There's some more surprising news: PoptropiCon has its own common room now! Not only have the Creators almost never changed an island after release (except bugfixes), this is the first new common room since Monster Carnival from early this year. It's called the Facili-Tee, and it's just lodged in the right side of the main convention building. Here's what it looks like inside (well, currently it's filled with 7th birthday balloons):
Arabian Nights Island, the winner of the Create Your Own Dream Island contest, is so close to being released at last! The official release date is October 2, which is a Thursday, as usual. The trailer is pretty interesting, though it made no sense to me (view it below). And remember, click here for Poptrickia's sneak peeks for the episode!
Survival Island, Poptropica's first episodal island, has been wildly popular so far; there's 61 comments on the guide, compared to 8 (!) for Mission Atlantis. And why not? It's got plenty to love about it, including one of the best villains Poptropica has ever came up with. Here's my review of the entire Island, all five episodes. Though I have a reputation of being negative, I tried to be fair and there's actually a mix of ups and downs here. Also a lot of words, fair warning :)
Episode 1 - Crash Landing
Let's just say, not the most positive start. I was really irritated by the endlessly looping dry wind sound and the fact that you couldn't stay in one place -- let alone switch to another tab -- without resetting that scene. That's not to say that it was glitchy, just some poor choices from the Creators. The music, on the other hand, was awesome as usual. All five of the episodes had great music.
Also, the episode had a reasonable difficulty. You had to really think in order to get each item required for the fire, even though there was only one real goal in the episode: make a fire. Not to mention the super creepy and exciting binocular zoom-out at the end! That was the highlight of the episode. I give it three out of five stars.
Episode 2 - Hook, Line, and Sinker
Ouch. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and call this episode a waste of time and a weaker copy of Episode 1. Sorry. First of all, the premise was pretty much the same as Ep. 1: you're lost, survive by doing one specific, obvious thing, in this case catching a fish, in the last episode making a fire. But Episode 2 was much easier and way too obvious: you go to the left, pick up a convenient fishing pole, find all the items you need, then return to the place where there's obviously a lot of fish (no need to look for them), and press SPACEBAR. The beaver dam mini-game was pretty easy, but besides, why are you destroying their natural habitat and punching innocent animals on the head? Sheesh.
Also, it was a little bit less polished too. Maybe these bugs have been fixed now, but fish flying out of the water and through the air? The boulder strikes ice but doesn't crack it? On the other had though, the music was even awesomer than the last episode. You can't go wrong with Poptropica music. All in all this episode gets a two out of five stars. If only for obnoxiously getting in the way of the more exciting episodes.
Episode 3 - Distress Signal
Talk about a turn-around! This episode would have to be one of my favorites. The mystery around the wreck area was pretty chilling: why is there a huge, broken plane lying here among the trees? Whose items are these that have dropped all over the area? What is Max McGullicutty trying to say on the cargo manifest? And the important one -- "Who is MVB?" This is the episode where the real fun starts to begin. To top it all off, the background music goes really well with the mood of the episode.
The highlight of the episode is the animation. I loved the plane as it crumbled and fell through the trees, and especially the part where you try to leap out of the plane hanging over a ravine. My other favorite: the radio tower scene. Climbing the radio tower was not too stressful and really fun, to see your Poptropican shrinking smaller and smaller as you rise above the trees and into Van Buren's realm. Little things here and there about the animation really appealed to me. It was all very entertaining.
Some downsides: there were initially a lot of bugs (its launch was even postponed a day to fix them but some slipped past), the part where you jump off the see-sawing plane wing seemed a little too impossible to be intentional at first, and it wasn't as difficult as I would have liked. Still, it gets five out of five.
Episode 4 - Cabin Fever
Cabin Fever was definitely the climax of Survival Island. And it was a good one, at that! The thing that made this episode work really well was the atmosphere -- it starts off welcoming but tense: you're finally rescued, but you're getting lots of unpleasant hints about MVB, until, BAM, you're poisoned and locked in a room. From then on, you go through the curious experience of skulking around an insane game hunter's personal cabin, with a myriad of stuffed and mounted animals everywhere (such as Winston), and persons willing to stuff and mount you (such as MVB, the chef and Winston). And of course, the music was brilliant once again, especially at the last grand reveal. I loved it. A full five out of five stars.
Episode 5 - Escape
This episode carried over almost the same atmosphere, music style, and scene appearance from the amazing Episode 4. Which was a pretty bad choice. Don't get me wrong, I loved the atmosphere, but I didn't like how they re-used it. And there was another problem: the climax was supposed to be episode 4. Why, then, are we still sneaking around Van Buren & company?
Still, it wasn't a total flop. I liked how we're finally on the offensive, that even though we're oppressed by a pretty overpowering enemy with traps and hounds reaching across the landscape, we're still sneaking under his nose and launching a "secret revolution" of sorts. I also appreciated how Max McGullicutty was integrated into the story, but I thought he could have done more than magically show up riding a bear.
Oh, and how could I fail to mention my most favorite part of all? The opening Chase scene was, in my opinion, one of the most powerful scenes in Poptropica, suspenseful and how you're thrown right into it before you catch a breath. Even though it was frustrating when you jumped instead of ducked, the music was pretty darn awesome (and the upgraded "Tally-ho" call was quite a relief). This episode mostly gets 3 out of 5 stars, but including the chase scene I'd have to up it to four out of five stars.
Getting the Balloon: Let me say one thing: it's VERY rare (UPDATE: it was so hard that the Creators had to tweak the frequency -- props to the super-lucky who found it during the first 8 days!) Here's my strategy that's worked in the past:
What's your most favorite Poptropica moment? Mine is the time I beat Astro-Knights, and the most memorable was the Jersey Devil's house on Cryptids Island. Your favorite Island? I loved them all, but Survival stands out (if only because it's so recent). Answer in the comments!
What do you do on a birthday party? Eat cake and ice cream, other irrelevant stuff... kids, now is the time to get your parents to let you have ice cream on a weekday!
New: Behind the Scenes of Poptropica
Some crazy news here! After four years of being on my own island in the sea of Poptropica blogging, I've joined another blog -- Behind the Scenes of Poptropica! BTSPop is focused on cool sneak peeks of the variety you've been seeing on Poptrickia, only a lot more elaborate. It's owned by my friends Nameless UnDEFiNed and Slippery Raptor. Check it out!
The ultimate, final episode of Survival Island is out for Members today! I got #260, not bad considering I was three hours late, but I really think this episode was weak (difficulty-wise). More on that later! Strangely, PoptropiCon is still not out for non-Members. This usually means that there are some bugs and things that still need to be fixed, but I didn't experience very many of those. Anyway, as for Survival 5, the full written/illustrated guide is complete; click here to read. The video guide is complete as well; click to watch!
We've been wondering why the the iOS Poptropica App lacks the Poptropica Store and any advanced costumizing options, right? Well, not for long! The Creators are working on a cool addition to the Home World in the app that lets you buy new costumes and abilities. Check out the screenshots (these are Poptrickia's exclusive sneak peeks, so spoilers ahead!):
There's a blimp in the town, and if you were on an island before entering, then there'll be that island's icon below the blimp for you to travel to. Here you can see two buildings, the "New You" and the Bundle Shop.
By the way, wow, don't all these scenes from the Poptropica App look really quaint and cool?! I love the barbershop-themed store. In it, I assume the three pedestals will have three randomized, costumizable Poptropicans on it (which you can change by pulling the lever).
Also, there's chair and a Colorizer sign to the left. And the Bundle Shop is probably like the regular Poptropica Store (but you use $'s instead of credits... hmm... could those be real-life American dollars or just another symbol for virtual Credits?) There's a bunch of categories to choose from, each with many items. So, keep an eye out for these cool new additions to the Poptropica App in the near future!
UPDATE: Here's two more images (these are from the official sneak peeks). I bet clicking on the Colorizer brings up something like this. I'll keep this section updated as more sneak peeks come out!
The last iteration of Poptropica Labs had a survey that you could take at any point while building, which the Creators seemed to have listened to as they designed the newest version. Now the survey is back! You can take it by clicking here or getting an invitation from within Land. I really encourage every Member to take the survey because the Creators have shown that they do listen to us, so this is our chance to make Land even more awesome!
And it is possible to get rid of an irritating monster. Most of them follow you around (even the nice ones, which are a minority), so all you need to do is lure them into lava (water works weakly as well for some types of monsters). They flash red like you and eventually fade away. Failing that, you can always try TNT (though the latest update makes it so TNT actually hurts you now, so watch out!). (Gosh, it feels weird writing a tutorial on how to kill animals :(
PoptropiCon has just released to Members today, and it's a pretty unique island in a few ways. First of all, the Creators have released an official video walkthrough of it, for free, at the immediate second that the island released. Which they are advertising on the homepage and in tons of other places. Doesn't that somewhat kill friendly competition on their own player maps? Hmm, this is making things tricky for us fansites, isn't it? (Check out Poptrickia's PCon guide too) Anyway...
PoptropiCon itself is a pretty awesome island (which I'm proud to say, I beat without the official video guide). The full written walkthrough is complete; click here to read. In it, you actually have to costumize specific items from different people in order to advance in the island, as well as do a lot of negotiating. The goal is to get into the sold-out PoptropiCon by any means necessary! I got #283, but hey, I was in school at the time it released *grumble*.
Monsters are back in Poptropica Land! If you'll remember, the last iteration of Lands had little "pets" that would be automatically generated and bounce around the land. These monsters are similar, but much more elaborate and Poptropican-looking. And some of them do bite!
Even more things are yet to come, though. So far, there's no sign of the knight, table and dresser shown in the picture to the right. Could we soon be getting more building materials? You can use them in the Poptropica Land contest if you choose to enter (come on guys, I know you've got cool stuff to share for prizes!)
Well, school is starting tomorrow *gulp*, and it's gonna get pretty crazy. So this will be my last post of the summer. Some pretty awesome things went on at Poptropica this year, especially this summer! I took a look through Poptrickia's and the Creators' Blog's archives to refresh my memory. Here are the highlights, which are a mix of Poptropica, Poptrickia, and my personal happenings:
Don't get me wrong, I love working and playing here, but the updates might come slower, that's all. I made 21 blog posts and about 45 tweets this summer, after a pretty bad slump that I'm not proud of, but I might not be able to help it. Thank you readers and viewers for getting Poptrickia its all-time high number of hits and Youtube views this summer! And I'll see you here soon. 4 years of Poptrickia isn't gonna to stop for this.
The ALS Ice Bucket challenge is, according to Wikipedia, "an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice water on one's head or donating to the ALS Association." Basically, once you're nominated, you have to dump a bucket of freezing ice water over your head and donate $10, or instead just donate $100. The money goes to help people with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease that slowly destroys a person's ability to control their muscles (that's the best I can understand it). Stephen Hawking is a brilliant physicist who has lived 72 years despite only being able to move one cheek muscle, even though he was given 2 years to live when he was 21. Stephen Hawking->me as Marie Curie->C.J. Anyway, moving on.
In other news, another three Land creations have been featured: a house by Mad Tiger (who has done cool stuff before), a haunted house by Hyper Drummer, and my personal favorite, a train by Striped Fox. All of them would look awesome to enter in Poptrickia's Land Contest (which got a shout-out from the Creators, by the way!). If you're a member, please enter your creations!
Not awesome enough yet? The info page for Poptropicon episode 1: Line forms Here is now online, click here to read. Here's the promo-speak:
Everyone is dressed up for the biggest sci-fi and fantasy convention in Poptropica. At PoptropiCon, the most important thing isn't what you do — it's how you look doing it! ... PoptropiCon is the hottest ticket in town. It'll take all your wits — and more than a few disguises — to crash the party!
That supports my theory that you spend the episode trying to get into the convention. PoptropiCon is going to have 4 episodes: longer than Mission Atlantis (which was too short in my opinion) but shorter than Survival (which is awesome but feels like it's dragging on now). Sounds like the Creators found a good middle ground. (By the way, have you answered the poll currently in the sidebar to the right?)
Meanwhile, here's the awesome wallpaper. If you need more than the Creators' teasers can provide, head on over to my post that shows all the items and scenes from the episode. Hang tight, PoptropiCon is in sight!