I happened across an acquaintance who just loves adventure games and who happens to have a glut of them for me to sample. Said acquaintance will never quit at getting others on the adventure game bandwagon, and had inveigled me into trying some of them out for a day.
It just so happens that some of the quickest-to-complete games that said acquaintance mentioned is a series based on the Homestar Runner IP, which I happen to like.
My first impression of them is that they capture the feel of Homestar Runner quite well, and that Mike Chapman is again providing the voice for just about every character - which is a trademark of the IP. The silliness is there, together with bad pronunciations, lisps, huge under-bites and weird body proportions.
Unfortunately, the series perhaps draw on the IP too much, such that certain episodes feel so goofy and the characters so lackadaisical to the point of being bland. This flaw is most apparent in the fourth episode.
Some puzzles - in fact, most puzzles - in certain episodes, especially Strong Badia the Free, are rather obscure. Digging up oddball items that happen to be "artifacts" important for a puzzle is as mundane and vague as a video game puzzle can ever be.
Furthermore, there are persistent glitches with the game, namely in the sound and graphics (two very important ingredients for anything that has to do with Homestar Runner). Some sound recordings just fuzz out, sounding very wonky and requiring a reload of the current location that Strong Bad (whom the player controls) is in. Facial features of many characters simply disappear when these locations fail to load properly. When the IP's trademark of unique and odd appearances get messed up by rather poor programming, one would know that this is a game that Telltale did not work very well on.
Moreover, as the episodes wear on, the script begins to break the fourth wall by poking at the recurrent gags and memes of the series. While this is a staple of Telltale Games' products, the Chapman Brothers' clumsy script and Mike Chapman's voice-over really rub this tradition hard into the game.
The fifth and last episode of Season One perhaps sums up the Chapman Brothers' frustration with the poor reviews for the series, what with rather hasty recordings of Videlectrix staff faking automated call directories and perhaps most acutely, Strong Bad's own statement that licensed video games are never good.There is a bad impression to be had when the Chapman Brothers sabotage their own games.
Moreover, the gamut of characters in episode 5 is perhaps the zenith (or nadir) of the games' over-dependence on Mike Chapman's voice-over. Many characters sound very much the same. Perhaps only the most die-hard Homestar Runner fan will put up with this.
The minigames, collectibles and other tracking of zany achievements do enliven the games and provide them with some incentive for players to play them more thoroughly, but only ardent fans would find this fun. There is some semblance of long-term rewards for this, but pictures of Strong Bad in ridiculous costumes probably just won't be satisfactory to many.
In summary, while Telltale Games does maintain the Homestar Runner theme quite well by working closely with the Chapman Brothers, the series - or at least Season One of it - really feels like a mistake. It's worth some laughs, but not all of your time and money spent on the series - especially considering that its entertainment value is not really more than those for the Flash movies on the Homestar Runner website.