There are few things in life as inconvenient as an invisible fence that makes your head explode. In the adventure game Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 2: Strong Badia the Free, protagonist Strong Bad finds his house arrest enforced by just such a fence. He hates that fence, but admits that “it seemed like such a good idea when I suggested it at the last town meeting.”
The Premise: What's a Strong Bad, Anyway?
Strong Bad is the acerbic, wrestler-costume wearing character who has appear in a series of cartoons at Homestar Runner . He is best known for segments in which he mockingly replies to emails from his fans. His main purpose in life is to insult and ridicule as many friends and strangers as possible.
Strong Bad is also the star of an episodic series of short adventure games available both for the PC and as Wiiware games. I played a little of the first episode last year but got distracted by other games and never finished it.
I decided it was time to give Strong Bad another chance, and took a look at the series’ second episode.
The Story: Divide and Conquer
In Episode 2, Strong Bad, upset with an email tax imposed by the King of Town, secedes from the town, in the process inspiring all his friends to create their own fiefdoms. Strong Bad must then conquer each fiefdom in order to build an army and reach the castle in order to overthrow the king.
All of this is just an excuse for Strong Bad to insult his bizarre friends and solve some easy puzzles. Strong Bad must bully or impress the ruler of each fiefdom in order to bring them together under the Strong Badian flag. One disco realm must be won over with cool dance moves, while conquering another fiefdom hinges on Strong Bad’s ability to convince his wishy washy brother Strong Sad that he has “predendicitis,” a disease of the “predentix.”
How much you enjoy Episode 2 will depend on how much you appreciate the game’s humor. I found it fitfully amusing, but nowhere near as funny as Telltale Game’s Sam & Max series.
The Puzzles: You Won't Break a Sweat
Don’t expect a lot of challenge from the game. Puzzle solutions are generally pretty obvious; when Strong Bad points out that something has been made of a highly flammable substance it is not too difficult to figure out what you need to do. A few puzzles are rather clever though; I particularly liked the final one, which takes the form of a war strategy game.
If you’re a fan of adventure games, Episode 2 is worth checking out: it is a fairly pleasant way to kill time. Just don’t expect humor so hilarious or puzzles so perplexing that your head explodes.