After quite the hiatus, I’ve decided to return to annoying the fanboys and being an overwhelmingly cynical Penguin. This time however, Club Penguin Island is the game facing the criticism!
So, after CP’s inevitable closure on March 29th, the game was reborn as a mobile-only app named Club Penguin Island. I’m sure most if not all reading this have played it as, you know, this is a CP-based blog. And I have posted about it numerous times before..
Anyway! The most recent version of said app released today – version 1.2. Promising bug fixes and performance improvements; but that’s not all! Also incorporated into this update was a few notable features in which makes the game more playable (and some unfortunate bugs which make the game UNplayable!). This ‘review’ of sorts will look at some of the updates we’ve seen today, including the unfortunate ‘bugs’ in which joined the slowly-growing island.
Of course, new quests were added for Aunt Arctic. Whilst I can’t play all of them yet (too low level!), they re-introduce some very familiar characters such as Jet Pack Guy (more like Jet Pack Gains), Gary, Dot, Rookie and even Herbert & Klutzy. Players will notice that all the aforementioned characters have a new character design and some..and more ‘interesting’ than others. Whilst many of the younger players may find them appealing, I personally find the overly-anthropomorphic creatures somewhat disturbing.
Regardless, more quests are good! They replace the mini-games as the go-to form of entertainment and some are even a little reminiscent of the old PSA/EPF missions.
User Interface & New Features
The game introduces several improvements to the overall gameplay. Notable mentions include a well-overdue map has been added, allowing players to teleport to whichever room they wish as opposed to having to waddle to it themselves. Perfect for missions and those all-important Megg meet-ups!
There’s also a new clothing catalogue in which contains items designed by players of CPI. To make this better, a portion of the coins spent on said item will be sent straight to the original designer! This is a fantastic little edition in which makes the game more community-based. Certainly a welcome edition.
Another absolutely fantastic addition is the ability to tell whether something you say passes the filter. Yep, remember when I suggested this? CP finally introduced it! If a message doesn’t pass, a simplistic ‘____’ appears in your chat bubble, where the original message would’ve been. This is arguably the biggest chat update to the CP franchise of all time. Absolute game changer – literally!
A Bug’s Life
As with most software updates, this game saw the introduction of a few bugs and glitches. Most noticeably was a horrible frame-rate lag bug in which occurred after a short time if a player stays in a populated room. This became especially evident during Megg’s April 12th meetup – though this was approximately an hour after the update dropped so they can be forgiven just this once. Still an odd bug when considering this version was supposed to include ‘performance improvements’.
Another odd bug is that of texture errors. In numerous cases, an item in the clothing customiser will appear incorrectly textured – or completely black. This has happened several times to me and my long-time friend Jartarf. Hopefully an immediate update rolls out to fix the updates caused by this update. Ah, the joys of software!
Conclusion – Positives
- New quests with recurring characters
- Integration of a much-needed Map
- Construction of Mt. Blizzard, fore-sighting a new location
- Amazing new icon when messages don’t pass the filter
- New clothing catalogue with community-designed items
- New Disney Tangled-themed items?
- New Tubes!
- CPI Phone, a new UI in which keeps track of Daily Challenges, Settings, Island News and even Penguin-Standard-Time, though it can be a little slow to load at times
Conclusion – Negatives
- Annoying frame-rate bug which, at times, makes the game unplayable
- Texture bugs
- Overly-anthropomorphic characters such as Rookie and Jet Pack Guy (of whom now is a lifeguard?) leaving a sour taste amongst the older players of community
- Non-Members still don’t have access to barely anything (including the Beta Hat & Alumni Jacket)
- Levelling-up can be a farce, there’s still no solution to this
- Still no Puffles or Igloos!
Overall, this update was a relatively solid one in which fixed many core elements of the games. However, the game still ultimately suffers from the same issues it has since launch. Pretty much everything is exclusive to Members, meaning that if users aren’t willing to pay for Membership then they are left without clothing items, quests or even the ability to consume food or drink. Balancing the game for Non-Members is something in which is urgently needed – and that’s coming from a (current) Member.
And so concludes my first post in quite a while. I have to admit, for all of CPI’s shortcomings, the game has helped me enjoy Club Penguin again. The franchise was in desperate need of a reboot and I believe CPI is a good attempt at doing so. However, the game is still lacking in several key areas – at least for now!
Oh and the Earth Day celebrations begin tomorrow which promise the first ever item available to Non-Members as well as Members. Expect a review of that too..
Until next time, Waddle on!
Earlier this week, Spike Hike announced he would be leaving Disney.
It would be safe to say this shook the Club Penguin community. During this difficult period of Flash CP – Project Super Secret, users needed stability and comfort. This is where Spike came in. Long-running General Manager of Disney apps (and of course, Club Penguin), he replaced Billybob and faced a massive swarm of attention due to this – whether praise or criticism.
Many believed Spike was “evil”, a replacement to Billybob which never quite settled too well with the games fanbase. Any issue or problem occurred on the game – Spike Hike was to blame. Whilst terribly unfair, Spike Hike continued the legacy left by the original CP founders. It was, and still is to this day, in very good hands. Even during the announcements of Project Super Secret, losing all our items and the new experience being mobile-only, Spike Hike was undoubtedly behind this. Solely? No. With the interests of everyone at heart? Absolutely.
Replacing a member of the community of which existed from the very beginning – and fast-tracked the games’ development since its early days was no easy feat. Spike took the role of a leader, someone to admire and look up to when times turned dark. Today’s meet up with the legendary purple-mohawk bearing penguin showed just how much of an impact this man had upon CP’s legacy. Sure, Billybob was the original manager, but absolutely nobody could argue Spike was significant and upmost the man to thank for CP’s continuous – if not somewhat declining – existence.
He lead us to PSS. For whatever reason, he now decides to leave this island and begin adventures anew. Is this because he was fired? Is this because of CP’s almost dramatic decline into barely-existence? I don’t believe so. Many of us feel the need to move on eventually. As did Rocketsnail. As did Screenhog. As did Happy77. As did Polo Field. As did Businesmoose. And so on. Many of us dislike too much comfort and decide that a new challenge is the most beneficial to our lives. As the overused cliche of 2013 says: You only live once.
We begin a new chapter very soon where we start again. Our current accounts are almost meaningless. Our new adventures await in the form of PSS. Mobile is undoubtedly the future (despite our battery life woes!), and CP on the desktop will continue to exist until Flash ceases to exist. What we can do now is simple: Look to the future. As a player since 2007, I can say – for the first time in many, many years – that I am excited for this new experience. I probably should’ve left this game years ago – just as my friends did. But something maintained my interested in this game and I believe PSS is just that.
Spike Hike, you were and are a truly great leader. Sure, the recent lack of communication was somewhat frustrating but we always knew the you – a long-lasting familiar face upon the CP scene – existed to keep us calm and motivated. You claimed that us, the fanbase, are actually the “new CEO of the game” but we need a familiar face to guide us – just as you did upon Billybob’s resignation.
With a new version of CP (in the form of PSS) rapidly on its’ way – what fans of the game need is familiarity and stability – something in which Spike Hike could’ve delivered during these admittedly difficult times for the game. If not, who will? The community! We exist regardless of the current manager and staff members. But we need someone to provide our faith too. Will this be Megg – a refreshingly young woman able to connect with the majority of players? Who knows. But please, give us something. We need as much support as possible during the transitional period.
A general manager leaving at this point is simply unsettling..
Until next time, Waddle on. And thanks, Spike Hike. For everything over these past few years. Here’s to your future! As well as ours.
It was an average day way back in May 2007 when it all began. I’d only just started using a laptop properly – yes, I was from the generation where the outdoors was a more favourable experience! Aside from learning the wonders of Google search and being overwhelmed by how vast the Internet truly was, I was by no means experienced with anything technical (ironic considering I’m now a 3D animation graduate..).
I remember playing the occasional flash games popular within my school. World’s Hardest Game and Bubble Trouble were amongst my favourites. I spent an unholy amount of hours on my laptop – an old, beat up device running the legacy Windows XP, discovering new content every day. Having an almost infinite library of things to discover was incredible, yet I often found myself struggling to discover things in which kept my attention for more than a couple of hours That’s when I remembered something a friend said. He recommended a game. I think by now we all know what game this was – Club Penguin.
So much has changed since that day and I won’t go into unnecessary detail. The facts are that Club Penguin will soon change forever – a completely new era. Project Super Secret will mark the start of a completely new Club Penguin, one that we’ve been expecting for a while now – and that’s a good thing! Times have changed drastically since CP’s inception almost 11 years ago. The mobile industry has changed the way we communicate and play games. Steve Jobs’ vision of a Flash-free Internet is quickly becoming a reality, with all major browsers beginning to stop supporting the antique plug-in.
The move to mobile is a logical yet controversial one. The lack of support for PCs alienates those who don’t have a smartphone (or one that will run the app smoothly). Unlike PCs (unless you’re an intensive gamer), smartphones become outdated within a couple of years meaning younger players who rely on their parents – or simply cannot afford high-end devices – are excluded from the CP experience. I have little doubt that the PC version will eventually arrive but will those users wait around until it does? Who knows. Luckily, quality smartphones are becoming cheaper and cheaper in the form of Android alternatives (and even the somewhat affordable iPhone SE). I digress.
CP is doing what it needs to in order to survive. Sure, the desktop version isn’t going anywhere anytime soon but the focus on PSS will likely leave it more unpopular than ever.
Controversy, Controversy, Controversy.
Whilst the majority of the CP faithful – like myself – are excited to test the latest offering from Disney’s virtual world (even if it is a geo Beta!), the news surrounding the community this week is that our accounts (other than potential usernames) will not be carried over to this new system. Despite CP spending what was likely countless hours in the computer labs re-creating every item in 3D for the app, PSS will have an entire new inventory system in which won’t be compatible. Will these items ever appear in PSS at all? For sure, but we will have to collect them all over again.
At first I found this move to be ridiculous. All of our items we’ve collected over the years – gone! All that money spent on Memberships to buy Members-only items – gone! Whilst this is true, the current CP will continue to exist on desktop for a while – we don’t know the exact date but we can expect another year at least. Still, with attention turning to PSS I can say that I’m excited. More excited that I was before.
The thought of a new start on a new game (basically signing up all over again) makes everyone on the same playing field. CP enthusiast since 2007 or 2-day old Newbie, it won’t matter (for the first year or so at least!). It’s an exciting time, discovering a brand new island and making new friends just as I did 9 years ago. It’s no secret that I had become tired of CP’s efforts as of late, so much so that I log in simply to get the pin then log out. Then again, why should I even do that when my account will seize to exist in a few years? I wonder if pins will continue to be released in PSS…I hope so!
RIP Club Penguin. Wait. What?!
It now seems many are sharing their fondest memories of the game, saying their goodbyes etc. Whilst the game as we know it won’t be going away anytime soon, we can say farewell to this era of Club Penguin – a game in which enhanced millions of peoples lives in so many different ways. The heavy investment, both in terms of time and finance is a clear indication that they think PSS will work – and work very well. Let’s just hope it’s not ruined by micro transactions.
Do I Stay Or Do I Go?
I realise I’m amongst the oldest of players of this game – alongside several other bloggers that I know of. Trainman1405 (Club Penguin Memories) recently decided to quit the game after his penguin turned 10. The majority of my friends I’ve met online have also quit. I’ve considered it myself many times. Unlike some bloggers, I receive no financial income from advertisements and thus many would probably question why is it I still play this damn game which is aimed at children?!
To that, I have no answer. But I don’t need one. I play the game because I want to play the game. Does logging in occasionally to collect pins, check out parties etc even count as playing? I’ll leave that to you. But for now, I’ll still be (somewhat) active around Twitter, post here occasionally and hopefully beta test PSS later this year (presuming it’s not a closed or geo beta). For the first time in a while, I’m genuinely excited for what comes next on Disney’s #1 virtual world.
(I’m not even sure what this post was meant to be or why exactly I wrote it. I guess I just wanted to write something as I hadn’t in a while. I highly doubt anyone even read all this. If by some miracle someone did, be sure to let me know!)
Until next time, Waddle on!
October on Club Penguin means two things – the Anniversary Party & the Halloween Party. Two of my favourite parties of the year which act as juxtapositions towards each other. One is a cheery event to celebrate the life of a game, whereas the latter is a spook fest full of all-things dead..and scary! With the Anniversary leading perfectly into this Halloween party – I had high expectations. So, let’s see how it turned out!
During the second week of the Anniversary party, the MascBots began to act very…strange. This served as the basis for the Halloween Party. Whilst years past saw us encounter ghosts and werewolves, this year’s version had players face the malfunctioned MascBots. However, it turns out the reasoning for said malfunction wasn’t the island’s favourite inventor Gary, but rather the evil polar bear we’ve all come to secretly love.
This year, CP decided to combine a scavenger hunt of years past with puzzles to really challenge the player. Well, I say challenge, the scavenger hunts were incredibly easy. The way the MascBots were stopped were due to fear – something apparently even robots can feel. Each mascot revealed their greatest fear and players had to find said object to scare the MascBots into pausing for a while – just enough time to deactivate them.
The scavenger hunts were easy. So easy that the original mascots themselves would actually either give you incredibly blatant hints or actually tell you where the item should be. For example, Gary’s fear – Decaf Coffee, was obviously found in the Coffee Shop. The deactivation of the MascBots is completed by connecting green wires to yellow wires. It’s a puzzle that involves rotating blocks, thus connecting them to each other. Overall, it’s a relatively simply puzzle; though deactivating the HerBot was the most challenging as you would expect.
The usual ‘come back every day to unlock and complete this quest’ returned once more. That’s unless you were playing the app! Those with access to the app could complete the entire party’s tasks in one day. Hurray!
The items for this years Halloween was a mixed bag. Members received all the ‘heads’ from the malfunctioned MascBots which was admittedly a good choice from CP and currently the closest we have to actual mascot items (bar the Herbert Disguise costume). Non-members however, got something a little less remarkable. Each scavenger hunt item was also the reward for deactivating each MascBot. For example, the Decaf coffee spoke earlier was also the hand item reward for deactivating the Gary MascBot. Very original.
Some of these items were also an odd choice. Dot’s fear – an ugly sweater was actually a hand item. I guess it makes sense that a sweater that ugly shouldn’t be a body item (and thus a wearable sweater – imagine how many players would get offended if they actually liked it!), but it’s still a pretty odd choice. Other than the Robot Antenna, every other item for Non-Members was a hand item. Very little variety here..
..Oh, and Members could adopt the Ghost Puffles once again. These are some of my favourite Puffles, so I wish they were for everyone this year. Ah well.
Gary of course! Whilst the other mascots had a pop-up in which they interacted with the player, they didn’t actually waddle around the island. A seemingly poor choice perhaps, but they were all present (bar Herbert & the Penguin Band) during the 10th Anniversary Party so I suppose this can be forgiven.
Halloween on CP has always been famous for its’ decorations. Ever since 2006 changed everything by introducing a dark sky, it’s remained an iconic feature since. Whilst some years have had eclipses whilst others have had storms, this year’s seemed to combine them both. A great example of Pathetic Fallacy here, kids! (Google it!).
Whilst newly decorated rooms were few and far between, the mix of old and new was almost seamless. Herbert’s Lair was a very nice new room and served its’ purpose very well. Even old favourites returned such as the Slime Pool (in the underground pool). Overall, this was a very strong attempt by CP at providing us with an almost-island-wide-decorated party. As we have come to expect from this annual event.
Okay I’ll admit it. I enjoyed this party. It brought a solid storyline and some much needed love for Herbert and Klutzy. Whilst I loved the twist of last year’s Halloween party, I felt that Skip the Bellhop/Ghost lacked a proper motif for his actions. This year however, this wasn’t the case as we’ve all come to expect such actions from the evil polar bear and his crab sidekick. The great visuals, satisfactory items (for Members at least) and a very solid storyline (combined with a prologue and foreshadowing from a previous party all results in a Halloween to remember.
So now we’re in November and look forward to the next event. November was once known as the month of Ninjas, but they’ve recently made way for various EPF missions instead. This year will be no exception, as Operation Crustacean will hit the island. Little is known about the event currently, but we do know it will involve UFOs..
Random CP Fact #51: Many penguins are currently obtaining the Tinfoil Hat – a mysterious item that’s not available in any catalogue. How, you may ask? They’ve been abducted by aliens! At the times listed below, a random penguin from the respective room will be abducted. They will then be transported to a UFO ship for a few seconds before being returned to the room they were previously in. Once abducted, you will receive the Tinfoil Hat.
Note: The hour is irrelevant. The only thing that counts is the minutes past the hour.
Ski Hill: –:37
Ski Village: –:42
Snow Forts: –:02
Mine Shack: –:17
Skate Park: –:22
Until next time, Waddle on!
Today marks the end of the much anticipated 10th Anniversary party. A huge milestone in CP’s history deserves a huge party – a big statement when considering the Anniversary parties of previous years have fallen in the Halloween parties’ shadows. So, how did CP celebrate turning a decade old? Let’s begin this review!
Most Anniversary parties simply have one or two decorated rooms (the Coffee Shop and Book Room / CP Times office). The only exception to this was the 3rd Anniversary, which also saw the Town decorated. Since then, the birthday events have grown smaller and smaller each year which is ironic considering its’ aim was to celebrate the game growing older and thus bigger, though this wasn’t exactly the case as we all know. This anniversary was the first to actually sport an actual plot – other than to simply celebrate the game’s birthday. Gary created MascBots – robot versions of CP’s beloved mascots. However, the second week of the island-wide event saw the MascBots go haywire. What did we honestly expect from a Gary invention that was only version 2999?!
Like with all Anniversaries prior, we didn’t actually have to do much other than to collect a party hat and pretend to eat cake. However, there was a new Item Calendar which saw the return of 21 items from previous parties, and even a few extra bonus items for completing a few tasks that had returned too. The prime example here being that of Santa’s Sled (accessible from the Book Room during several Christmas parties).
Coming back every day to collect a new – or rather old – item may seem a tedious process but this time I found that it built up excitement rather than boredom. We could see every item on the calendar, but couldn’t collect them until they were unlocked. This meant that, upon logging in and clicking the calendar, player’s were greeted with the sight of extremely rare and sought after items – but more on those later. All in all, a fun and very simplistic party. Activities / quests were simply not necessary.
Ah, where to begin. As mentioned previously, there was a brilliant 21 item calendar full of returning items. The best part? There were two very, very rare items that haven’t returned since 2006 and 2007 respectively. These items of course are the Ice Skates and Blue Lei. No, not quite the Hawaiian (or Red) Lei, but still a very rare item. Other items of interest are the Yellow Inflatable Duck (from 2006 and 2008), the Brown Pirate Boots (2008) and Marshmallow Stick (2007). Add to this several other items from 2008 – 2014 and you have a plethora of items to collect. There was also two items that were previously Members-only items. These were the Cream Pie (Muppet’s World Tour 2014) and the Lantern (Halloween Party 2008). These means that if your penguin has always been a non-member, you received at least two free items – even if you’ve played since 2005. It also of course means that if you signed up after August 2006, you received at least one item. Awesome!
These items were not randomly selected however, they were instead chosen due to the party the rooms were decorated from. For example, the Blue Lei returned as the Beacon’s decorations were from the Summer Kick off Party 2007. Likewise with the Ice Skates returning due to the Ski Hill’s Sports Party 2006 decorations.
But, that’s not it! 21 items is a huge amount for any party – but let’s not forget the main item from this event – the party hat! The 10th Anniversary Party Hat is undoubtedly the most complex thus far, sporting a more interesting and ‘busy’ design (complete with animated sparklers!). Whilst this item was great for a Anniversary of this significance, I hope they return to the simplistic design next year.
Oh, and let’s not forget the Yellow, Pink and Blue Lightbulb head item’s that were available for everyone after delivering presents on Santa’s Sled (returning from the Holiday Party 2012). Let’s also not forget about the 8 autographed mascot backgrounds that were also available if you managed to meet said mascots (all backgrounds returned from various years). Overall, this party offered the richest selection of free items from any party – ever. Best of all, everything was available for everyone!
Not only did this party feature MascBots as tour guides for respective rooms, but the actual mascots themselves returned to celebrate the landmark event. Unfortunately, not every mascot made a appearance however. The Penguin Band saw themselves without an invite and Herbert was busy creating the Herbot. Sasquatch didn’t make an appearance either, which would’ve been nice since he seems to have been forgotten about since the Puffle Party 2015.
This is another area in which the 10th Anniversary truly shone – in a way which no other party in history has shone before. Whilst only two brand new decorated rooms sounds lacklustre at best, this party’s focus was of course about the history of the game. Most rooms on the island were decorated the exact same way they had been during a respective party. For example, the Book Room was decorated how it was during the Halloween Party 2008, complete with the Secret Chamber special party room of the same year. Pretty much every major room had been decorated, complete with either a Tour bot or a MascBot, which was contextually placed in rooms that were decorated from a party focusing a certain mascot. For example, the Rockhopper MascBot could be found at the Forest, which featured the 2010 Island Adventure Party decorations.
This ensured the party had a lot of variety and randomness – something in which in this context is completely welcome. Some examples included the Christmas Party of 2006 at the Ice Rink, the Puffle Party 2010 at the Snow Forts, the April Fools Party 2008 at the Iceberg and even Camp Penguin of 2007 at the Dock. All in all, an incredibly richly decorated party, with a unique blend of classic and modern artwork. A perfect way to celebrate 10 years!
If I WAS to be critical however, I could’ve complained at the lack of room rotation. Imagine if each room changed on the second week to that of a completely different party. Whilst that would’ve certainly been interesting, it could’ve been confusing. Especially for the Tour and MascBots. Regardless, I’m happy with what we got.
Here’s an extra section I figured I would add exclusively for this party (or indeed any other parties in which show elements of this in the future). You may wonder what I mean by ‘foreshadowing’. Well, put simply, I mean in the plot sense. For example, something happens in a party that then leads the way for the next party. For example, a blizzard occurred during the Christmas Party 2006. The snow was then stored (and kept cool thanks to Gary’s AC 3000) in the Lodge Attic, only to be used two months later for the Festival of Snow in February 2007. Another example was when a crab broke a window in the Underground Pool / Cave way back in July 2007 – leading to the Water Party.
In this case, Gary’s MascBots began to malfunction during the second week of the event. This means that the malfunctioned bots will begin to cause havoc at the Halloween Party (2015 obviously!), turning them into almost zombified versions of themselves. A really nice plot device that I found worked especially well here. Kudos CP! Let’s have more of this in the future, please..
Ultimately, this party was everything we expected / wanted and more. Celebrating CP turning a decade old by looking back at the previous ten years and providing entertainment accordingly. I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing rooms I haven’t seen in a very long time and even experiencing some for the first time (the Ice Rink in particular). Combine this with the interesting narrative focusing upon Gary’s MascBots and we had a pretty great party – my favourite since Operation Blackout.
Will the Halloween Party 2015 top this? Well, at the time of writing it’s already begun and I’ve already completed all the tasks (via the app – no waiting necessary!). All I can say at this point is..No, nO…NO…ZZT *BZORT error 420 reSTART in PROGRESS…C0NTACT ManuFACTUR3R
Random CP Fact #50: The current pin – the Anniversary Balloons – is the first pin to ever be hidden in the Town. The team had often stated they would never do this in the past due to the sheer popularity of the room.
Until next time, Waddle on!
After a very quiet month of June from everyone’s favourite winter wonderland virtual world, many including myself were excited to see what the team had been working on for July’s party. We knew it would be a takeover, focusing on the recently released Inside Out film by Disney Pixar. Add to this the inclusion of a popular CP original mascot and a fairly solid storyline and we have what looks, on paper, to be a major party of 2015. So, let’s see how it stacked up..
Poor old Rockhopper had lost his memories, meaning Gary had to once again build a machine (the Minderizer 3000) that would save the day (with our help of course!). How did he lose memories I hear you ask? By eating cursed cheese from a dodgy island, of course! Entering Rockhopper’s mind and completing tasks for each of his emotions (inspired by those from the film) in order to recover his memories is certainly hard work. Or was it? If anything, it seemed a little too easy. But more on that later.
To recover the beloved Captain’s memories, players had to first venture inside Rockhopper’s mind – which was luckily accessible from the Dock (the only decorated room on the island..). Once inside, each of the emotions would provide players with tasks to complete, all of which were remarkably similar – leaving a bad taste of repetition on the beaks of many penguins. The typical ‘go to X room and find X’ applies here. Whilst more challenging than the infamous Frozen party’s tedious snowflake collecting task, finding the different memory ‘orbs’ was easy for most. Once found, players had to then complete an ‘Ice Jam’ style game which again, provided very very little satisfaction in terms of challenging the player’s mind (ha, mind).
Overall, this party had us completing the same tasks for each of the 5 emotions (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear). As you can expect, this got tiresome. Very quickly. Whilst many may have enjoyed something different from the usual ‘come back tomorrow for another item!’ task, if you will, I personally found it underwhelming. The added dialogue from each of the emotions also seemed slightly cheesy, though I understand why it was done.
Plenty of items inspired by the film. Who’d of guessed? The usual suspects appear here once again. Wigs, dresses, other outfits and a selection of hand items for non-members. Whilst none were particularly bad, none are either memorable either. The only reason anyone will recognise where they came from when searching through a plethora of pages within their inventory will be because of the characters in the film – not the memory of a truly enjoyable party. I realise I’ve said it before, but I dislike wigs and clothes in which make penguin’s appear too human (the uncanny valley, anyone?). Hair on penguins just looks odd..
Personally, I would’ve liked to receive each of the emotions’ hats they were wearing (basically the same as Rockhopper’s but the Puffle had the same expression as that of each emotion). It was a party about Rockhopper, after all. The Captain did of course give us some ‘booty’, a small collection of Member-only items that had all been seen at previous parties. Yay!
Rockhopper, obviously! Well, kind of. Not really? He was sat at the Dock for the duration of the party. Gary did waddle around the island, however. No new backgrounds though.
After last month’s Festival of Snow came without much warning, you’d expect a party as hyped as this one had decorations that even the Halloween parties would envy, right? Wrong! As stated previously, the Dock was the only decorated room on the island. Rockhopper’s mind was another, consisting of 7 decorated rooms (Headquarters, Dream Productions, Food Island, Imaginationland, Loot Island and the Subconscious). Each room sure looked rather pretty, but offered very little in terms of interactivity which is a huge shame. I also found that the Orbs didn’t necessarily fit in with each room. An anger-based orb in Loot Island? Why not Joy? Whyyy?
Little decoration is never fun. Never. The rooms in which are decorated are slightly above average at best, certainly not inspiring or anything too mind-blowing (ha, there it is again).
Here’s a new one I bet none of y’all were expecting. What do I mean? Well, when we got to see memory flashbacks that would correlate to each emotion, one stood out as being almost insulting to us older players. When completing Joy’s task, we are shown Rockhopper first discovering Yarr. However, Rockhopper is wearing his current selection of items – including his pirates jacket in which he didn’t wear back in 2006. Most wouldn’t of noticed this, but I found it annoying.
Okay, so CP had a month off. To produce this?! This seemed like an overblown mini-party as opposed to one that was as overhyped as this was. I personally much preferred last month’s Festival of Snow – featuring island-wide decorations, memorable items and player interactivity (players designed the ice sculptures..). This party seemed a little…rushed. Sure, there was a storyline, but it was too farfetched – a huge statement considering the context of the game. CP also managed to avoid returning the Migrator once again. The build-up notes sent by Rockhopper (available to read via the CP Times weeks before the party started) didn’t do the party any justice either. Sure, it provided context and a seemingly decent storyline, but it turned out to be a huge letdown – at least for me.
Give me an old fashioned Rockhopper visit, featuring Yarr and the Migrator over this any day. Who knows when we’ll next see our favourite penguin pirate. For now however, we turn our attentions to August’s party – the Fashion Festival. Let’s hope it’s not as gender-biased as it sounds.
Now, where’s that cursed cheese? I need to erase a certain film-inspired party from my own memory..
Random CP Fact #46: August 2015’s Penguin Style catalogue is the biggest ever. Featuring a plethora of old and new items, for Members and Non-Members.
Until next time, Waddle on!
May marked a very interesting month on Club Penguin as, for the first time, two different parties would take place on the island – one on desktop, and one on the CP mobile app. The desktop version got treated to The Fair whilst those with the mobile app had a chance to explore a new Rainbow Puffle Party. As the title so blatantly suggests, this post will cover the latter. Let’s begin!
I’m pretty sure everyone who plays the game and knew about May’s events knew all along that the Rainbow Puffle Party would be more of a mini-party themed event. Small scale decorations with a few items and of course, the opportunity to adopt an elusive Rainbow Puffle for free (for Non-Members this was a pretty decent offer). It wasn’t anywhere near as large as any of the previous Puffle Parties and ended up living in The Fair’s shadows for the month’s main event. Still, it was nice to have one of those old-CP-style parties that are such a rarity nowadays (with the exception of the infrequent mini-parties of course). Regardless, this was a pretty decent party considering the simplicity and overall atmospheric element of the event. However, this was a somewhat big reminder of how much the game has changed over the years..
Come back everyday to receive a new item! Great, we’ve all seen this before. Whilst not as satisfying as the free item boxes, it does the job. However, the sheer fact that this was on the mobile app was perhaps the party’s biggest downfall. Glitches plagued the event for many users, so much so that the party has been extended until June 17th. Personally, I had experienced some of the major ones, including not being able to receive any item upon logging in. To make it worse, the free item interface wasn’t available at any other time except when logging in. No button in the top right corner or anything – even better!
Would I prefer to have unplayable quests or simply the ‘come back everyday to receive a new item’ feature? Certainly the latter on mobile. Too glitchy for anything else.
This is where I found the party to be at its’ weakest. Items were slightly dull and uninspired. Members got the better deal as usual. Non-Members were treated to a selection of rainbow-themed head items and ‘The Thundercloud’ which in all honesty is one of the better items I’ve seen as of late. Regardless, I’d prefer to see more variety of items – not just head items that are re-coloured versions of those released previously.
Oh, and don’t forget the free Rainbow Puffle. Was it an item? Not necessarily. But still. Oh, and the team didn’t extend the maximum amount of Puffles a Non-Member could have, so if you already had 1 Blue and 1 Red Puffle, you’d have to let one go to make room for a Rainbow! Ah, Club Penguin. You sure give us some hard life choices sometimes.
Haha, mascots on mobile? Probably for the best.
Simplistic yet effective. Plenty of clouds, rainbows and the like. In fact, the Town, Snow Forts and Plaza all showed the island below – indicating that this party took place in the clouds. It was a nice reminder of the Festival of Flight way back in August 2009. Whilst the rooms in which were decorated were minimal, and the lack of interior decorations was evident yet again – they were certainly sufficient for the party in question. A fine tribute to the most colourful of the island’s beloved fluffball pets.
Overall the Rainbow Puffle Party was a small-scale event in which proved to be successful (obviously due to it being extended it was a fairly (no pun intended) popular event. I’d be happy to see CP keep up this trend, but the app itself needs way more attention if CP hopes to use this platform for more complex parties. Fix the app, bring the long-awaited CPNext technology to the web – all is well. But until then..
Random CP Fact #44: Propeller Caps were once very popular items on the island. Released at almost every April Fools party, they came in several different colours; with one released per party. Now, there are a total of 4 colours; green, purple, red and blue. When dancing with this item alone (and/or the Jet Pack), your penguin will hover slightly.
Until next time, Waddle on!
Apologies for the lack of posts recently, my offline life got the better of me once again. Regardless, here’s the Frozen Fever critical review – almost a month after it occurred! Superb timing.
Those who attended the first Frozen party last year felt a powerful sense of deja vu upon exploring CP’s latest party efforts. Why? It was pretty much exactly the same as the first – bar a plethora of pins, a couple of rooms and a few new items. Overall, it felt completely unnecessary. At least the second Marvel Avengers takeover gave us something different from the first. Ultimately, it felt stale and stands as one of the weakest – if not the weakest parties of the year. Personally, this party would’ve been half-decent if this was the first time we were forced to endure another Disney-inspired event. Instead, it failed in more areas than it succeeded. Repetition, repetition, repetition.
Those who hated finding oversized snowflakes last year were sure to hate this years even more. Amazingly, the team reduced the size of the snowflakes. Great, right? Wrong. They were still far too large and provided about as much of a challenge as logging in over the past month has (connection issues have plagued the game recently). There were also a large amount of pins to collect for some reason, but more on that later.
There was once a time when a party contained (typically) 1-3 items. Whilst this sounds lacklustre compared to today’s standards, these items were often very inspiring. Whether clever renditions of real-life items or completely organic designs; these items contained thought and many even included special dances which is an unfortunate rarity nowadays. Regardless, none of this was present within April’s wintery party..
Featuring the exact same items as the first version of a party isn’t uncommon, but there’s usually at least more stuff to do or something unique to that version. Non-members were graced with the exact same selection as last time, bar the pins and a new igloo that was so heavily gender-specific I’m unsure why there wasn’t two of them. Members got a couple of new stuff to play with; all of which were of course inspired by the 7-minute short that inspired the party.
Like last time, Members could adopt the elusive Ola..sorry, Snowman Puffle. Non-members couldn’t, so there was little progress in that respect. Transformations returned also, giving those with little imagination even more reason to play. As for those pins I wrote about previously – there was far too many. 10. 10 pins. Within 2 rooms. 5 per room. All so painfully easy to find. Pointless comes to mind. Just when we thought CP were restoring the once greatness of the ever-growing playercard decorations.
Surprisingly this wasn’t one of my favourite parties of all time. Since its’ announcement few were excited about it and who could blame them? The lack of a plot strikes again and suggests CP simply needed a bit more money and more time to work on other stuff (such as maybe Project Super Secret if that still exists). The same items (bar a few new ones), the same Elsa palace appearance, the same decorations, the same transformations…you get the idea.
Before anybody claims this, yes I do realise Screenhog stated on Twitter how this is what CP should be doing (recycling old parties). However, if CP has any hope of bringing the game back to at least half of its’ former glory, this isn’t the way to do it. It seems like a defeatist approach – but I’m sure this is an overreaction and new content is on the horizon.
In 2 days something very interesting happens. CP hosts 2 completely different parties on its’ desktop and mobile platforms. This ensures that the desktop versions’ parties aren’t hindered by the app’s lack of functionality. A very smart move from CP. What are those parties, you ask? The desktop will see the return of The Fair whereas the mobile app will see a Rainbow Puffle celebration event. Though we don’t know too much, we can confirm that The Fair 2015 will be an evolution of 2014’s attempts, rather than the classic 2007/etc offerings. The team also confirmed that my dreaded nemesis ‘The Daily Spin’ will be making an un-welcome return.
In terms of the Rainbow Puffle event, non-members will be available to adopt one of the multicoloured-fluffball for this party. Equality for all!
Random CP Fact #43: The Golden Goggles are a new item released to the game. To own them, player’s must have the highest score out of all their friends (at the end of that respective week) on the Sled Racer mobile app (for iOS and Android).
Until next time, Waddle on!
Apologies for the lack of posts recently; coursework reached it’s peak which gave me little time to do much else. Anyways, this post will focus on last month’s Puffle Party – a highly anticipated event in which combined everyone’s favourite yet overused fluffy creatures with the mystery of the Sasquatch. Let’s begin!
Despite it’s name, the Puffle Party 2015 wasn’t fully focused around Puffles. Sure, they were the core element of the party – but not the only element. This time, the transformation of the Ski Lodge to the Puffle Lodge was a key to the party’s plot. The party ultimately focused around the mystery of the wilds and more specifically, what or rather who had stolen the giant fish celebration cake. Of course, the Sasquatch turned out to be the culprit. With a short but sweet backstory, we learned that the Sasquatch actually lives with Puffles within the wilderness. However, much was lacking in terms of his origin.
How did he get the oversized Beta Hat? Apparently a penguin wearing a green jacket gave it to him long ago. I suspect this mystery penguin was Billybob – a penguin famous for his Green Letterman Jacket. Where has he been all this time? The wilderness of course! It’s a little fishy but it’s better than nothing I guess. With that being said, who lives in that mountain cave that can be seen from Ski Hill? Hmm..
This party had a pretty unique quest – explore and collect things. Sure, it was simple and took only a few minutes – but it was new! No snowflakes, no snowballs, just simple exploration. Hunt for berries to attract rare Puffle Creatures and then retrieve a Fishing Rod from the Puffle Lodge to fish and catch Sasquatch a meal, fun times indeed. A little more depth and complexity and this would’ve been an awesome quest indeed. Still, one cannot complain when comparing to the previous tasks we’ve been asked to endure for a uninspired item.
Everyone loves items. They complete us. This party gave us a fair selection; mostly Puffle inspired (obviously). Whilst Members enjoyed a plethora of hoodies and a Puffle Guide uniform, Non-Members were graced with a selection of Hats. The only issue here was that 4/5 of these were the same baseball caps simply re-designed for each new Puffle Creature – of which only Members could adopt. I’m sure many were satisfied, but it all seemed underwhelming in my opinion. I hope the days of body items, whacky costumes and leis return. And preferably soon.
Unlike many, many parties of late; the Puffle Party 2015 had a very nice selection of decorated rooms. The only issue being that all were recycled from the previous year – bar the Puffle Lodge and new Wild rooms. This isn’t a major issue however, I’d certainly prefer recycled rooms to no decorated rooms at all. A step in the right direction!
PH of course! Plus a new background!! Not only this, but Sasquatch officially became recognised as a mascot! What a time to be alive.
Whilst not even coming close to the ‘best party ever award in Jim’s opinion’, I don’t think anybody expected it to. CP showed us that they can still come up with interactive parties that engage and reward the players; whilst not completely ruining them via too many sneak peeks weeks before the party. Sure, it was lacking in several areas but when compared to recent parties, it certainly stands out as one of the better efforts. I enjoyed this party. Not as much as Operation Blackout or the Card Jitsu Snow event, but enjoyed it nevertheless. In fact, the slight disappointment only began to settle in once I realised 90% of the rooms were recycled. I imagine new players would’ve enjoyed it a lot – and who can blame them!
As the Frozen Fever Party is currently ongoing, expect a critical review of that next week sometime. But for now, we look forward to May, which promises to contain 2 different parties; one exclusive to the app (Rainbow Puffle celebration) and one exclusive to desktop (The Fair). Let’s hope both hold their own as contender’s for best party of 2015 thus far!
Random CP Fact #42: Due to the lack of Membership sales and the games’ recent ‘poor performance’ financially, many CP employees were recently laid off. This also included the complete closure of the CP office in Brighton, England.
Until next time, Waddle on!
There’s much debate about which year has been the best year (ever) in CP. Some prefer the simplicity of the 2006/7 days whilst others appreciate the rich content and gameplay of the 2009-2011 years. Whichever your preference, there’s little debate about which year has been the worst (or at least the most unsuccessful) year on the snow covered island. That year is of course 2014.
2014 has been interesting. We’ve had the usual 12 months of main parties, including new mini-events inspired by the game in its’ youth. Not only this, but CP gave us a plethora of Puffles, pins, items and quests to enjoy – not to mention a stop-motion animated TV show and a couple of mobile applications. On paper, this would sound like a very fruitful and successful year. How can the release of so much content result in a disappointing year when the likes of 2005-7 brought nothing special outside of the game itself?
The fundamental issue is not the content itself, but rather the quality of said content. Sure, we got a lot of new stuff this year, but little of it was actually worth the player’s time. More on this later however. The point here is that this year was disappointing. Maybe not to new players or when compared to other virtual worlds, but definitely a major let-down in terms of Club Penguin’s famous standards.
The major issue throughout the year was the parties. These events are one of the major selling points of the game as each unique party – whether sponsored by another franchise or not – are original due to the fact that they take place on an island inhabited primarily by penguins. Parties aim to attract players, both old and new, to log in and experience the event and hopefully purchase a membership for all those nifty extra features. This has always worked for CP due to their ability to completely re-design many of their virtual rooms in a rich, contextually aware setting. For example, a Pirate Party is likely to contain many pirate ships and pirates.
The issues don’t lay within this business model. Instead, they lay with the context of the party, as well as the decorations, gameplay and sometimes items available. In the old days, the team would simply design most of the rooms available with small but contextually-relevant decorations. One Christmas tree at the Forest was enough to make their point and it worked well. After Disney purchased the game, parties became more advanced. The small “free item” stands were replaced by challenges and quests in order to earn the exclusive item(s). Decorated rooms were plentiful and incredibly well thought out. The artwork is something we appreciated back then, and certainly do even more so today.
Coins for Change became an instant controversy after many speculated that the grand total of coins donated had been altered in the company’s favour. A total of 26 billion coins were apparently donated; despite the charity not really being advertised as much as other parties. Add to this the fact that fewer penguins logged in when compared to 2013’s version and how we struggled to even reach the goal and it all seems a little Fluffy the Fishy.
Lack of effort from the team due to the mobile app, parties have seriously declined this year. We’ve had the old favourites such as the Halloween party, Music Jam and the Holiday party under a new name. However, none compared (with the possible exception of the Halloween Party which certainly wasn’t the worst to date) to past versions. The Music Jam failed miserably, sparking many to complain and dub it as the worst party ever – if not easily the worst of 2014. The Merry Walrus event fell flat and caused the #SaveTheClubPenguin trend on Twitter. This was the year penguins hit breaking point. Sure, 2013 wasn’t the best year either; but it certainly topped 2014.
Penguin’s favourite pets are of course Puffles. These furry, fluffball creatures have been fan favourites since their debut in 2005 (and adoptability in 2006). Typically, one Puffle per year was the norm. Each version came in a new colour and had its’ own personality that hoped to match some of the target audience. Because of their annual release, a new Puffle was an exciting event. Those old enough to remember the first appearance of the Yellow, White and Orange Puffles in particular will know what I mean. CP never released them instantly for adoption. Instead, they would have them appear in certain places on the island at certain types – usually during a party or event. The release of a Puffle then resulted in furniture matching the new colour and real-life merchandise.
2013 introduced multiple Puffles. 2014 however, saw a huge increase in our fluffy friends. We’ve also seen the introduction of Puffle Creatures – Puffles inspired by real-life animals such as dogs, cats and mythical creatures such as the unicorn (and whilst never adoptable – the dragon). I personally was never a fan of Puffle Creatures as they seemed too odd-looking and not exactly very creative. The release of a Puffle was once a celebrated event. Now however, it seems to annoy more than it does please. With one seeming to appear ever other party as a selling-point (rare Puffles for Members – buy now!), many are sick and tired of them being released almost every month. Either they need to be released less-often, or they need to possess much more unique abilities and personalities. Either way, I can’t see the Puffle-apocolypse ending in 2015.
Quests & Tasks
“Come back tomorrow for another item!”. The phrase that haunts many. A cheap way of getting players to log in every day; CP has adopted this formula for a few years now – but none worse than in 2014. Sure, not every party possessed this horrific message, but those that did had extremely slow, repetitive, boring and easy to complete quests that would take the average player much less than a minute to complete. If you are to have players clicking on obvious, gigantic-sized snowflakes to earn an item (Frozen Party), why not just allow them to claim it instantly instead? Oh yes, to make them stay online longer and hopefully send their money Disney’s way in return for an exclusive item.
The Pirate Party had us sword-fighting other penguins in an effort to save the island from pirate crabs, and of course earn items whilst doing it. This was all players had to do throughout the entire party. Sharing the gameplay with that of the Star Wars Party, Rock Paper Scissors and Card Jitsu, this has become incredibly tiresome already. Having players do it for an entire week (the time it took to complete all the tasks) and boredom is bound to rise due to the same-old repetition. At least involve some strategy like Card Jitsu did!
Items were often the main reason one would log in during a party. An item that could someday become rare was incredibly popular back in the early dates. Each party had only a few items and almost all were available for everyone. Almost all the items were also memorable. The Inflatable Duck (both Green and Yellow variants) and the Anniversary Party Hats are all incredibly memorable items. Ask me in 2009 which items were given away at which party and I could’ve written you an essay. These days however, we get a selection of uninspired items that are often re-coloured versions of those released previous years.
Non-Members are unfortunate in the respect that they get either hand or head items. This limits players in ways that it never did back in the early years. Body, feet, neck and face items seem to be a Members-only privilege at parties which is incredibly annoying. Would fewer players not purchase a Membership because everyone got a free hoodie at a party? I think not. The main point here is that the majority of items are lacking in creativity and functionality. The Hard Hat/Mining Hat series were effective for role-playing as a construction worker – complete with a special dance animation. Likewise with the Inflatable Ducks and Water Wings – players could pretend they were swimming.
Much fewer animations are added for items too. Special dances were once a very common addition to an exclusive item at a party. Now, when these do actually get released which is a rarity in itself, they’re reserved for Members. Heck, even the newer Puffles lack a unique dancing animation that was once guaranteed with a new Puffle. I’d happily take much fewer items if they were more memorable, quality in terms of creativity and design and of course possessed some special animations. Will we ever get that? I doubt it. I really doubt it.
With CP’s move to mobile well underway, we have seen a few spin-off apps released. Sled Racer was a decent Temple Run-style game complete with appealing 3D graphics and relatively fun if not repetitive gameplay. However, the app has not since received any updates to make me want to open it again. Puffle Wild, a Candy Crush-clone, is simply an attempt to release a huge amount of Puffles exclusive to Members. If you’re not a member, have fun with the incredibly repetitive and frustrating game. I’m damn sure I did(n’t).
The main CP app had its’ very own moment this year as it was finally released for (some) Android devices. Although it took about a year, it is a decent port that’s almost the same in every way to the iOS version. However, I still never actually use this app as its’ still incredibly slow and clunky, requiring plenty of 3D rendering which can cause even the faster devices to lag when in popular rooms. Sure, the graphics are nice and the 3D models and animations are great – but it needs some performance upgrades before it becomes my default way of logging on the island.
Another issue with the main app is that its’ restricting the desktop version. The features of each party must work on both devices to ensure the experience is equal on all platforms. This is the fundamental reason behind the disappointing parties this year. Something must be done about this – the app is supposed to assist the desktop version – not limit its’ features. I’d happily take the quality of other years over a half-working mobile app any day.
2008 was a revolutionary year for CP due to the major release in merchandise. Plush toys, figurines, Card Jitsu cards, playsets etc you name it were available worldwide and were instant successes. The first series of the plush toys – especially a Rockhopper plush – were exceptionally popular. So much so that they had sold out in the US before they reached other countries. The exclusive code in which unlocked items online was the likely reason behind this.
CP now seems to only sell Membership cards. I’ve not seen any CP-related toys in any toy store for a long time as production of these items has now ended. I’d of liked to see the introduction of some items this year. Perhaps some Puffle-themed toys to go with those released in-game. Perhaps CP doesn’t feel the demand for such items is strong enough anymore? Or maybe they cannot think of any more items for the Treasure Book?
Broken promises? What now? You may remember Spike Hike mentioning the likes of CPNext and Server Jumping, as well as Project Super Secret (PSS) – all of which are to change the game in a massive way. With CPNext being initially announced in 2013 and PSS in 2014, we haven’t heard much since. The most optimistic of us may argue that 2014 was lacking in many areas due to the team’s hard work on all these new features. Whether this is true or not doesn’t change the fact that 2015 must be a better year. We need to see these features sooner rather than later otherwise the company will suffer financially.
To conclude, 2014 was a year that oozed disappointment. There were hyped-up events that many, including myself were looking forward to. The Music Jam, Future Party, Pirate Party and Merry Walrus Party all seemed exciting when initially announced – but it quickly became obvious that they all followed the same recycled pattern – easy, boring and repetitive quests, few decorated rooms, little to no storyline and forgettable items. Takeovers are still ongoing as is proven by this month’s Star Wars Rebels party. Lets just hope that there’s no Yoda Puffles lurking in a galaxy far far away.
Not all was bad however, we did have some original and slightly memorable parties such as The Penguin Cup and all those mini-parties. Some Puffles such as the Ghost and Blue Crystal weren’t exactly bad ideas, and the Sasquatch mystery is certainly something that’s still interesting today. 2015 needs to be better however, a lot better. Otherwise more and more penguins will become tired and eventually leave the game for good.
Random CP Fact #36: Despite the speculation, 2014’s Coins for Change grand total of 26 billion coins is approximately 1 billion more than 2013’s total – and an incredible 24 billion more than that of the first Coins for Change in 2007.
Until next time, Waddle on!