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Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 2: Strong Badia the Free (PC) artwork

Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 2: Strong Badia the Free (PC) review


"In essence, this game makes the entire first game feel like a lengthy tutorial, familiarizing you with the characters and the locations and the flow of gameplay. It was as much a learning experience for the developers as it was for the player. The game is a step in the right direction, a big one. It's full of hope for the future, bright with the knowledge that Telltale can actually handle the task of creating a compelling episodic series. "



A good sequel is a game that adds just enough to the existing formula to keep it fresh, while still remaining true to the original. Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People Episode 2: Strong Badia the Free accomplishes that convincingly. It made a believer out of me, which is one surprise more than I expected.

There were other surprises too, such as the changes in the formula and the new minigames. The game has come a long way from the first, and yet has managed to stay firmly in the exact same place. If you didn't like Episode 1, then you won't find an epiphany in Episode 2. If you did, however, you'll find what is a decidedly superior game.

It opens with the slate being wiped clean. Our protagonist is answering his e-mail when the King of Town bursts into his home, accuses him of tax evasion, and steals his freedom...and his map. Just like that, all the locations you discovered during the first game disappear. You're trapped in your own home until you can figure out some means to escape. Once you do, there will be hell to pay.

Upon acquiring a new map, a game board from some Risk-like war game, you can move about again. The game is still every bit as point-and-click as before, but now the goal is different. There's a territory control element to it. You have to figure out how to get every other country to join Strong Bad's country, Strong Badia. One territory at a time, you work your way to the Of Town's castle. Strong Bad now refuses to call him the king, believing that no ruler should be able to flagrantly abuse his power in such a way. Apparently his grasp on politics is flimsy.

It's new, if not entirely so. The difference in maps provides a clear differentiation between Episode 1 and Episode 2. It gives Strong Badia the Free an unexpectedly unique flavor. It is more of the same, but presented in a compelling way.

Better still is that the writing has improved. It feels like the staff is comfortable in their roles now that they have one game under their belts. What were once grin-to-yourself moment in Homestar Runner become laugh-out-loud moments in Strong Badia the Free.

The other additions are less consequential, but still encouraging. Strong Bad's fun machine, an atari like console, has a different playable minigame than before, which indicates every adventure will have a new game to look forward to, and all the side quests have been updated for those completionists among you.

In essence, this game makes the entire first game feel like a lengthy tutorial, familiarizing you with the characters and the locations and the flow of gameplay. It was as much a learning experience for the developers as it was for the player. The game is a step in the right direction, a big one. It's full of hope for the future, bright with the knowledge that Telltale can actually handle the task of creating a compelling episodic series.

The biggest flaw may well be the source material. For all its improvements, a game about Homestar Runner can't shake its niche appeal. But it does give the fans something to look forward to.

Rating: 8/10

dragoon_of_infinity's avatar
Freelance review by Josh Higley (October 26, 2008)

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