Goofball Island, Reviews

PHB Review: Goofball Island 🤪

Dr. Blandston got you confused? Check out our Goofball Island Guide.

Heyo, Poptropicans! Now that Goofball Island has been out for a little while, the PHB team is here to share our thoughts on this strange happy place inspired by a winner of Poptropica’s Dream Island Contest.

Centering on a weird and whimsical town that’s being “bland-ified” by the dull Dr. Blandston, this island is bursting with unique characters, fun art and soundtracks, and a story full of shocking plot twists that we haven’t fully deciphered yet. We’ve got tons to cover, so let’s dive in!

Beware: spoilers lie ahead!


Storyline & Characters

Goofball Island was particularly impressive in terms of its story. The plot was complex, thought-provoking (so Detective Gram/Dr. Gramston was the original Blandston and… turned people productive and soulless?), and even offered numerous new concepts we’ve never before seen in Poptropica, the most notable being multiple endings (more on that later) and the player being an antagonist.

Some might wonder if this story, with its performance-enhancing crystals and over-the-top lifestyles one way or another, could be a metaphor for something: Growing up? Neurodivergence? Drugs? Dreams? Whatever your interpretation, that’s the beauty of story — through it you can experience anew.

The plot does get a tad confusing towards the end, though. As soon as you emerge from the flashback revealing that you were a Blandston, the mayor makes you decide the island’s fate, leaving no time for further explanations. Still, with twists and turns throughout the tale, the story was engaging and overall well done.

Also noteworthy is how both the bland and the goofy side are portrayed as relatively neutral, something you don’t see very often in media. While the bland and goofy people don’t seem to understand each other well, they at least live together peacefully — even to the point of goofy Mayor Naise hiring a bland detective to investigate the case.

Lucky Joker: “Do you not see who you’re talking to?”

It was also fascinating to learn about the origins of Goofball Island in City Hall, particularly through Jumpy Spinner’s woke commentary. Who knew that the goofiness it was named for wasn’t there from the start? Then, like a parallel to real-world colonialism, there’s the acknowledgement that even though Xavier “discovered” the island and coined its current name, Native Poptropicans had inhabited the island for some 1000 years previously. Represent!

Speaking of Jumpy Spinner, Goofball Island is full of intriguing characters, even when they’re being bland. In the land of grayscale, we have the City Hall lady breaking the record for longest monologue in Poptropica, the baker who regulates your consumption of carbs, and Regular Dan, who somehow hasn’t gotten kicked out of the Crazy Club. And on the flip side on Goofside, we have to mention the tree dude in City Hall, the lovable Bosko, and nearly all of the Crazy Club. Among them, it was interesting to see animals counted as island citizens and people dressing up like animals (furry gang, anyone?).

Gameplay

With items to collect and interactive elements to explore, playing Goofball Island felt almost like the experience of the old islands, albeit shorter and with the newer Haxe pop-up graphics. While the quest was fairly straightforward, there were still a few moments of slight challenge, but nothing really difficult. Cutscenes interspersed helped propel the story especially in unexpected moments (rip goofy Bosko), yet for the most part, the player had a decent amount of agency in where to go and who to talk to.

Moments of choice are what really stand out in Goofball’s gameplay. Inside the Dreary Building, for example, you can choose to take either the stairs (and annoy people behind locked doors) or elevator (which turns out to be the slow way) to get up to Detective Gram’s office. Just for amusement, you can also play around with the food at Fry’s Fried Freds (and even the Dusty Crust Bakery, to a much duller extent). And of course, at the very end, you get to decide the fate of the island: will it be all bland, goofy, or a balance of both? 

Of the endings, the two extremes are fun to experiment with, and the choice offers an incentive to replay the island to discover the alternate endings (or you can see them here in our guide).

But the balanced ending looks almost exactly like the island did from the beginning, just with a pop more color. For this ending which may have felt more “right” as it allows both types of personalities to coexist, the lack of newness leaves something to be desired and seems to erase our hard work of getting to the bottom of things. After all, weren’t the citizens of Goofball Island thriving in their goofy selves before “Dr. Blandston” appeared?

What if we got to see more characters switch between their two forms, goofy and bland? Maybe the use of crystals could be regulated like a medicine prescription? At any rate, it would have been interesting to see more change in the balanced ending, to reflect all that we’d gone through and the newfound knowledge of the crystals.

Audio & Visuals

One of the coolest parts of Goofball Island has got to be its music, reflecting both sides of the island by the pomp of a marching band (goofy) and the vibe of a classic silent film complete with record noise (bland). In an impressive first for Poptropica, the soundtrack shifts as you move around in a scene, with vibrant brass instruments that get louder when you’re on Goofside, coupled with the jazzy piano when you’re in Dullsville. We wish the bop at the Crazy Club could have brought on more energy, though!

Goofball Island is visually striking as well, with the contrast between the island’s two sides emphasized through color (or lack of it), in both scenery and characters. The boisterous and bright Goofside could not be more different from the black-and-white Dullsville (plus, props for the film noir art style with the white static floating around!).

We also can’t miss mentioning Bobby Bill’s shocking dance moves — not only are they confirmation of Poptropicans’ heads being detachable, but they can be spun around and even dribbled like a basketball with seemingly no repercussions! Fun seeing a new side of the whole Poptropicans-without-necks phenomenon that’s sure to generate some wild fan theories.

Verdict

With a mix of contrasting worlds, fun personalities, and intriguing mysteries, Goofball Island definitely feels like the first real Poptropica island in a long time. All things balanced, out of five we’d give Goofball…

4 out of 5 chubby thumbprints. While this at-times rambunctious island carries with it all sorts of fun (even when it’s serious), the villain showdown at the end may leave players confused about what just happened. Still, with a considerably longer tale to unfold, Goofball’s storytelling was a marked improvement from Fairytale and the other strings of side-quests we’ve had lately. Good stuff, Goofball!

There’s so much more to unpack — head over to the trivia section of our Goofball Island Guide to see what other details you may have missed!

That’s 2 for 3 Dream Islands this year! We’re looking forward to the last and hopefully not least, Secret of the Jade Scarab, possibly in 2022.


Thanks for reading our review of Goofball Island! Do you agree with our verdict? Share your opinions in the comments below!

— 🕵️‍♀️ the PHB team 🤪 —

4 thoughts on “PHB Review: Goofball Island 🤪”

  1. Fun fact: according to “Poptropica: Forgotten Islands,” some of the first Poptropicans were called the Mabaya, who fled underground to escape a flood and emerged many years later with their appearance almost reptilian due to living underground for so long. Now they feel like they have a right to control Poptropica which is now populated with explorers and many new civilizations (which the Mabaya are not happy about since they used to be the only ones).

    1. Ah yes, that’s an often forgotten piece of lore. Perhaps the Mabaya are related to the Native peoples of Goofball? Then again, they may be separate, as Forgotten Islands had various islands not seen in the computer version of Poptropica. Interesting point though!

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