Hey Poptropicans, this is a guest post by jaekelopterus3 (Perfect Fish), who’ll be reporting on the latest advertisement island to hit the map. Let’s pop in!
Kira’s Island is the latest American Girl ad to rise from the seas of Poptropica. It’s on the first page of the map and stands apart from its predecessors for its setting: we’ve left America for Australia!
For one thing, America has a distinct lack of wild koalas and kangaroos. The dry ground and vegetation resemble Australia’s different climates, and the presence of a koala and male Australian king parrot (red with green wings) on the map icon indicate that we’re entering Australia’s eastern coast, as that is where those species dwell.
We land right in the middle of the Bailey Wildlife Sanctuary, with several buildings to enter, prizes to collect, the star of the show (Kira), and a few other characters to talk to. Unlike with Courtney’s Island, this place is dubbed not with original music but the clubhouse music.
Let’s grab the first prize we see: the Dodger Follower. Like the Australian king parrot from the map image, Dodger is an exact match for a real animal: an Australian magpie. While wild magpies have a reputation for aggressively defending their nests when their young are being raised, Dodger is content to follow you around, flapping like the Blue Woodpecker Follower from Quippy’s store in Survival Island: Ep. 1.
As you can see from the signs on the right, a few facts are given about some of Australia’s most iconic animals. The animals hanging out at this end of Main Street are just as interesting as the rest. The emu has a thicker and more luxurious ‘do than the bristly head feathers of the real thing, but otherwise it’s pretty accurate, and the kookaburra’s distinct cyan wing stripe led me to research its species: the blue-winged kookaburra of northern Australia, consistent with the location of this island being near Townsville.
The Wombat Pair prize, which is a handheld item with male and female variants, can be picked up right in front of the wildlife rescue clinic. Just click on the crate and they’ll come with you.
On Main Street you’ll also find Aunt Mamie and Alexis, whose dialogues add a bit of Australian culture to the scene: “arvo” being Australian slang for “afternoon,” and “g’day” for “good day.” Looks like this wildlife rescue camp is not just located in Australia, but run by Australians who care about their biodiversity.
Step inside the wildlife rescue clinic for two prizes and a minigame! Inside, click on the koala on the table and it will hold you, leaving your hands free and granting you the Bean Piggyback Rider. Considering that Dodger can be seen in a kennel on the left of this screen, I assume that Bean is the same full-size koala we saw drinking milk outside. (Aren’t you a little old to still be nursing, Bean? Maybe Bean is still a juvenile koala and the adults are supposed to be bigger in this universe.)
You can trigger the minigame by talking to Kira or clicking on the card deck. It’s a card-matching game that starts with the cards face-up then shuffled around, like the mahjong tiles from Time Tangled Island. Pair together the kookaburra, wombat, emu, and other animals within the time limit of 3 minutes to win!
Your prize is Blossom in a Satchel, the baby kangaroo hanging on the wall. Blossom looks like an Eastern gray kangaroo, unlike the other two we’ve seen so far. At least the satchel serves well as a makeshift pouch. (Hey Bean, do you mind leaving some milk for Blossom? The ‘roo joey probably needs it more than you do…)
In the middle of Main Street is the American Girl Store, which doesn’t offer prizes, but offers a peek into the American Girl doll line. Inside, you’ll find Kira’s predecessors, Joss and Courtney. A few items on either end can be interacted with: on the left, the boombox plays music, the care-bear jumps, and the phone rings.
On the right, you can eat damper bread (a traditional Australian soda bread) at the Brekky Cafe (though it’s traditionally cooked in the ashes of a campfire rather than in a cafe).
Heading next door, the movie theater (both inside and out) lets us know that there will be new videos every week (unlike with the previous American Girl ads, which released a bunch of videos all at once). For now, there’s only one — a music video — but it seems that this island will be updating with new clips for at least eight weeks.
Moving to the other end of Main Street, there’s another area with a minigame. This Wallaroo Tent doesn’t house wallaroos (macropods in between the size of a kangaroo and a wallaby) though: it’s the makeshift base of Kira herself. From the middle poster, we see that Kira calls Michigan home, making her an American girl by nationality, even though this is Australia. You can also grab two glittering prizes here: Kira’s Outdoor Outfit (left) and Kira’s Hiking Boots (right).
Talk to Kira to start the minigame. Similar to the recent Wolfwalkers ad minigame, the goal is to search high and low through a forest setting to find objects. The path varies, so I will not be posting a walkthrough, and in fact would advise against playing this, as it caused my web browser (Chrome) to crash. Anyway, there are four clues to look for.
At the end of the game, you find the Paradise Parrot, a creature whose name belongs to a real but sadly extinct bird. Normally I don’t enjoy looking at taxidermy, but only from it can we see that Poptropica’s Paradise Parrot here is supposed to be the male of the real animal.
The real Paradise Parrot is thought to have been driven out of existence by a double threat from cattle ranchers, who exposed the parrots to egg predation by rats and competition for food with cattle. However, even though the Paradise Parrot has not been seen alive since 1927, Kira seems to have evidence that in her universe, it still hides in the Australian bush. Maybe it’s out there laying low, but that seems unlikely.
Going back to the prize from the minigame, the Tropical Bird Power is a pair of earrings that can summon a flock of three species, the Australian king parrot and two others I can’t confidently identify.
The parrots with blue heads may be rainbow lorikeets or red-collared lorikeets, but the coloration is not an exact match. However, out of all parrots including the rest of the lorikeets, they are the closest candidate. And again with only partial confidence, I identified the non-parrot as the black-headed variant of the gouldian finch. They do look similar to the “Paradise Parrot” tropical birds from the minigame.
That’s the end of our tour of Kira’s Island! As time goes on, maybe the upcoming theater videos will offer a deeper message about conservation and the biodiversity of Australia, or it may just expand on Kira’s story and promote the merchandise. We will see. In any case, this island is fairly well-researched, if lacking in original music. 2021 brings a different kind of American Girl ad to the table, that’s for sure.
Hope you enjoyed this guest post by jaekelopterus3 (Perfect Fish). If you did, you might also enjoy our other deep dives into Poptropica’s American Girl Islands for Joss and Courtney, two ad-ventures released last year.
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