbest law the King of Town has ever passed. One non sequitur leads to another, and after an incident involving snack cakes, house arrest, and  “taxation without representin',” Strong Bad frees himself from the oppressive, gravy-stained tyranny of the King of Town. With Strong Badia now a sovereign nation, the other residents of Town follow suit, each establishing their own, tailor-made fiefdom.

A good deal of humor is mined from punny, made-up country names and the residents' bizarre takes on international relations--Bubs' Concession Stand hosts a poorly stocked black market for weapons, cultural artifacts, and organs, and Strong Mad's idea of diplomacy is to just yell “DIPLOMACY!” There are also some good wartime newsreel gags, and even a reference to Ken Burns' Civil War. Fans should appreciate the increased presence of Homsar, who delivers a number of amusingly nonsensical gems. Amusing is actually a pretty good description of Strong Badia the Free in general--there were a few laugh-out-loud moments, but I was highly amused throughout.

THE POOPSMITH!
One of my issues with the first episode was a general sense of aimlessness, something Strong Badia the Free curbs by providing a clearer, single objective for the majority of the game. This isn't to say that there aren't some befuddling puzzles scattered throughout, but they're not too arbitrary, and the game generally avoids frustration. Strong Badia the Free reuses a few lines from the first episode, but the game introduces as many new locations as it revisits, and it doesn't yet feel overly recycled. It also seems a little longer than the first episode, by maybe an hour or so.

The lack of a continuing plot might hurt Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People's ability to keep players coming back in the long run, but considering the self-contained nature of Strong Bad Email, it's kind of fitting. So far, though, the episodes have been funny enough to keep me coming back anyway.
15 Comments
Posted by SamStrife

The game sounds really cool.  I wish it came to the PSN :(

Posted by Gnubberen

I really LOL'ed at Strong Mad's country name... :D

Posted by LordAndrew

All future reviews should include a link to Strong Bad's e-mails. :)

Posted by Foil1212

Is it weird that I had Strongbad's voice in my head reading this review?

Posted by Kohe321

The game sounds kind of awesome. Think I'll pick up episode 1 and try it out for myself.

Posted by iAmJohn

Really, Ryan?  I thought this one was WAY easier and shorter than Homestar Ruiner, even on low hints.  Maybe it was just because the puzzles had a little more of a logical flow to them, but I pretty much breezed through Strong Badia the Free.  It was a lot funnier and had some cooler mechanics than Ruiner, though.  Overall, I'd say it's as good as the first one - better writing and more interesting mechanics, but the puzzles themselves were a little too simple.

Posted by MeatSim

woah, that's a creepy looking smile on cartoon Ryan there.

Posted by ahoodedfigure

Ryan's photo for the four star has to be my single favorite of all the caricatures :)

Posted by Kraznor

Alright, I had a decent time with the first episode so I'll probably give this a look. Think I'll get it on PC this time though, the Wii controls just don't add much and yet it costs more.

Posted by calf_exercises

ahah nice review man!
and I really like the cartoon of ryan at the top.

Posted by yellownumber5

I just got to post that I also I agree to liking this Ryan 4star image... I hear him giggling in the background which to me captures a rare Ryan moment when he actually gets excited about something.

Posted by Gamer_152

Good review, sounds like a funny game.

Moderator
Posted by Relys

Ryan, that cartoon of you creeps the fuck out of me... In an awesome sort of way!

Posted by Highlander

You look quite the giddy figure, Ryan.

Posted by TomA

I'm getting this one.BTW i got a strongbad Tshirt at PAX for 15 bucks,shirts FTW!!!!