Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People – Episode 2: Strong Badia the Free
When all was said and done at the end of Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People – Episode 1: Homestar Ruiner, I was a little let down. The game just didn’t live up to my expectations for the series. There wasn’t a lot to do, there was too much trial and error, and the episode didn’t do all the much with the source material. It seemed afraid to deviate too far from the Web site that the episodic adventure series is based on. I was left wondering if the series would ever pick up steam and become both a unique part of the Homestar Runner universe and a captivating gaming experience.
To make a long review short, Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People – Episode 2: Strong Badia the Free managed to live up to my hopes. With an original storyline, plus more environmental interaction and stronger puzzles, the game delivers a solid, albeit short episodic experience that should please fans of the series. While the humor might not be mainstream enough that casual adventure fans will enjoy it, more daring adventurers should find enough here to keep them entertained for the three or so hours it takes to complete the game.
Like the last adventure, Strong Badia the Free opens with our loveable anti-hero Strong Bad once again “checkin’ da e-mail.” A reader asks Strong Bad “what’s the worst law the King of Town has ever enacted.” Before Strong Bad has a moment to think about the response, he’s busted for tax evasion. Apparently, the villainous King of Town created a new tax on e-mail demanding that e-mail users give the King a snack cake for every e-mail sent or received. To make matters worse, the law is retroactive. Strong Bad is sentenced to house arrest for tax evasion and a device is put around his neck to blow his head off if he crosses through his front door.
When Strong Bad does finally escape his punishment with the help of his friends, he declares his intentions to secede from the King of Town’s kingdom, creating Strong Badia. His secession leads Homestar, Marzipan, The Cheat, Homsar, and several other characters to also secede. Strong Bad then decides to take over all of their lands and launch a united offense against the man Strong Bad names “The of Town.”
Uniting the seceded provinces requires that Strong Bad solve a series of puzzles. To unite the Homsar Territory, Strong Bad has to search for ancient artefacts of the Homsar civilization in order to finally understand the confusing, gravity defying Homsar. To get PomPom on board, Strong Bad has to impress him with his sweet dance moves. Along the way, you’ll have to trade organs, light a constitution on fire and unite best friends. The puzzles work really well with the Homestar Runner universe and don’t require nearly as much trial and error as in the first game to get right.
The same colorful graphics engine that powered the first episode is back. Pointing and clicking around environments is simple, straightforward and there’s a fair amount of objects to interact with. Fans of extras will also be pleased that there’s a new video game you can play in the game and the Teen Girl Squad is back Territory. Collecting pieces of the manual for the in-game video game and props for the Teen Girl Squad add an enjoyable half-hour or so onto the episode and flesh out the experience.
There isn’t too much more to say. Strong Badia the Free takes the episodic series from a shaky opening and brings it onto solid ground. I still think that there’s a lot more that they can do with the series, but I feel like the game is now a serious part of the Homestar Runner universe, which will lead to hopefully some really great stuff. As far as this episode goes, it’s certainly worth a purchase, but expect even better things ahead.