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!
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