“A game like Club Penguin”
Much has happened since the last time we spoke.
For example, the long-awaited “successor” to Club Penguin; Club Penguin Island, now is no more than a single player world that only exists if you downloaded the app before it’s closure. The franchise in which encapsulated childhoods of a generation, now no more. At least officially, of course.
Alas, it’s time for something new. Is the high-flying Animal Jam the answer? Or maybe reliving Club Penguin via the fan-made, unofficial (yet very impressive) Club Penguin Rewritten?
Or how about we look at the current workings of the man who created Club Penguin – Lance Priebe I.e Rocketsnail.
I’m sure many will have at least checked out his latest game in testing, Epic Snails. Whilst still a virtual world, it doesn’t quite harness the same gameplay mechanics as that of the winter wonderland we all knew and loved. It’s certainly an interesting, unique game – but not one that’ll satisfy those in need of ”a game like Club Penguin”.
“A game like Club Penguin”
I’ve heard these words used on numerous occasions over the years. Almost every virtual world aimed at children got described as such, regardless of how accurate the statement was. Panfu, Animal Jam, Bin Weevils, Fantage – the list goes on.
In my experience, only one game ever came close. That was Pandanda. Unfortunately, it closed 2 years after its official launch in 2010 (though in Beta from 2008) due to financial reasons.
After Club Penguin’s eventual closure in March 2017, Club Penguin Island – formerly codenamed Project Super Secret behind the scenes, took its place. However, after years of hype, Disney pulled support for the direct successor a year and a half after it released. But of course, we all know this already.
What comes next?
So earlier I mentioned Rocketsnail. Since he left Club Penguin, some wondered if or when he was creating another game like Club Penguin. Like any good game developer, he wanted to work on new projects. Completely understandable. There would be no more games like Club Penguin developed by the man himself. Until now.
The mastermind behind our beloved franchise, on which this, and countless other blogs have devoted a lot of time and effort into, is in the early stages of working on something new. Yet something very familiar at the same time.
That “something new” is called Box Critters.
Box Critters – what we know so far
Initially, Box Critters didn’t really sound or look anything like Club Penguin. With the focus seemingly on quests instead of social interaction, it sounded more like a child-friendly Runescape. The artwork on the other hand, a finely crafted paint-looking artwork that even Van Gogh would’ve admired.
Since the news of Club Penguin’s doomsay, however, the focus appears to have shifted quite considerably. Let’s have a look at some of the new-look-artwork.
Does the room look familiar? It should – this is quite clearly designed by an artist who once worked for Club Penguin – a genius move by Lance to immediately attract those seeking a new place to waddle around and meet new friends, albeit without the waddling.
There’s throwbacks to the winter wonderland itself, including a crossbow and hamster skull very similar to the Puffle and crossbows we saw on Rockhopper’s Migrator. This is fully intending to fill the void left by Disney’s abrupt decision in 2018. To generate excitement amongst the passionate fan base Rocketsnail has built since the early days of Experimental Penguins and Penguin Chat.
Hamsters are the new..penguins?
The choice of a hamster is both refreshing and exciting, though challenging the popularity of penguins will surely be a ginormous task. Will there be any other characters to choose from? Who knows. But this looks to be a fresh idea that, if executed properly, could be another smash hit for the veteran game developer.
All I know thus far is that I’m extremely excited to see how Box Critters will evolve as production progresses. For many of us, a game like Club Penguin has been something we’ve patiently being waiting for. For some, this was after Club Penguin Island shut down. For others, possibly as early as 2013 which some argue marked the the beginning of the game’s decline.
But how exactly will Box Critters survive in a saturated gaming market that differs enormously to that of 2005? Stay tuned for a future blog post where I’ll aim to answer this question – and more!