Sunday, August 31, 2008

Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People: Episode One

I find these days on my Wii I'm spending more time with downloadable content than I am with games that come in a box.

Case in point is Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, which is available through the WiiWare service. It's by Telltale Games, the people who delivered the recent Sam & Max games, and it's more or less up to their usual standard.

The game's based on the Homestar Runner website, and it's pitched at people who are already well familiar with Strong Bad and his wacky crew. If you don't know the difference between Homestar and Homsar, or understand how Strong Bad can type with boxing gloves on his hands, then most of what's going on here will go straight over your head.

For Strong Bad fans, though, the game's a treat. Like the Sam & Max titles it's a classic point and click puzzle-solving outing, but it makes pretty good use of the property it's based on. All the cast have their original voice acting (i.e. The Brothers Chaps plus Missy whatserface). Locations you can visit include the House of Strong, Bubs' Concession Stand, and the King of Town's Castle. You can spend some time with classic Videlectrix 8-bit gaming, in this case Snake Boxer 5, and you can even design your own Teen Girl Squad comic, which is probably the most awesome minigame in the history of minigames.

One of the traditional problems with point-n-clicks is that while they can be a lot of fun, they rarely offer replay value. Strong Bad's Cool Game etc goes some way to addressing that by including both a number of achievement-style trophies, and an "extended play" mode that lets you keep exploring after the credits roll. Unfortunately there's not much guidance on how to achieve the trophies and the extended play option seems to be a little buggy so you'll probably end up consulting an FAQ to get the most out of the game.

This is, obviously, just the first episode out of several that Telltale plan to release. If it's anything like the Sam & Max games, they'll almost certainly improve over time as Telltale get comfortable with the license, so I have high hopes for future titles.

I played this game on the Wii, but it's also available for the PC. The game works well with the Wiimote but it does take up a sizeable chunk of your hard drive. It'll be interesting as future episodes come out because I don't think the Wii has enough on-board memory to store a whole season at the same time. The sooner Nintendo patch the system to let you boot from an SD card, the better.

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