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 🐬

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This year, give the gift of Grapple-Pap 🎁

Heyo, Poptropicans! Big news: as promised, the festive Grapple-Pap side quest has appeared on Pop! After playing through it, I found it to be a very intriguing adventure. To begin, head across the wondrously snowy Home Island and speak to the man with a pile of presents.

He’ll ask you to deliver a gift to his sister. But before you accept the challenge, there’s one thing that needs to be set straight; what exactly is Grapple-Pap? According to the man, it’s ‘the time of year Poptropicans give gifts and merriment’. So it’s essentially the Poptropica version of Christmas! (I wonder what other holidays Poptropicans celebrate…)

If you’re feeling ready to go Grapple-Papping, respond with a ‘sure’ and you’ll be whisked off to start the adventure! Keep reading for a full guide with pictures below.

You’ll be in a very festive-looking town. Everybody’s dressed up in traditional Grapple-Pap apparel. Walk on up the road. You’ll pass by several townspeople getting ready for the holiday, including three jump-ropers and an ice-skater!

When asked where Clareta is, they all come up with generally the same answers. Nobody’s seen her for years, and they think that the Grapple-Pap got her. After all, if you don’t spread cheer, the great Grapple-Pap will get you for one whole year…very mysterious indeed. One will also tell you that the holiday is named after somebody called the Grapple-Pap! Finally, you’ll find a Poptropican who will give you a clue about Clareta. The baker up at the Salty Nugget tells you that Clareta lives in Cold Cliff Pass. An NPC wandering near the Salty Nugget will also warn you that Clareta has become ‘mean’ over the years…that can’t mean anything good.

Following the baker’s advice, go right to Cold Cliff Pass. There’s quite a bit of pretty winter scenery in this area.

It’s cold outside…

Keep walking down the hill until you reach a tunnel of ice with several floating platforms. There’s a stone block with an engraving on it; push it all the way against the far wall of the ice cave, and jump on it to reach the last platform. From there, climb onto the top slope and exit the ice tunnel.

Walk up a second hill and you’ll find yourself in front of a ledge with another stone block on top of it. Hop onto the ledge, and push the block off of it. Keep pushing it until you reach a very tall snowdrift. Using the block as a boost, climb up onto the snowdrift.

Go down another ice tunnel, and jump up onto a second tunnel above it, this one filled with snow and holly. There’s another stone block wedged in this tunnel, so you’ll have to push it out before you can proceed. From there, you’ll see a rope. Climb up it, and you’ll be in a blizzard; dangerous, yet beautiful. Walk against the blizzard down a hill–and, hey, there’s footprints in the snow here! Clareta must live nearby!

It sure is winter here.

Sure enough, at the bottom of the slope there’s a (rather rundown) house. Enter it.

Whoa, this house sure is creepy…just look at that huge, uh, whatever it is, hanging from the ceiling! But there’s a fire in the grate, so somebody must still live here. Walk through the house as far as you can go, past a huge bed with a bearskin on it, and you’ll see a piece of paper perched on a windowsill. Click on it, and you’ll see…

Aw, it’s Clareta and her brother (the man who sent you on the quest) at a Grapple-Pap years ago! Just look how young and happy they were…and it looks like Clareta is holding a Grapple-Pap gift not much different from the one you were sent to deliver to her. The two of them must have lived here together, at least when they were younger.

Once you’ve finished admiring that cute image, close it, and something quite frightening will happen. The bed behind you begins to shake…there’s a lump moving under the covers…and a very angry and bedraggled Clareta will burst out!! (Apologies for the horrible screenshot. I definitely wasn’t expecting something like that to happen!)

“I have a Grapple-Pap gift from your–“

Wow, somebody’s feeling nasty today. Clareta will scream at you to leave her house, which you, quite willingly, do. That Grapple-Pap’ll always get you if you’re not careful, as Clareta clearly demonstrated. But you can’t let it end like this…there must be something you can do to remind Clareta of the holiday spirit!

And, indeed, an opportunity presents itself! A very large pile of snow outside the house falls away to reveal a huge stone block with what must be the Grapple-Pap himself engraved upon it. Click on the block, and it’ll slide down the hill and crash straight into Clareta’s house! Oops…

Another scream will issue from the now-broken house, and Clareta will come outside and sprint away, promising that she’ll spread cheer. Run along after her.

Follow her back into the town, where she’ll be dancing (sudden change in mood, huh?) while holding a Grapple-Pop. She’ll thank you for reminding her what Grapple-Pap is all about, and gives you a Grapple-Pop as your reward. Congratulations, you’ve completed the Grapple-Pap quest!

Equip the Grapple-Pop and press space bar to turn everybody’s heads green.

Welp, that sure was a wild ride! Even though it’s not a full island, this side quest has really given us some insight on Poptropican lore and traditions. Overall, I think it’s pretty cool (pun may or may not be intended). But what do you think? Let us know in the comments down below! Merry Grapple-Pap!

~Purple Paw