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Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People.  The title alone clues you into the quirky humor the web-based Homestar Runner cartoons are known for.  The series is also known for fondly poking fun at retro relics such as floppy disk-based PC games and the TurboGrafx, so it comes as little surprise that an ideal game version of the Strong Bad Emails cartoon would be based on the point and click adventures of yesteryear.  Does Telltale Game’s combination of old school gameplay and surreal humor strike an enjoyable balance in Homestar Ruiner, or will you feel burninated after playing?

The game begins with a short song by Strong Bad regarding your inability to handle his “style.”  Like the web-based cartoons, you begin the actual game by answering an email from Strong Bad’s “lappy.”  This one is regarding why the luchador mask-wearing antihero has never “beat the snot” out of Homestar?  The rest of the game is a loosely strung together series of events building towards the mucosal maiming of Homestar.  You’ll rig “The Race to the End of the Race,” sneak into the King of Town’s castle, and try to mend Homestar and Marzipan’s strained relationship.  Most of the plot points revolve around Strong Bad undoing his mischievous deeds.

Marzipan is Homestar's vegan girlfriend

Marzipan is Homestar's vegan girlfriend

To commit said deeds, you navigate Strong Bad around his world by using the mouse or Wiimote to point and click where you’d like him to walk.  As you traverse, you’ll discover new sections of the world, which you are free to place where you choose on the customizable map.  Whilst exploring, if you find an object that looks interesting in the environment, you can click on it to see if it’s interactive or collectable.  This boils down to figuring out which inventory item to use on which set piece.  For the most part, the item combinations for progressing make sense, such as using a hedge clipper on hedges, but sometimes the solution is far more obscure, like finding out what to do with a toilet drain, a plunger, and an air vent.  Even if you fail an attempt at puzzle solving, the result is usually amusing and you won’t usually mind trying again.  Too many reattempts, however, result in repetitive dialogue that may grate on your already thinning patience.

You won't know what you're searching for until you find it

You won't know what you're searching for until you find it

Strong Bad’s adventure will take around 2 hours to complete if you are simply looking to complete the main game, but there are plenty of unlockables to divert your attention.  You can search for buried treasure with the “Tarantula Black Metal Detector,” thus unearthing codes for the playable “Snake Boxer 5” retro game, or ideas for the “Teen Girl Squad” interactive comic.  You can also find clothing and accessories to use in a huge photo booth, complete with changeable scenery.

One way in which SBCGFAP strays from its adventure gaming brethren, is that it never really feels like you are questing for something.  It ultimately feels like a load of disjointed mishaps that tenuously domino to the game’s finale.  This may be true to the web cartoons, but it decreases motivation for play sessions over a half hour.  You’ll probably find yourself playing bits and pieces of the game over a week or so.  However, at $8.95 per episode, or $34.95 for the whole 5 season set, the laughs you’ll get from the innumerable in-jokes are well worth it.  I recommend playing the game with a fellow fan of the series nearby.

Strong Bad will have to fix Homestar's relationship to get him out of his house

Strong Bad will have to fix Homestar's relationship with Marzipan to get him out of his house

Being a long time Strong Bad fan, as well as an admirer of the old King’s Quest/ Sierra adventure game days, this game was a no brainer for me.  If you are wondering about the humor that runs through the game, I recommend checking out www.homestarrunner.com, and watching the Strong Bad Emails and Teen Girl Squad.  If you are already a fan of the series, then I suggest a download for PC or Wii!

Rating Category
8.0 Presentation
The look of the game is colorful and true to the original cartoon, but it's nothing amazing.
How does our scoring system work?
8.0 Gameplay
Simply pointing and clicking. Sometimes it can be tough to click on the thing you want when foreground gets in the way, but it's rare.
10.0 Sound
The voices, music, and songs of SBCGFAP are all incredibly original and hilarious. This game’s witty heart is in the dialogue.
5.0 Longevity
After you beat the game you are free to roam around and search for stuff, and there is the ability to take pictures and play Snake Boxer V. However, the urge to replay an episode is low when there are 4 others to try.
8.0 Overall
If you ever sat in your computer chair after a Strong Bad Email and tinkered with the easter eggs that were hidden after the episode and thought, "I could do this all day," then this is the game for you. Quirky humor and retro gameplay make this a must for fans, or people with a unique sense of humor.

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