Reviews, Vampire's Curse Island

Ramble Review: Vampire’s Curse Island 🧛‍♂️

Hey Poptropicans, this is a guest post by White FoxEnjoy!

Hi, Poptropicans! It’s White Fox again, here with a Ramble Review on the one and only Vampire’s Curse Island. First things first, I have to mention Christopher. The brave, loyal boyfriend.

Yeah, right. Moving on.

One of the reasons I liked this island because of all the references to Bram Stoker’s vampire story Dracula. For example, the villain’s name is Count Bram. Seriously, it is right there.

Also, one of the graves is dedicated to one of the Count’s victims, who was drained of her blood in the novel Dracula. There’s more trivia like this in the PHB’s Vampire’s Curse Island Guide!

Let’s be honest, this island was definitely creepy. I mean, graves. Old statues. Vampires. Spiders. Eek! At first, this island did not seem like something I would be interested in playing. Mythology? Sure! Spies? Fine! But I didn’t feel like I wanted to play an island based on vampires.

Personally, seeing blood makes me freak out, so there’s a problem. The dark sky, the small city, everything at the beginning of the island was not what I would call welcoming. In the end, however, it was one of my favorite islands!

If I could change one thing about this island, though, it has to be the part when you make the anti-vampire serum. Just the fact that it’s so random. I wish it had more reason to it, like you find something that gives you a clue to it. More of an explanation to why it is like that. Or maybe there was, and I didn’t see it.

Even if this island doesn’t get brought back, I hope that the dumbwaiter and the crossbow gets brought back. I loved that. I especially liked the part where you shot arrows at the side of the castle to get the mandrake root. That was hard, but fun and memorable.

I always wondered why tomatoes were in his lab. I mean, next to blood, I suppose tomatoes are a vampire’s favorite food? Or maybe he just had them for research?

I loved this island because of all the adventure. From using the crossbow, to firing the cannon, to growing a tomato head, to helping Katya escape Count Bram, the island is purely full of wonder and mystery.

I think that just about wraps up this post! Put your favorite part of the island in the comments below. 👇Thanks for reading!

Peace,
White Fox


Hope you enjoyed this guest post by White Fox. If you did, you might also enjoy the PHB’s other Ramble Reviews of various islands, like this one about Lunar Colony by Purple Paw.

The Poptropica Help Blog welcomes interesting Poptropica insights from anyone in the Poptropica community with thoughts to share. Interested in writing for the PHB? We’d love to hear from you! 📰✨

Reviews

Ramble Review: Lunar Colony 💫

Heyo Poptropicans, and welcome to another long overdue Ramble Review! This time around, I’ll be exploring the high-tech outer space world of Lunar Colony. 🔭


When I played Lunar Colony for the very first time years ago, my first impression of it wasn’t exactly a good one. I remember feeling annoyed by all of the airlocks especially; I could never figure out how to enter one building or exit another, and for some reason, it took me a good deal of tries before I was even able to land the Lunar Lander. I remember I got so frustrated with this island that I eventually gave up trying to complete it at all, and moved on to something else. But if I’d just held on a little longer, and managed to reach the ending of Lunar Colony, my whole perspective on it would’ve changed at once…

More recently, I decided to give Lunar Colony another shot. This time around, I understood it better, and was able to finally reach the end of the island. And when I saw the ending, with Commander Salerno whisked through the portal to the alien realm, with the flight director on the radio, announcing that it was time to bring you back home, I was more surprised than I’ve ever been at the end of an island.

“I know you were supposed to bring me back to Earth, but I’m sorry, that’s not my mission. My mission is through here.”

The main reason Lunar Colony’s ending stood out so much from other islands is because it’s one of very few, if not the only, island where you fail your mission (in a sense). From the beginning, your mission was to find Salerno and bring her safely home. But when you activate the alien portal at the end, the tables are turned, and Salerno ends up escaping once and for all. It’s a sad day for everyone.

Of course, Salerno’s escape did do quite a bit of good for PASE. Now that alien life has been confirmed, people are starting to regain interest in outer space, and the president has promised whatever money PASE needs to keep their space program going! What Salerno did was a heroic move, but the truth still remains that your mission all along — to bring Salerno back to Earth — didn’t end quite as expected, and it’s those final parts of the island that really make Lunar Colony stand out in my eyes.

Believe it or not, I’m walking on air.

But enough rambling about Lunar Colony’s ending. Although that is the main reason I admire this island so much, it’s far from the only reason! Something else I thought was interesting about Lunar Colony is how it canonized the fact that Poptropicans’ eye colors can change. I’d wondered for awhile about Poptropicans’ eyes: why all Poptropicans’ eyes tend to stay the same, how there are hardly any customizable eye parts, and yes, whether or not they can change color. It was definitely a cool addition to see a Poptropican’s eyes turn purple!

It would be cool to see an option to change eye color added to the Colorizer someday 👀

Something else I found intriguing about this island is how it, similar to Astro-Knights, focuses on outer space — except the two islands couldn’t be more different. While Astro-Knights mainly features the clockpunk genre, Lunar Colony takes a scientific approach on the cosmos. Lunar Colony’s world seems to be in a much more modern, technological era, as opposed to Astro-Knights’ medieval theme.

Outer space is a vast place, and there have been an array of stories taking place beyond the stars. And in my opinion, Lunar Colony is definitely one of those stories that deserves more appreciation than it got. Even though the gameplay is admittedly frustrating at times, and even though not many people think of Lunar Colony when they think of Poptropica’s greatest islands, it’s the plot (combined with an assortment of beautiful outer space artwork!) that ties this whole adventure together and makes it one of the most intriguing Poptropica islands to ponder over. 🚀🧑‍🚀

~💜

Reviews

PHB Review: Grapple-Gift Side Quest 🎁❄️

Belated season’s greetings, Poptropicans! Though the major winter holidays have passed, we thought it would be “cool” to gift you all a review of Poptropica’s holiday-themed side quest: “The Grapple-Gift.”

This side quest is set during a fictional holiday called Grapple-Pap, which is Poptropica’s version of Christmas. The holiday is named after a Krampus-like figure who delivers gifts and takes away people who don’t spread cheer. Much like other fictional holidays such as Merry Walrus or Life Day, Grapple-Pap gives us a look at some of Poptropica’s history and traditions. It’s a nice touch and makes me want to see more Poptropican holidays.

The story is very simple, but it has a strong hook: you help an old man deliver a small wooden horse to his sister Clareta. However, Clareta hasn’t been seen in years, and the villagers believe that Grapple-Pap took her away because she became “mean.” Now, you have to travel the frigid Cold Cliff Pass and find out what happened to Clareta.

When you travel up the pass and enter a rundown cottage, you are greeted by Clareta (now a mean old hag) frantically shouting at you to get out. How did she become so mean and reclusive? What caused the rift between her and her brother? What will it take to show her the true spirit of Grapple-Pap?

To answer your questions: we don’t know, we don’t know, and destroy her cottage with a giant Grapple-Pap statue. …Yup.

The story started so well but ended way too quickly. It’s ironic that a side-quest with the tagline “solve the mystery” left some of its biggest questions unanswered. It feels like the quest didn’t have enough time to explore all of its ideas, possibly due to being rushed in time for the holidays. We know very little about Clareta and her unnamed brother aside from small clues in her cottage. Also, there’s some evidence that Grapple-Pap himself could have had some role to play in the story other than as a holiday mascot.

All of the Grapple-Pap iconography in the locales, the large hoofprints on Clareta’s roof, and his silhouette on the start screen may have been foreshadowing his appearance in the game, but he was cut for whatever reason. But what if he did appear? Imagine an alternate ending in which the real Grapple-Pap kidnapped Clareta and you had to save her and show her the true spirit of the holiday. That would have had a much better payoff than scaring her with a statue.

I feel bad for ragging on the ending, so let’s spread some cheer by talking about the presentation. This side quest is like hot cocoa and sugar cookies for the eyes and ears! The locations are beautifully designed and expansive, the NPCs look festive in their traditional Grapple-Pap attire (or rags in Clareta’s case), new NPC animations add more life to the scenes, and Jeff Heim’s music never fails to immerse the player in their adventure.

I give “The Grapple-Gift” a solid 3.5/5 Grapple-Pops. It’s a fun holiday side quest with an intriguing plotline, even if the ending left some people out in the cold. Make sure to play this quest before Grapple-Pap takes it away for one whole year. What did you guys think of this little holiday special? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Happy Grapple-Pap and New Year to all!

—Gentle Dolphin 🐬

Astro-Knights Island, Guest Posts, Reviews

Ramble Review: Astro-Knights Island 🚀

Welcome to another Ramble Review! This guest post comes from MaryannTheConqueror, who will be rambling about Astro-Knights Island.

It’s no secret that I love Astro-Knights Island, and from what I’ve seen, many others feel the same. There is an abundance of fanart of all its major characters, and even some minor ones! Despite this, it is strangely ignored by the Creators, a trend I’ve noticed over the past few years.

“Lost in the Stars” by MaryannTheConqueror

Again, Astro-Knights was a big deal during its heyday. It was so difficult that it was the first and only island to have a built-in official guide. The villain (who I shall get to) won the Villain Showdown hosted by the Creators’ Blog back in 2011, against the likes of Zeus and Dr. Hare.

And yet, hardly any content related to it gets released anymore. Most ads for Poptropica featuring many classic villains leave Mordred/Binary Bard out of them, and we’re lucky to see any Astro-Knights references at all, despite its continuing popularity, even after it was among the many classic islands removed then brought back but locked behind the membership paywall.

The story of this Island had potential. Serious potential. I’m saying right here, right now, that it could have easily been turned into a book series, game series, or even a TV series that expanded on it, and with the right writers, it could have been one of the most unique ideas in decades. This isn’t just my inner fangirl speaking (though I can’t deny that my 14-year old self is influencing the writing of this article) — this is from what I’ve observed in the creative world.

Astro-Knights is a clever blend of historical medieval fantasy and futuristic technology (sometimes referred to as “clock punk”). There’s space travel, epic boss fights, a lore connected to one of the most famous Western legends, the legends of King Arthur. Of course, now I’m just stepping around what I consider to be the best character not just from the island, but from the entire game, and one of my greatest examples of Poptropica’s squandered potential.

But first, let me give you a little bit of, as TV Tropes calls it, “fridge horror.” A couple times during Astro-Knights, it is mentioned that Mordred made his near-fatal ascent into space twenty years ago. Meaning he was trapped in space for that long, without any human contact that we know of. Imagine going through quarantine but for two decades, with no contact from family members or friends of any kind.

Binary Bard is what is known as a tragic villain, similar to Azula (from Avatar: The Last Airbender) or Sweeney Todd (from the Sondheim musical). He’s a character who, through a mix of his own bad decisions and circumstances beyond his control, was sent down a path with little hope of him ever turning back, except maybe through a very carefully written redemption arc (I might talk about my mixed feelings with a certain sequel island another time).

I was very disappointed that the Astro-Knights book (anyone remember those?) did little to expand on him or the lore of this island. These are the characters and stories that can go very far if allowed to do so, and I am sad to say that, just like its villain, the fate of Astro-Knights is tragic.

Less is Mordred.
Less is Mordred.

Hope you enjoyed this guest post by MaryannTheConqueror. If you did, be sure to check out the first Ramble Review on Twisted Thicket Island, and stay tuned for more! And of course, join in on the fun on the PHC Discord.

The Poptropica Help Blog welcomes interesting Poptropica insights from anyone in the Poptropica community with thoughts to share. You can find some tips and guidelines on our page on how to Write for the PHB, and share blog posts on the PHC.

📰 If you have an idea for a PHB post, send it in

Guest Posts, Red Dragon Island, Reviews

Ramble Review: Red Dragon Island 🐉

Welcome to another Ramble Review! This guest post comes from Purple Paw, who will be rambling about Red Dragon Island.

Let’s talk about Red Dragon Island. I choose it mainly because it is one of the few very good sponsored islands. At first, I was skeptical about choosing a sponsored island, because usually, sponsored islands are very poor at showing Poptropica’s authenticity. Mostly, they tend to be unexciting remakes, nothing you would think of as being truly Poptropica. But Red Dragon? This island couldn’t be more different.

As you may know, the story is based off of the Magic Treehouse book Dragon of the Red Dawn, with some of the gameplay tactics borrowed from Night of the Ninjas, an earlier Magic Treehouse book that also takes place in ancient Japan. But the plot of the Red Dragon Island takes such a unique twist from this classic book series, it doesn’t feel like a sponsored island at all; miraculously, it feels like a true Poptropica island.

And it wasn’t just the storytelling aspect of this island that made me choose Red Dragon; the gameplay, too, adds greatly to the overall enjoyment of the island. Though not exceedingly difficult, learning ninja skills does take some concentration and practice, and you’ve got to focus and think hard to master catching the kappa, trimming the bonsai, and other tasks you’re asked to complete, creating the perfect balance between challenge and fun.

Last but not least, the scenery adds the icing to the cake, and ties this whole amazing adventure together. Floating cherry blossoms, lily-pad dotted ponds, and splendid architecture make for one of the most beautiful and poetic islands yet.

There’s simply nothing you can’t enjoy about this island, and I think Red Dragon surely deserves a spot in the best of all time.


Hope you enjoyed this guest post by Purple Paw. If you did, be sure to check out previous Ramble Reviews on islands like Twisted Thicket and Ghost Story, and stay tuned for more! Plus, join in on the fun on the PHC Discord.

The Poptropica Help Blog welcomes interesting Poptropica insights from anyone in the Poptropica community with thoughts to share. You can find some tips and guidelines on our page on how to Write for the PHB, and share blog posts on the PHC.

📰 If you have an idea for a PHB post, send it in