Guest Posts, Reviews

Ramble Review: Mocktropica Island

Hey Poptropicans, this is a guest post by Silver ShellEnjoy!

Now, I love Mocktropica Island because of how real it is. You don’t battle pirates or ninjas on this island, but you battle something just as challenging: Games breaking down. Chaos. Frustrating management that doesn’t listen to anyone. There’s a lot of frustration and confusion in the plot of this island. There are plenty of glitches, but the creators seem to only care about new things, like the dreadful Pop Coins. 

Sounding familiar yet? Unfortunately, modern Pop has started to immensely resemble Mocktropica these days. There’s plenty of talk about that already, though, so let’s move on from that.

I think the island is really fun! You get to design Main Street from a little basement, change the weather and time of day, and, of course, it’s the home of the Narf. My favorite part of this island was trying to convince the former creators to get back to their jobs. All three of them had moved on and needed lots of persuasion before they would return. However, once you get the whole team back together, a lot is fixed! The player gets to actually fix the game itself! How cool is that?!

I’m the Mancala Master.

The twist? First-rate. The fact that management had been planning to destroy Poptropica all along to move Mega Fighting Bots up to the top of the list was, I have to say, quite genius. The clues were everywhere, but I never made the connection! I had assumed those people were just cheap and loony. In my opinion, that twist was the best one in Poptropica.

I kicked their bots.

I actually needed Thinknoodles’s walkthrough for the end part with the flying bots, but I had a lot of fun with it, especially considering the fact that you threw Pop Coins at them. Revenge on the Pop Coins. 😜

And that’s that! Thanks for reading again!

Pop Nonstop,

🥈🐚


Hope you enjoyed this guest post by Silver Shell. 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!

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 🤪 —

Merchandise, Reviews

Pop Merch Review: Sticker Haul ✨

Hey Poptropicans, we’re back with more merch to review! In addition to the lovely Dr. Hare button, I also ordered some stickers from the official Poptropica Zazzle store. Check out the haul:

The stickers were custom made by Zazzle and arrived in a cardboard envelope.

As you can see, I got six stickers: the 8-bit Dr. Hare and Dr. Beev from Hoptropica, the iconic Poptropica blimp, the classic Time Tangled Island, the mid-stage Survival Island, and the fresh Fairytale Island. 🏝

The Zazzle store has plenty more stickers, though, including logos of fictional businesses, and beloved characters from Fairytale Island. 🐺

At a couple dollars apiece, and with Zazzle’s constant sales, the total of my six stickers came out to around US$12 (not counting international shipping, which was another ~$7 for me). If it’s your first time, you can get a free trial of Zazzle Black, which gives you free shipping in the US.

Anyway, on with the review! I’ll be going through these based on where I decided to stick these adhesive beauties. Let’s start with my laptop, where I placed Dr. Hare with Survival Island. 🐰🌩 (Hey, if this bunny can fling himself to space, he can hop anywhere and survive!)

Love the color combos here! Still, each sticker ran smaller than I’d anticipated: Dr. Hare was supposed to be 2″x2″, but was more like 1.25″x1.25″, while Survival Island was meant to be 3″x3″, but ended up 2.5″x1.75″. So if you’re planning to order a sticker, keep that in mind when you’re deciding what size to get! (Size options range from a tiny 2″x2″ to an extra-large 14″x14.”)

Next up we have the Dr. Beev sticker! 🦫 As with the above, Beev was supposed to be 2″x2″, but in reality was closer to 1.75″x1.25″. He was also the only one which I got printed on glossy transparent paper, so the white parts are negated and you can see through to the surface where he’s placed—in this case, my green iPad. Looking good!

Leave it to Beev.

Finally, we have the blimp and two more island stickers, Time Tangled and Fairytale. These are printed on regular matte white paper, so they come with a white outline. (You can choose the paper.)

Again, size runs small: the blimp was meant to be 2″x2″ but was really 1.5″x1.25″, while the islands were both supposedly 3″x3″ but varied, with Time Tangled being 2.5″x2″ and Fairytale being 2.5″x3″. Clearly the design shapes the size, with Fairytale looking large in its max height of 3″ while Time Tangled has a flatter design and ends up shorter.

Anyway, I plastered these pretty pieces onto my cardboard file boxes. Now I can go through my files like I’m traveling through the islands!

So that’s all six stickers! They’re all printed with pretty decent quality, are easy to use, and will look great wherever you want to stick them. 💫

Thanks to the Poptropica Creators for sponsoring this post! And thanks for sticking with me through this sticker haul review. Check out more merch reviews here on the PHB, and stay awesome!

For more about all the Poptropica merch that exists, from Zazzle to beyond with toys and more, check out the PHB’s Merchandise Guide.

Merchandise, Reviews

Pop Merch Review: Vintage Bandana 🧣😷

Hey Poptropicans! Today, I’m bringing you a quick review of the Vintage Poptropica Bandana from the official Poptropica Zazzle Store.

The product is available in two sizes: kids/small (18″ x 18″) and adult/large (22″ x 22″). Both options feature the classic blue Poptropica throw pattern. It costs US$18.95 and is made of “100% spun polyester,” making it really lightweight and breathable. The material is pretty smooth and reminds me a lot of a cotton bedsheet.

edge of bandana, with 12″ ruler for scale

I have always loved this pattern and I’m excited to see it on so many products in Poptropica’s merch store. You can also get it on leggings, a face mask, a puzzle, or a skateboard!

One thing that does disappoint me: the pattern is only printed on one side of the cloth. The back of the bandana is a thin heather white. Though I wish the pattern continued on both sides, it was not a surprise.

I will also say that the pattern’s images are a bit larger than I originally expected! Not a drawback by any means, just something to note. I’m pretty impressed with the quality of the print.

Overall, I’m quite satisfied with this item. Though thin, the feel and quality of the cloth is great, and I obviously love the pattern.

Thanks to the Poptropica Creators for sponsoring this post! They gifted the PHB a Zazzle gift card so we could share these reviews with you guys. Check out the PHB’s Merchandise Guide for more product info! 💫

Stay classic, Poptropicans!

~SD

Guest Posts, Merchandise, Reviews

Finest Piece of Pop Merch Review: Time Tangled Wall Clock ⏱🗽

Hey Poptropicans, this is a guest post by Dangerous Dragon, originally published on the Poptropica Creators’ Blog. Plus, the item being reviewed was just named the “Finest Piece of Merch” in the 2021 Poppies. Enjoy!

Hey Poptropicans, DD here! I was invited by the PHB to do a merch review, and since they had a gift card from the Pop Creators, they sent me a free Time Tangled wall clock. I just want to say thank you!

The clock is available for US$32.95 on Poptropica’s Zazzle shop and matches the time device on Time Tangled Island.

The clock arrived in a parcel and was covered with plastic covering to keep it protected. Looks pretty sweet!

After you’ve gazed at the beautiful clock, you need to get it working. To do that, add an AA battery to the back of the clock. That should get the clock ticking away! You can also adjust the clock hands from the back so that it shows your local time.

Now to display the clock, you just need to get a nail and use it to hang the clock on the wall. There’s your Time Tangled clock!

On the wall

A couple of comments: I think there could be numbers on the clock, since it lacks that. Also, it might be better with a protective covering around the clock so that it doesn’t get dusty.

Overall, it is stylish! That’s the end of this review. Look forward to more merch reviews on the PHB, and be sure to check out Smart Icicle’s Blog where I also write. Bye friends!

Keep Poppin,
DD 💜


Hope you enjoyed this guest post by Dangerous Dragon. If you did, you might also enjoy his other posts, such as his Fairytale Fanfic Challenge response or My Place in Poptropica story. Plus, check out the PHB’s Merchandise Guide!

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! 📰✨