Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People:

Homestar Ruiner





Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:    TellTale Games

Released:  August 2008

PC Requirements:   see review




by gremlin


What is it?

It seems that Telltale Games is everybody's favourite episodic game publisher at the moment, and that's not a bad thing. Telltale’s previous episodic titles, the two Sam & Max seasons, are excellent. Now they have started a new series: Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. The first episode is called Homestar Ruiner.

Is there a plot?

We've got a big-footed, small-bodied, big-headed lead character who wears what looks like a Lucha Libre mask (Mexican wrestling). This is Strong Bad himself.

Strong Bad lives in the House of Strong with a number of other 'Strong' characters, and The Cheat. You'll encounter Strong Sad and Strong Mad, but I wouldn't be surprised if others turn up in later episodes. The Cheat is an odd pet that speaks nonsense and does even less. There are a number of other characters around the game, including Homestar (of the episode title), the strange armless athlete who wants to win the “Free Country USA Triannual Race to the End of the Race.” The main focus of the game is Strong Bad's quest to spoil everything for Homestar and beat the snot out of him.

How do you play?

The bulk of the game is pure point-n-click mouse work. The interface is simple, with smooth, large, clear graphics and clear menus to begin with. There are three named save slots, and an auto-save slot which the game will use when you finish specific tasks, or when you arrive outside the House of Strong. There are settings for sound and graphics, as you'd expect. There's also a feature that showed up in the later Sam & Max episodes: hint frequency. I found I needed this turned all the way up to the highest frequency to make progress.

Once you're into the game itself, movement is achieved by left clicking on a destination. You can click and hold the mouse button down to continue walking towards the mouse pointer. Running is achieved with a double click. Double clicking and holding down the mouse button makes Strong Bad continue to run. Left clicking on objects interacts with them. The only function for right clicking is to skip dialogue lines.

As I've already mentioned, the main game is the story of Strong Bad's quest to ruin Homestar's day – hence the title of the episode. However, there are also a good number of mini-games that don't actually have an impact on the main thread. You can play Snake Boxer 5 -- a very simplistic boxing game – and there's a treasure hunt with a metal detector and many other collectible objects to find.

In the menu panel, available from the top left corner of the screen, you'll find Strong Bad's inventory, his camera, and the map and score sheet. You can take screen shots with the camera. The map is updated throughout the game. Some of the locations are placed automatically; some you can place by hand. Also within the map section, you'll find your score sheet. This shows your progress against the collectibles, some of the mini-games, and your overall rank or Awesomeness Level.

There are a variety of challenges placed in the way of Strong Bad's quest. There are inventory puzzles, dialogue puzzles, an untimed stealth section, and the “Free Country USA Triannual Race to the End of the Race” itself. The metal detector is part of an optional and simple four-part sound puzzle, but it's one where there's no visual feedback, only auditory.

Strong Bad cannot die, and I found no dead ends.


This is an odd game. The main character is singularly unlikeable – in my opinion of course. An arrogant, uncouth, misogynistic bully with the morals of a snake. With apologies to the snake. What's not to like? For me, the most disquieting aspect was the Teen Girl Squad comic that Strong Bad is writing. This just feels wrong, especially given Strong Bad's adult male voice.

The graphic style of the game is quite unusual amongst adventure games. Strong colours and simple shapes belie a technically sound presentation, with high production values.


After the consistent quality of the Sam & Max games, you might have the expectation that this game is going to be similarly excellent. I certainly did. I was sadly disappointed.

Now don't get me wrong, technically, Strong Bad is rock solid. The graphics, sound and voice acting all are good quality. I just didn't like it at all. I guess I couldn't deal with the conflicting messages between an adult male voice and such infantile attitudes in the main character and his quest. And things just went downhill from there.

Grade: C

What do you need to play it?


  • OS: Windows XP / Vista
  • Processor: 1.5GHz
  • RAM: 256MB (512MB recommended)
  • Video card: 32MB 3D-accelerated video card (64MB recommended)
  • DirectX 9  

(I used a custom built Win XP Pro SP2, AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual, 2048 MB RAM, and XFX nVidia GeForce 8600GT 256MB video card with mother-board sound card)

To purchase and download Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People: Homestar Ruiner, visit the Telltale Games website here.

September 2008

design copyright © 2008 GameBoomers Group

 GB Reviews Index