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

Strong Bad and Co. venture into new territory and find themselves out of their element.

Over the past two years, Sam & Max has shown that short, humorous games can be commercially viable when released as a series of episodes. Continuing this trend, the webcomic Penny Arcade recently took their own characters and unique brand of humor to the downloadable game stage and met with a good degree of critical success. Now the characters from have made their bid for episodic gaming glory with Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. There are a few laughs to be had in the first episode, Homestar Ruiner, but ultimately, the game falls flat. The open-ended point-and-click adventure play makes a poor vehicle for the site's quirky humor.

Homestar is on the phone with his agent. It's not a pleasant conversation.
Homestar is on the phone with his agent. It's not a pleasant conversation.

As the game begins, Strong Bad treats us to a brief musical number, which he rolls right into a good ol'-fashioned e-mail session. Challenged to beat the snot out of Homestar Runner by a fan, Strong Bad heads off to the track to seek his quarry. Clicking your way through Strong Bad's house, you'll stumble across familiar gags, like the technochocolate rave light switch and a keg of melonade. There are many such artifacts throughout the game that reference particular video bits from the Web site. Developer Telltale Games really missed the boat here by not including an option to view the original content, and as such these references have little comedic clout.

You soon venture outside The House of Strong, and eventually travel to a number of familiar locations throughout Free Country, USA. In an amusing send-up of adventure game convention, you draw these many locations on your loose-leaf map, but are free to redraw and reposition them at any time. The game is mostly a matter of clicking your way around these various locations, talking to different characters, and using the items in your inventory whenever possible. While a few of these items produce mildly comical results, none of them are employed in particularly clever or interesting ways. In-game achievements and minigames (like the do-it-yourself Teen Girl Squad comics) round out the package a bit, and completionists will probably get a solid three to four hours of gameplay for their troubles.

Homestar Ruiner looks quite good, but ultimately this new format doesn't work out. The punchy comedic pacing that works so well in a series of video shorts does not hold up when stretched out over a few hours, and the few times you do chuckle will only punctuate the fact that such moments are few and far between. Though it is reasonably priced at $8.95, Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People isn't recommendable. Folks looking to get a Homestar humor fix are better off visiting the Web site than going on this subpar adventure.

The Good

  • Familiar characters and locations
  • A few hearty chuckles

The Bad

  • Humor does not translate well to new format
  • Pointing and clicking becomes tiresome quickly
  • Less fun than watching video shorts on Homestar Runner Web site

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About the Author

Chris enjoys aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent.

Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People

First Released Dec 18, 2008
  • Macintosh
  • PC
  • PlayStation 3
  • Wii


Average Rating

723 Rating(s)

Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
Crude Humor, Mild Cartoon Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes