Blog Archives

Spike Hike: The end of an era!

Greetings Penguins!

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.

-Jimbobson

Advertisements

SoundStudio Party Critical Review!

Greetings Penguins!

When SoundStudio first came to the island last year to replace the rather dull DJ3K, many enjoyed creating and showcasing their music within the Dance Club. As with any game, interest quickly died down. With the announcement that the music-making mini-game would be having its’ own dedicated mobile app, interest had once again increased. As if that wasn’t enough, CP announced they would be throwing a SoundStudio party to celebrate the upcoming app. But, was it a platinum party or a Music Jam 2014 mark two? Let’s begin..

Content

As this was a brand new party – and not a takeover at that, few could guess exactly what the party would entail. Sure, there would be plenty of music and DJ Cadence would be the mascot in focus as expected; but other than that little else was known regarding the actual content. Upon the parties’ release, it quickly became obvious that it was not what we were expecting. Simply put, it was the Music Jam 2014 part 2. Some argue that it wasn’t as bad, whilst others claim the glitches and lack of the Penguin Band ensured the party was nothing but a poor advert for the new app. Personally, I have to go with the latter.

I admit I was excited for this party as I didn’t know what to expect. Would it be an island-wide party that has different genres of music assigned to each room like we saw in the Music Jam’s of the past? Nope. In all honesty it felt more like an oversized mini-party. Ultimately, I found it to be joint 1st for worst music-themed party thus far. Sure, it wasn’t the worst party ever – but it certainly carries on from 2014’s less-than-satisfactory standards.

Activities

Activities, or quests as they’re often dubbed, are often repetitive and so simple even the youngest of players can figure it out within seconds. The same applies here. Players must simply perform on stage by clicking a different musical instrument in a sequence that was clearly displayed on-screen. Simply put, it was very easy. I preferred the quests found during the Star Wars Rebels Takeover, so in this respect the SoundStudio party comes in last in terms of quests in 2015. Albeit there are only two contenders..

The main culprit here is of course the mobile app, which has become a giant hinderance and is forcing CP to ‘dumb-down’ their web counterpart. Can you imagine a party such as Operation: Blackout occurring on the mobile app? I think not. Something needs to be done, such as releasing the highly anticipated CP Next technology.

Items

At last! Variety! Non-members finally get items that are not simply tiny hand items. Okay, maybe 1 was. But the introduction of 2 head items and 1 face item ensured that there was at least some variety items wise. Like we all expect though, the best items are reserved for Members. I would’ve liked to see more instruments given away. Sure, there have been numerous instruments released over the years, but simply placing a “SoundStudio Party 2015” logo somewhere on said instrument would ensure more interesting, unique items. Maybe they could even be re-coloured using colours used throughout the party? Maybe I should work for CP’s design team?

Decorations

This party had everything wrong with 2014 in terms of decorations. Lack of decorated rooms? Check. Little to no interior decorations? Check. Recycled rooms from previous parties? You get the idea. Where CP really made me laugh was the night sky. You all know what I mean, that ridiculous transition between night and day visible at the Dock. Most of the sky is daylight then suddenly goes dark…it looks insane. I would love to meet the creative genius whom came up with that. Whether it was supposed to look interesting or unique or clever or something, I’m not sure. It simply screams laziness to me. Imagine if they did this during the Halloween party?

One area of interest however was how the Coffee Shop interior was slightly decorated. I say slightly, it was nothing major, nor did it compare to how it was formerly decorated during the first few Music Jams. Regardless, it’s a nice touch. As for the neon lights CP insists on using at every music or Hollywood themed event, I’m not the biggest fan. I’ve only really liked this concept done once, during the Member’s only Dance-A-Thon back in 2009. Wait, what? That was in 2009? Oh wow, I’m old.

Mascots

What mascots? Moving on..

Okay, okay. This is the second month in a row that there have been no in-game meetable mascots at a party. Last month missed out on re-introducing Darth Herbert, whilst this party missed out on using Cadence and the Penguin Band in particular, to enhance this party. What next, this month’s Puffle Party without PH?

Bugs & Glitches

Surprisingly, despite the parties relatively small-scale structure and lack of mascots or anything overly technical, bugs and glitches haunted the party from day one. Pop-ups didn’t occur, which included the item pop-up which appears after a task is completed. A very poor attempt for a party in which is supposed to be advertising another product.

Verdict

That last sentence pretty much summed this party up. A very poor attempt for a party in which is supposed to be advertising another product. I found myself only logging in to get the items, had a look at each room which didn’t take long. Again, a party to forget more so than to remember. I will look back at this in October when (or rather, if) the next yearbook is released. Will I miss it and hope for its’ return in 2016? No. Unless the remainder of this year is so awful that this remains one of the better parties this year.

Now we look forward to the party in which begins soon – the Puffle Party 2015 of course! If there ever was a party that needed a refresh, it would be the Puffle Party. An annual event since 2009, it first began as a way to celebrate our beloved pets and to introduce a brand new colour. This year, it seems the Ski Lodge will be getting a modern re-design, whilst the Lodge Attic may be in for something even more interesting. Rumours suggest the renovation will incorporate historic relics of the island’s past. If done correctly, this could be an awesome idea. I look forward to it! (Though please CP, keep that tiny window in which is re-coloured for each party that doesn’t take place during the blue-sky-daytime).

Random CP Fact #41: Despite this years’ Puffle Party being the 7th of its’ name, it is only the third to occur in March, with the first being the 2012 version and the second being the 2013 version.

Until next time, Waddle on!

– Jimbobson

Puffle Wild Critical Review!

Happy Holidays Penguins!

Although the Merry Walrus party is approaching its’ end, I thought I would postpone that review until the final day or so – just in case CP has something up their sleeve (though I highly doubt it). Regardless, this post will focus on the Puffle Wild app that was recently released.

Gameplay & Originality

We all know what type of game Puffle Wild is. Best described as yet another Candy Crush clone, Puffle Wild aims to take on the massive franchise by combining the gameplay with Club Penguin elements. For those of you who are a fan of these type of games, Puffle Wild should bring a lot of entertainment and will undoubtedly have you buying the in-app-purchases if you’re penguin is not already a Member.

In terms of originality, these type of games have been around for decades. I even remember playing them in the late 90s! The massive success of Candy Crush is undeniably what made CP make this app. These type of games are addicting – very addicting – which is always a good basis for a successful mobile application (think of the infamous Flappy Bird). Where the originality does shine within this app is the incorporation of Puffles and O’ Berries. Different Puffles possess different abilities known as Puffle Powers that will assist you throughout the game. Players can also unlock new Puffle creatures – and wow there’s a lot of em’ (13 to be precise). But more on this later.

The gameplay is fairly solid. Different levels require different methods to complete. Some require a particular score, whilst others require melting the snow. Regardless, the typical 3-in-a-row strategy is always present – which can sometimes cause repetition, especially as the levels progress.

In-App Purchases & Membership

Freemium. We’ve heard that name before. Freemium is the concept in which the application is free to download, but contains in-app purchases for exclusive levels or content – thus the game isn’t technically free. If there ever was a better app to define this concept, it would be Puffle Wild. Of course, you can choose not to buy the exclusive content, but in this scenario it’s recommended to obtain the full experience.

If you’re a Member, this isn’t a problem as you can play every level and unlock all the Puffles at no extra cost. Things become a little darker for non-members however, as each bonus level (that contains an unlockable Puffle) requires an individual purchase. This sounds fine, until you realise that every bonus level requires a purchase of over £1. Due to their being 13 bonus levels (and 1 Puffle per bonus level), the resulting cost would be quite expensive. Therefore it is recommended that you instead buy a 1 month membership at least.

If you are a member, you can play every level (including bonus levels) without restriction. Unlocking each Puffle and Puffle platform (to use the Puffle Powers in-game) as well as the ability to transfer all your new Puffles to the main game. Exciting!

Difficulty

With most addictive games, they provide a challenge. Candy Crush became increasingly difficult as the levels progressed, whilst Flappy Bird was an incredible challenge for pretty much everyone involved. To begin with, Puffle Wild is pretty easy as it introduces you to the game. As it progresses, you unlock Puffles and Puffle Powers to assist you through the harder levels. Personally, I found the levels in which asked you to remove all the piles of snow to complete were amongst the most difficult.

The real challenge here however, begins if you’re a non-member. Members can use the unlockable Puffles and their powers to breeze through most of the levels. Not only this, but Members also have access to more platforms, which means more Puffles. Non-Members however, have access to only the Blue and Red Puffles which, unfortunately, have a very poor ability that barely assists players at all. To make things worse, free users can only use one Puffle per level (due to the platform restriction). This provides the game with a whopping challenge – particularly if you wish to achieve 3 stars on each level. This had me personally rage-quitting several times and eventually, giving up completely.

Puffles

CP’s once favoured pets are the focus behind this app – obviously. As if it wasn’t enough that Puffles are taken advantage of nowadays due to the plethora of them being released, the team decided it would be a great idea to release 13 more in said application. Whilst we knew this was coming, it doesn’t make the situation any less ridiculous. Puffles are released far too often nowadays, and often in several colours per creature. No longer do we get original coloured Puffles with unique personalities – but instead different species that seem to lack personalities. Sure, the Ghost Puffle was actually quite a cool idea, but the sheer volume of them being released this year really voids their value.

Each Puffle specie has its’ own Power in the app, which is a nice addition. But the fact that this is the second app to be focused around these furball creatures (the first being Puffle Launch) really has players questioning whether CP can come up with anything even remotely original. Sure, Sled Racer was decent app in itself but the idea behind the game is anything but original. Plus, when was the last time any of CP’s other apps (bar the main one) was updated with new and exciting content? Sled Racer in particular could’ve had a Merry Walrus theme incorporated, dodging obstacles such as Christmas Trees and giant candy canes – but no, where’s the financial benefit of that?

One of the most worrying parts comes with what PH says when the game is fully completed. She states that there will be more levels on the way in future updates, which can only mean one thing. More Puffles! Yay, just what everybody in the community wants! They will undoubtedly introduce the same tiresome gameplay with a few new dodgy-looking Puffles to unlock for real-money unless you’re a Member. Can’t wait!

Improvements

As with any app, improvements are required. The first is less of an improvement and more of a request, and that would be for the app to be released on Android too. The main CP app took over a year to arrive on Android, so hopefully (if you’re a fan of Puffle Wild) it will be released sooner. Most developers tend to release apps on iOS first as the users are more likely to purchase either the app or the features available through in-app purchases. Android makes up for this by its’ larger userbase which was proven to be correct after the main CP app was downloaded by more Android users in the first few days than iOS in a year.

Another improvement would definitely be more varied levels with new ways to complete them, to avoid repetition which plagues almost every one of these match 3 games. New Puffles are unavoidable at this stage, so I’d like to see more original versions (or at least anything that isn’t as odd as the Unicorn Puffle). Although this is pretty much impossible nowadays, more Puffles for everyone would definitely be a welcome addition. Even many Members support this idea, as the current ratio is slightly over-the-top. However, if CP really despises that idea, better Powers for the Blue and Red Puffles would also be a nice addition.

Do I recommend it?

Obviously, everybody has their own opinion. If you’re a fan of match 3 games then you’re surely in for a Puffle-sized treat. For those who aren’t however, like myself, may want to give this one a miss. Unless of course you’re a huge Puffle fan and want to unlock 13 more of them. Also, if you’re a non-member with no intentions of purchasing a membership or the overpriced bonus levels, and have no interest in these type of games, I suggest you never approach the ‘Get’ button on the App Store. Ever. Just waddle away as fast as you can.

Ultimately, I find this app to be a rather cheap way of releasing Puffles in volume, with the overall aim of the app being financial based (as with many apps). Sure, it has some entertainment value but I cannot imagine anyone wanting to play this app to reduce boredom as opposed to simply unlocking more Puffles. For those of you without Memberships, you may enjoy the pure challenge of completing even some simpler levels with the underpowered Red and Blue Puffles.

Conclusion

So overall Puffle Wild is a mildly entertaining app for those who are a fan of the genre, but likely to be more of a chore for the rest of us. Sure, it’s programming and graphics are decent, but there’s a lack of variety and features for those free users. It’s currently a moderately successful app in its’ own respect, but expect the hype to decrease quickly. I also find it slightly annoying that this could’ve easily been a game on the island itself, but CP insisted that their financially-inspired move to mobile was more important.

Anyways, this will mark my last post before Christmas and thus Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my readers. It’s certainly been an eventful year on the island and here’s to next year which will hopefully be better than 2014. Regardless, expect a Merry Walrus critical review followed by the 2014 critical review within the next couple of weeks!

Random CP Fact #34: Club Penguin once held a Surprise Party in November 2007. The idea behind it was to give players 3 options to choose from. Each option was the return of a retired party – a Sports Party, a Pirate Party or a Western Party. The Western Party received the most votes. This was the only party to be decided via a poll thus far.

Until next time, Happy Holidays!

– Jimbobson

Puffles, Pirates & Parties!

Greetings Penguins!

There’s been a few announcements this week – both official and unofficial – that have sparked interest amongst the community and have interested me personally. As the title so obviously suggests as usual, this post will be regarding the three P’s. Also, before I start, a slight warning – as usual, this post will contain some ranting and my own opinions on certain events and features.

Puffles

This year we’ve seen the introduction of many, many puffles. 5 different species to be exact (not including different coloured variants) have found themselves on the island this year. All of these however have been what CP dubs as Puffle Creatures, aka Puffles based on real animals (or other things such as snowmen and ghosts). Personally, I feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of Puffles introduced this year. Traditionally, we were lucky to get 1 a year. Each one was a unique colour with carefully constructed animations and personalities. Nowadays, it simply seems CP are abusing the pets to try and persuade people to buy Memberships which is quite sad, really.

Some may argue that, after the Golden and Rainbow Puffles were introduced, CP had done pretty much all they could in terms of the standard colours. Sure, different shades and hues of each colours could be added, but it wouldn’t be as exciting as the first time penguin’s spotted the Yellow Puffle during the Halloween Party of 2007. Whilst I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Puffle Creatures (I find them slightly out of context and quite frankly, unimaginative), if they had to be introduced I’d prefer maybe 1 or 2 sets of a certain species per year. Not 5! The worst part, there’s more on the way.

So thus far, we have seen the introduction of Dog, Cat, Dinosaur, Snowman and Spooky (Ghost) Puffle Creatures. All of which are available exclusively to Members and all but the Dog and Cat have been party-exclusive. As many of you will know, CP plan to launch a puzzle app called Puffle Wild within the upcoming months. This app will allow you to unlock even more Puffle Creatures, 4 different species to be exact. These are the Racoon, Bunny, Moose and Unicorn Puffles. That makes the grand total of Puffle Creatures introduced in 2014 to a whopping 9. 9!

The mass introduction of Puffles this year seems way over the top, so much so it has devalued Puffles to the point where many are no longer excited about the introduction of a new one. I’d prefer to see more personalities and animations integrated into each one. If a Yellow Puffle is artistic and creative then why doesn’t the Yellow Dinosaur Puffle adopt any of these characteristics? Anyway, time to move on.

Pirates

A surprise leak was found this week. This time it was the code in CP’s files that pretty much confirmed November’s party. That’s right, our old almost-forgotten friend Rockhopper will be returning to throw a grand Pirate Party! There have been two Pirate Parties thus far, one in 2007 and one in 2008 (though the latter was officially known as Rockhopper’s Arrival Party – most of the decorations and items were re-used from the previous one). Not much at all is known about this party other than it will not be limited to one room as the Plaza, Dock and Snow Forts appear to be decorated (or so the code says).

I’m looking forward to this one in particular. However, the absence of anything Card-Jitsu or Sasquatch related is a little disappointing. I hope there’s plenty of classic and new decorations and an awesome quest to compensate!

Parties

Whilst briefly touched upon in the Pirates section, we can be certain what parties will conclude the rest of the year. Next week marks the introduction of the Anniversary and Halloween parties. Whilst the Anniversary is always a grand event, it seems to have been spoiled somewhat this year due to CP blatantly releasing the hat design (red and purple) which is slightly disappointing. I want to log in and find out for myself on the day, not weeks beforehand. Why would CP do this? Possibly to take the focus off the party and more so on the Halloween party which promises to be the biggest of the year thus far? Who knows.

As proven in my previous post, the entire island will be decorated for Halloween. This is especially exciting considering 2014’s lack of decorated rooms thus far. Sure, some have been exceptionally well decorated (the Mall, Cruise Ship etc), many rooms were left with no love at all – which was disappointing.

December will contain the beloved Holiday Party. Literally nothing about it is known so far but I’m sure it will contain the typical Winter-themed decorations, plenty of lights and the awesome sky to go along with it. Hopefully it will be the biggest yet to make up for this year’s lack of groundbreaking parties. No more Takeovers have been hinted at either, so I think we’re safe from those until 2015, happy days!

And thus concludes yet another lengthy post with no pictures. I simply wanted to put my point and opinions across which I hope made an interesting read. If not, be sure to let me know what you’d like to be included in future posts/rants/critical reviews etc. Thanks for reading!

Random CP Fact #29: The Sailor Hat has featured at both Pirate Parties in the past. The rare Red and Black Sailor Shirt featured at the most recent in 2008. It is unknown whether any of these items will see a return next month, though due to the older art-style, it’s very unlikely.

Until next time, Waddle on!

– Jimbobson

Halloween Party 2014 – Why the Puffle Hotel won’t be the only Decorated Building

Greetings Penguins!

Although I promised that the next post will be regarding pins, I decided to postpone that until a later date due to a certain rumour that’s risen over the past week. This rumour relates to the upcoming Halloween Party and the theory that only one major building will be decorated, in case you somehow didn’t notice in the title.

Basically, many penguins saw a sneak peek of the Plaza during the Halloween Party within CP’s files and immediately noticed a huge problem with it. The sneak peek in question can be seen below:

sneakpeekpuffle

As you can see, the Puffle Hotel is the only decorated building in sight. Even the Pet Shop and Pizza Parlour – two rooms that see regular renovation during the Halloween parties have been ignored. The most significant missing piece of this screen shot is of course, the night sky that has become a regular feature of the Halloween parties. There are some clouds yes, but this seems to only cover the Puffle Hotel which is said to have 13 floors.

This has meant that a huge amount of penguins have become extremely disappointed. Has one of the biggest and best parties of the year has become restricted to just this one building that everybody ignores at every other time of year? With recent parties, much fewer rooms have been decorated (during the infamous Music Jam 2014 in particular) but this takes things too far. Why did they do this? Why did they destroy such an iconic party? Well, they didn’t. Here’s why.

Tradition

CP has always been big on tradition, whether its’ including a fire extinguisher at the earlier Anniversary parties (penguin’s can’t blow!) or having an excessive amount of boxes at the once loved April Fools party. Okay so I’m aware this year has broken a few traditions – the perfect example again being the Music Jam 2014. But seriously, the Halloween party has been a fairly similar event in terms of decorations for years now. The dark sky has been used since 2006 – there is no way they will remove it now; especially since CP has received much criticism for lack of room designs.

This is pre-release work

The party is still a few weeks away, the team will be adding final touches to it right about now (they’ve probably actually finished it and are working on next month’s stuff!). This sneak peek appears to be quite early in the development process, it seems illogical to presume that this is exactly how the room/party will look once released in two weeks time. We’re also unsure of how long this sneak peek has been in CP’s files.

This is a full, almost 2-week party

This may seem obvious, but the party starts on 23rd October and ends on 5th November. There is no way only one building throughout the island would be decorated for something as highly anticipated as the Halloween Party. You may argue that many thought the same of the Music Jam, but don’t forget it took place on an entire new part of the island (the Cruise Ship), introduced new characters, a new game and still other rooms were decorated (though some very minor and some were recycled from past parties). Still, it’d seem ridiculous for CP not to decorate more for a party that is always big in terms of web traffic.

False Advertising

I know what you’re thinking. What does Jim mean by false advertising? Well, it’s quite simple. CP has already given us an official sneak peek of a segment of the Plaza already – and it certainly contrasts with the one shown above that many believe to be final. This official sneak peek I talk about can be seen below.

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 17.50.27

Notice something? Well, the sky is certainly dark. Not only this, but the Pet Shop is also decorated with a giant Bat Puffle statue. Yes, it’s the same as last years but that’s forgivable when CP are introducing a bunch of new floors to the Puffle Hotel – including Spooky Puffles and other items etc. Will this be how the Plaza looks during the party’s release? Yes, otherwise it’d be false advertising. The log in screen contains everything else that’s already been confirmed (Spooky Puffles, new costumes and the ghastly-looking Puffle Hotel), so you can bet that the party will be island-wide, and include that famous dark night sky that has become a fan-favourite since its’ debut in 2006.

So, what’s with the barely-decorated sneak peek then?

To put it simply, the original sneak peek shows the new decorations at this month’s party. CP will design rooms separately and then apply them all together to create the final room we see at the party’s launch (this would be much quicker than having an individual work on the entire room). I’m confident that the updated Puffle Hotel will be placed on top of last year’s decorations (for the Plaza at least) – thus integrating seamlessly and being true to the artwork on the Homepage.

You may also notice that the sneak peek contains many missing pieces – particularly text which CP adds later for each respective language. The clouds also wouldn’t fit in a warm-blue sky colour, alongside traditional white clouds. It would just be extremely inconsistent and look rather stupid. Especially considering the log in screen shows lightning flashing above the tower – which wouldn’t be very visible during the day!

Overall, I hope I’ve cleared things up regarding this upcoming party. Of course, we don’t know exactly how the party will be received, will it be a huge success or a downgrade from previous versions? What we do know however, is that it will more than likely be very similar to last years decorations-wise. CP has spent time working on other stuff for this party, so expect a Halloween 2013 party with a new plot, new items, a new Puffle and a Puffle Hotel to explore. Exciting stuff!

Random CP Fact #28: The Spooky Puffle will be the 21st Puffle to be available for Penguin’s to adopt – this includes Puffle Creatures such as the Cat and Dog Puffle. 

Until next time, Waddle on!

– Jimbobson

School & Skate Party Critical Review!

Greetings Penguins!

Okay, we know the score by now. These posts are basically reviews reflecting on a party that has recently ended. The aim of these is to identify points where the specified party which were done well, and ways it could’ve been improved. You all know this by now, so let’s get going!

This month’s review focuses on the School & Skate Party; a brand new unsponsored party that aimed to bring the fun of school into our favourite virtual world. But was the party an A-Grade masterpiece or did everyone want it to graduate as soon as possible? Well, upon its’ announcement many penguins flocked (not literally, they can’t fly..) to Twitter in order to voice their opinion. For the most part, responses were negative. Why would CP introduce school to the island? A widely-hated part of our lives, it certainly isn’t fun for everyone – and CP knows that. To overcome this, they tried to incorporate the fun things that school contains, like skating, apparently.

The Tiring Quest

Like almost all of the 2014 parties, this one also contained a Quest. Upon logging in you were instantly made aware of this, as the forceful messages almost demand that you do these quests before even trying to acknowledge your friends. Like last month’s Frozen Party, penguins had to find objects in a certain room in order to receive items. Unlike the Frozen Party however, the objects weren’t as easy. This is a good thing as the Snowflakes of the Frozen Party were easier to find than the gigantic modern pins. Regardless, finding the objects is still easy when you’re directed to each room that contains them. Why not spread them over the island and let penguins discover them themselves?

One major issue with this month’s quest was that of repetition. It’s just like last month’s party but with a different context. Why CP insists on using the same quests for several parties in succession is beyond me. Mix it around a little, otherwise parties begin to feel far too similar to eachother – and not in a good way. Scavenger hunts in the form of the Easter Egg hunt or the Halloween candy hunt were fun. The eggs/candy weren’t that easy to find, we weren’t bombarded with log in screens that transported you the room but instead got given clues as to which room an egg/candy could be found. There also wasn’t one every party which maintained the excitement.

Skate Park – Half Full or Half Empty?

This party saw the introduction of a brand new room – the Skate Park. A room that’s focused on Members (but not restricted to), it allows the purchase of Skateboards followed by the ability to do tricks in this room alone. Whilst an alright idea, I’d of preferred to see this as a mini-party which we didn’t see in September. Instead, we have a room that is unlikely to be used much if at all. Is it necessary? Not really, I can’t imagine myself using it whatsoever and I know many others feel the same way.

Recently, Polo Field announced that there would never be any new plays at The Stage due to it not being used. So why introduce a new room that has the same fate? The Cove was added way back in 2007 to provide a Summer-themed location all-year round and introduced surfing. The Lighthouse and Beacon were added in 2006 to provide penguins with the ability to spot The Migrator on the horizon, and thus had contextual purpose. A Skate Park however? I just fail to see the reason why.

Other Decorations

The entire island was decoration for this party. LOL JKS, no but seriously, we’ve come to expect to much with modern parties in terms of decorations. They aren’t as minimal as the Music Jam, but still few and far between when you consider the entire island. The Plaza, Mine Shack and University got a makeover with the best decoration in my opinion going to The Puffle Berry Mall which of course temporarily replaced The Stage. The issue with the Mall however is that you couldn’t purchase anything it in, which kind of defies the point. The escalators were also ridiculously slow to operate and once you were on one, you couldn’t get off without switching rooms.

Overall there are some decently decorated rooms, but nothing stood out as groundbreaking. Once again, the majority of the focus has gone into the Member features and quests, exciting times!

Items

After much feedback CP looks to have finally removed the “come back tomorrow for another item” feature that became tiresome. Instead, we can get all the items on the same day which saves time for busy people like myself. This time, the items ranged from Backpacks to Dodgeballs. Whilst the majority they were nicely designed and within context, the absence of Body/Feet items for Non-Members is becoming painfully more obvious. I’m quite positive CP wouldn’t lose Members if they simply gave away body items for everyone every now and again (not including codes).

It was also nice to see Rookie make yet another appearance. Like with every mascot nowadays, their giveaway background is never updated which is slightly depressing.

Plot

Like a good 100% of parties this year, this one suffered from the plot. Or rather, the lack of one. A good CP plot hasn’t really been seen in a while, especially after the master of all plots known as Operation: Blackout graced the island. Lately it seems that Cadence (who is becoming a very tired and overused mascot) has friends from far away that come visit the island and never appear again. This time however, Rookie was so excited for the new school year that he decided to throw a party. How exciting.

One major point that disappointed me was how the EPF were aware that Herbert was going to strike the University. However, he did not appear at all whatsoever during the party. Instead, the Director messaged us saying that the University is now secure. Why even mention Herbert at all? Oh yes, to remind us that he still exists but without actually making him a major character at all. It all seems a little lazy..

Verdict

What originally sounded like the disaster party of 2014 (and boy, are there many contenders for that fine award) actually turned out to be not so bad by 2014’s standards. Whilst it suffered from the usual lack of deco, lack of a real plot and a repetitive quest, it wasn’t as bad as the Music Jam. There we no Disney characters which was refreshing and hopefully this will last for the remainder of the year. It would’ve also been nice to have each mascot teach a respective subject. Gary for science, Aunt Arctic for English, Cadence for music etc.

Overall, it wasn’t the best but it wasn’t the worst either. I only found myself logging in once per penguin throughout the entire event which pretty much says all there is to say. Will it return next year? I hope not, I’d prefer to find something more creative within the month of September.

What’s Next?

Ah the month of October, by far my favourite month of the year in regards to the island. We already know which parties will occur this month as its’ the same every year. Does that mean its’ bad? No, the exact opposite. The Halloween Party dominates in terms of decoration and music, and I’ve yet to witness one that disappoints. Thus far, we are aware that Spooky Puffles (Ghost Puffles) will be making their debut for Members only. We also know that a Halloween-themed upgrade of the Puffle Hotel will be a central point of the party which is fine. I don’t mind when a room is the main focal point of a party, but it can’t be the only focal point of the party – something which was the main downfall of the Music Jam 2014.

Let us all not forget the 9th Anniversary either. October holds 2 parties every year – the only month to do so on an annual basis. Expect the two to be integrated with eachother rather than having them separate as CP once did (before the whole 2-week party duration was introduced). Regardless, I’m excited for this month and hope that it doesn’t disappoint – though let’s face it, it won’t take much to be the best party of 2014 thus far.

Next Time: Pins – Does Size Matter?

Random CP Fact #27: The Halloween Party 2008 marked the first official sighting of Ninjas. When lightning strook inside the Dojo, Ninja shadows could be seen for a split-second. Ninjas were then officially released a month later.

Until next time, Waddle on!

– Jimbobson

The Golden Puffle: My Verdict!

Greetings Penguins!

It’s no secret that the Golden Puffle will be the next coloured puffle to hit the island. In fact, we’ve already seen it. This will be the 2nd new puffle of the year, with the first being the Rainbow Puffle during the Puffle Party. It seems this year CP is really working on making the most popular rumours become a reality. For those who are for some reason still sceptical, here’s the new log off screen featuring our latest furry friend.

golden puffle1

From this screen alone, we are aware that the Golden Puffle will be available for members which isn’t very surprising, but basically means this whole “Quest for the Golden Puffle” mini-event will be worthless for non-members. How kind. Secondly, we can be sure that Golden Puffles will sometimes dig up rare golden items that will probably be the main reason for kids buying Memberships this month. Finally, we can see that this legendary puffle will be found in one of the “new caves” that has been found in the Mine. Exciting!

So what’s my opinion? I love the design of this new puffle, so much so I think it may be my new favourite (alongside the Yellow Puffle). However, it does seem very similar in terms of colour to the Yellow one, just with a golden tint to it’s fur, eyes and mouth. Nevertheless, it looks pretty amazing. However, I am pretty disappointed it will only be for Members. Yeah we all saw this coming, but still. It was nice to hope.

Finally, I really dislike how CP has completely spoiled the whole event; we all know what colour the new puffle will be and are even shown what it will look like! That’s no fun.. Who remembers when new puffles were introduced by surprise? It was certainly a much better experience. Anyway, I look forward to our new arrival and may even buy a Membership just for this lil guy. I sure hope CP make a toy version, though this seems unlikely.

Random CP Fact #15: Puffles were first found on the island in November 2005. Initially there were only Blue, Pink, Green and Black colours. Including the Golden Puffle, there are currently 12 different colours of puffles available.

Until next time, Waddle on!

– Jimbobson

CPF in focus: Parties – Then and Now

Greetings Penguins!

Time for yet another CPF in focus. This time, I will be discussing the parties on CP and how they have changed throughout the years.

2005 – 2007

Parties throughout this period were original, creative and simple. There were much fewer decorations in comparison to today’s parties (such as the Halloween party 2005). CP was more generous to non-members back then, giving several free items out per party! The average party only lasted for around 3 days.

Late 2008 – 2011(ish)

Parties started to become more complex, with many returning each year (Music Jam..). Throughout 2009-2011 especially, CP started to add more features for members at parties and the duration of ’em began to last longer. Items were often returned from older parties, with most of the non-member items being hats. Lots and lots of hats.

2012

Many new parties such as the Marvel Superhero Takeover and Fashion Show were added. From June to August, CP held parties that involved some kind of promotion offline (Marvel, Shake it Up and Innocent Smoothes respectively). Many penguins disliked this due to them believing it was an annoying attempt by Disney to make more money. The parties lasted longer, the member benefits remained (such as the ability to transform during some parties) and non-members got a lot of hats and backgrounds. The remaining original co-founders also left, taking the “old” CP with them.

2013 (Now!)

Although we have only had 2 (very soon to be 3) parties this year, we can see a pattern of what’s happening. CP has now given each party an average duration of about 2 weeks (which is far too long in my opinion). The items take much longer to obtain (I’m looking at you, Dino Dig. Grr) and CP releases a ridiculous amount of sneak peeks before the party has began; making each one very predictable and often boring.

I mean, c’mon. 2013’s parties have not been the best. First was the Prehistoric Party, not bad but, just, slow. Transforming was perhaps the highlight, where’s the excitement or creativity? Then we had the Hollywood party. This one annoyed me, why did CP remove the St. Patrick’s Day party? To make everyone feel welcome by not having location-based holidays. So what do they do instead? Make a party devoted to a specific place in the USA?

My opinion?

I hope CP becomes more original and creative with their ideas. I want parties like we had in 2007 (Summer kick off and the Water party were brilliant), or at least a party that we don’t have 10 sneak peeks of, showing every single room and item before its actually released (Puffle Party 2013..we know what the Rainbow puffle looks like, we know what the room looks like, we know what the items look like. How is that fun?!).

Until next time, Waddle on!

-Jimbobson