Hello! I’m Slanted Fish, and I’ve been playing Poptropica and writing about it on this Poptropica Help Blog since the summer of 2008. In this game review, I’ll be evaluating my experiences and (hopefully unbiased) thoughts so that you can decide whether you’d like to invest your time (and if you want, your money) into it. Note: This was written in 2013 and may contain some outdated information.
- Name of the game: Poptropica
- Platform: Computer (browser-based; no download required)
- Website: Poptropica.com
- Publisher: Family Education Network, a part of Pearson Education, Inc.
- Age rating: All ages (best for 8–12 years old)
- Date of release: September 2007
- Requirements: A working computer with an internet connection, the ability to read, and using the latest version of your internet browser is recommended
When you first sign up, you can pick your character’s gender and are assigned a name (usually a silly-sounding but completely safe one like “Scary Tomato”). Jump into the blimp, which can take you to any of the vast number of islands that Poptropica consists of. Each island has its own separate story and problems to solve. If you decide you don’t want to, you don’t have to save your character just yet.
The main goal is to save each of the islands from whatever ails them. Along the way, you’ll interact with NPCs (non-player characters), watch cutscenes to move along in the story, collect new items to find a use for later, play mini-games (there are some puzzles), and discover new places.
For example: In Super Power Island, a giant meteor (actually a meteorite) has landed in the county prison and all of the prisoners have absconded with superpowers. Your task is to round up each of the escaped convicts back to jail, and you’ll even get the “flying” super power to take down the last villain!
The controls are very simple. Point your cursor in the direction you want your character to move, then click and hold and watch as your character goes there. Point a little (or a lot) upward and your character will jump. Point downwards to duck. Occasionally, you may need to use the spacebar in certain cases, such as swinging a sword.
Interaction & Friends
For the most part, especially in the island-solving scene, Poptropica is single-player, with the player interacting with NPCs. However, you can also enter “common rooms,” where you’ll find other players online at the same time hanging out. You can battle them (playing games such as Balloons), ask them a pre-scripted question (they are then given three pre-scripted answers to respond back), or add them as a friend. Though limited, it’s rather safe and there’s no chance of bullying or rude communication.
Everyone also has a Friends profile, where you can supply basic information about yourself such as which country you’re from or how many “medallions” you have (i.e. how many islands you’ve completed). Every time you log in, you can answer a “Pop Quiz” question about yourself, such as “What kind of super power would you like to have?” This goes on your profile for people who add you as a friend to see, and you can change your answer on your profile if you wish.
Sound & Graphics
There is generally very little sound in Poptropica. Usually, you won’t hear anything as you’re playing through the islands. However, there may be occasional sound – such as playing the violin on Ghost Story Island or the pitter-patter of rainfall accompanied by thunderclaps in the outdoors of Vampire’s Curse Island. Perhaps a little jukebox of Poptropica music would be nice to have in the background, but at the same time, the sounds that are there complement the game nicely.
The graphics in Poptropica are generally the same crisp and attractive cartoon imagery, which I personally think looks quite nice. However, there are a few islands with a different drawing style, in order to emulate what they’re themed after – such as the Peanuts-styled drawings of Great Pumpkin Island, which is based on It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Also, the animations of cutscenes are rather smooth, though maybe a bit slow for faster readers. (Tip: In regular dialogue, you can press “S” to skip.)
Difficulty, Appeal, & Replay value
The island quests do require some thinking, which is good because it puts up a challenge. Sometimes it is more straightforward; sometimes it is not. Early Poptropica Island is considered easy, for example, but Astro-Knights Island can be a bit tough especially for younger children, as it involves some complex puzzles and games. Overall, Poptropica does offer some fun challenges, and if you are ever stuck, there are plenty of help walkthroughs available on the Island Help pages of this website.
With its kiddie graphics and problem-solving quests, the game does appeal to both young boys and girls of the targeted 6-15 age range for the audience. However, the older ones may find themselves enjoying this too, since not all the answers are obvious!
Another aspect of the game that may be appealing is being able to dress up your character – you can use the Costumizer tool (the green shirt button) to copy another character’s clothes, earn wearable items in your adventures, or buy from the Poptropica Store.
Once you’ve beaten all the islands (and that will take a while), there’s still plenty of other ways to entertain yourself on Poptropica! You can play head-to-head games with others, log in daily for a new profile quiz question and sneak peeks, restart the islands and play them all over again, and more.
From this online game, there’s a lot to be enjoyed, but not everything is free. Let’s take a look.
While exploring the game, you may come across some advertisements, which come in a few forms. The most popular is an “advertisement building,” which consists of a mini-game themed around whatever is being advertised (always something aimed for children, such as a movie or TV show). If you win the game, you win a prize for your character (for example, a Captain Hook or Tinkerbell costume for a Peter Pan ad). Quite creative, actually!
Other forms of advertising include sidebar banners (annoying if you accidentally click on them; okay if you can ignore them), a video you can watch for a reward at the end, or an item added to your “inventory,” usually a video trailer that you can easily ignore if you’re not interested.
Poptropica is created by a renowned education company (Pearson), but while education isn’t shoved in your face (which is a good thing; this is not a flashcard-type game!), there are still elements of academic learning within the game. Time Tangled Island is one example – in this adventure, you visit historical figures such as Thomas Edison and Leonardo da Vinci, see environments of the past like the Graff House (1776) and Aztec Empire (1519), and attempt to repair all time by retrieving historical items such as the Declaration of Independence and Phonograph.
In addition, getting through the islands means reading, analyzing, and problem-solving. Players can expand their vocabulary without even realizing it! Poptropica also cleverly includes lots of interesting trivia to be gleaned from in its various islands – in Zomberry Island, the missing investigator Dr. Romero is named after George Romero, the American filmmaker who began the zombie film genre. Perhaps as you visit the Pop Art Museum of Early Poptropica, you’ll even find yourself wanting to talk to Vincent van Gogh’s character – and he’ll tell you about the time he chopped his ear off after a quarrel with another painter named Gaughin. Could it be? Bam! Learning is taking place!
Merchandise & Membership
In an effort to expand the Poptropica franchise, Poptropica has also released lots of merchandise, including action figures, shirts, and books. They’re mostly aimed at younger kids and buying them is of course optional, but if you’re interested, there you go. Some of them even come with in-game bonus prizes if you redeem the code from your purchase.
Poptropica also offers a premium subscription service, better known as membership. It costs about US$3.50 for a month depending on your plan. Paying members get extra perks such as early island access, unlimited Store access, a costume closet, and all album photos – all nice pluses to have, but are not necessary to enjoy the game.
After a while a new island becomes available to everyone, and players can still buy Store items using credits (150 credits are earned for every island completed, regardless of membership). I would say that if you really love Poptropica and have the money, go for it, but if not, it will not hinder you. Unlike some other kids’ gaming websites where not having membership means barely being able to play, Poptropica has found a good balance in what they offer for free and what they offer at a price. Seriously.
Final Verdict: Awesome!
After playing Poptropica for years and watching it grow, I’d give it a rating of A for Awesome. 😀
- PROS: entertaining, engaging, easy controls, safe, educational, presents fun challenges, cool graphics, everything is child-appropriate (any violence is mild), browser-based (no downloads)
- CONS: limited in interaction with other players (but for safety’s sake), membership (but not a huge deal), some obtrusive advertising (not much and not all), limited sound
With more islands on the way, a great community of players even right here on this website, and lots of challenges awaiting on every island, players can continue to have fun as they explore, collect, and compete their way through the extraordinary world of Poptropica.
39 thoughts on “Poptropica: Game Review”
Hope you find this review of Poptropica helpful! If you want to, leave a comment with your review and opinions about Poptropica so others can read those, too. 😀
Well, I usually go for the games that have sound, but Poptropica is an exception. I usually get to imagine how the Poptropicans sound when they talk; however, when it does have sound, I can’t get enough! On Ghost Story Island, I just LOVE the violin.. One time, I played it 10 times in a row before I forced myself to stop! Anyway, I think the Membership is fantastic compared to other websites (there are some websites that after a while not having membership, you can’t play at all). The members and non-members both have the ability to enjoy the game. Also, I usually forget about how educational the website actually is! One last thing, I think most of the ads are okay, (since they usually give you prizes), but I don’t enjoy the ones to the side of the screen. I play sometimes, and push the ad on accident and it makes me go to another page! That’s really the only thing that bothers me, though. Sorry for making my comment so long! 😉 ~SW/IG
I’m imagining the sound of the violin in my head right now!
It’s the same thing with me, Silver Wolf.
Sometimes, I even get frustrated because there isn’t any sound!
I’m pretty good at imagining things, but when everything else is quiet, I want sound on the game too.
I normally listen to Groove Shark. Taylor Swift, Owl City, Avril Lavigne, Adele, and If I die young. (All of those were artists I enjoy, except the last one, which is the best song by The Band Perry)
I totally agree. I love imagining how they sound when they talk. Plus, a couple of the jokes are kinda funny! This website ROCKS ON RYE! That’s a new thing I’m saying now. 🙂
Unlike some other kids’ gaming websites where not having membership means barely being able to play *cough* *clup penguin* *cough*
I think there should be new updates with chatting on Poptropica, because then, it could have more variety. Also, I think there should be real players on the streets, and you can ask, “Would you like to play the quest with me? ” Or something like that. 🙂 Oh, and Maria, as far as I know of, it’s on Shark Tooth Island.
Nice review! For some reason my school has Poptropica banned, so I can’t play it in indoor recess… 😦
You should make a petition! That’ll get there attention! Then they will have to allow you to play it, unless you don’t get a certain number of signatures…
Yeah, that could work! Good idea, Dr. Magic Onion!
Well it’s almost time to go into Middle School so it’s a little late.
Woah! :O You’re an activist, Dr. Magic Onion 😉 😀
I think it’s a great idea to make a petition. I used to play all the time at indoor recess, since my school never banned it. But now I’m in middle school so there’s no recess at all.
I don’t understand that, because Poptropica is kid friendly and educational, so I don’t understand why it would be banned. Why don’t you ask the principal? They could still have Poptropica unbanned for new comers to your school!
Our school had poptropica blocked for a couple years when i was in elementary school, but that was because our new firewall already had it blocked, but i told our computer teacher about it, and she got it un-blocked! but some teachers still won’t let us play it, becuse they haven’t played the game, and they don’t think it’s educational.
sorry my comment is so long
My mom doesn’t like my playing Poptropica sometimes because of Islands like Twisted Thicket and Vampire’s Curse.
What’s wrong with Twisted Thicket? I can see Vampire’s Curse being disliked but Twisted Thicket, that doesn’t make sense.
Maybe since Twisted Thicket has violent Lumberjerks.
If I was the head of your school then I would let kids play Poptropica for the whole day!
where is the mini game for peter pan like on which island
Slanted Fish: It’s not available now. Poptropica ad games only stay for a while.
r u guys all in middle school because i am
I agree with clean shark. We should be able to create phrases and sentences with pre-scripted words and phrases. that way, it would still be kid friendly. You should be able to do that in common rooms and outside, with actual players. That way other players can help you if you are stuck and vice versa. I really hate the ads on the sides but I love the ones in the islands. I love playing games that they set for you to do or just messing around with the pictures! I really love Poptropica and i have gotten used to the no sounds, so much that I have to put the mute button on all the other games i play! As a middle school student (and an advanced one too) I don’t get much learning in this game, but I still get some and I think a lot of other people in the 6-11 range would get a lot. I am 12 and am going into a VA middle school, just in case you are wondering, Reply if the comment helps, or say why it didn’t!
Young Flame, AKA Beefy Owl, AKA Red Rock, AKA Red Lizard, AKA Mighty Tornado
I think we should be able to play with another person in Poptropica, like you could ask a real player in the streets if you want to play the Island Quest, and you two could jump in the blimp together, and then you go to the Island if you don’t want to play the Island you met on.
Yeah! And we need an easier way to chat. Like the creators can write up words and phrases that we can use to type with. Nothing that we can bully with.
They can also draw pictures too. And they would include all the words that make up our names.
Yeah! That way a real person can help you if you’re stumped! I also think it would be really cool because I have two Poptropicans, so I would be playing wiht myself. 😉
Unpopular Opinion Time! (possibly)
I think that Poptropica is mostly perfect, even without type-up chat. I have an Animal Jam account, and one of the players was saying a REALLY bad word. (or as close as they could get to it.) PROS OF POPTROPICA: No pop-up ads; easy play without membership
Whats ur aj username lol im PancakePies
My AJ username is cca224.
Clean shark is right!
I totally agree with this review because I’ve been playing this game since there was only Early Poptropica
Poptropica is the best game I’ve ever played. Seriously.
Great review! The best thing about Poptropica is the chatting security. I don’t get to play virtual games which don’t have those safety things and we can communicate with each other easily, like asking which country we live in, our password or whatever. Poptropica chatting is safe so I can play it, thank goodness for that.
The even better thing about Poptropica is, without Membership, you can still enjoy ALL the things! I’ve played alot of virtual games in the past and without membership, you can’t enjoy.
Unlike other virtual games, Poptropica has Islands to complete, can I get a woot woot?
So, we always have a Island to finish, where we have to use our brains or just use the…walkthroughs. Each Island has a interesting and enjoyable plot and everyone is excited to know how the story unfolds!
I’ve only been playing Poptropica for a year but I LOVE IT. It is seriously the best game ever. I got to know about Poptropica, because you see, my favourite author, Jeff Kinney (Author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series) has a website made for WImpy Kid fans, so I went on it and wanted to know more about Jeff Kinney and soon found out he is one of the creators of Poptropica! Isn’t that fantastic? At first I didn’t seem to get Poptropica, but now I adore it ❤
Poptropica is a really good game although the chat issue is a hindrance. I go on it almost every day and I have been playing since the Members Only Early Access Period for Monster Carnival. I have completed most of the islands on my other account Speedy Catfish, however I am a non member (:() I am usually wearing rares like a robot helmet (not the prize from Legendary Swords), a lion tail, and holding a bizarre item like Athena’s spear or the torch from Time Tangled Island. Add me @ fastflame528. I love Poptropica and even though I am a bit of a n0oB when you think about how long Slanted Fish has been playing, I know a lot about it. 😀 If you read this far WITHOUT skipping ahead……….. whoa. You have a much better attention span than most people I have come across on Poptropica. Bye. :p
Too bad the review’s a little outdated now.