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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

‘Holiday Party: 2015’ Critical Review!

Note: You may notice the domain Jimbobson.com has expired. The URL is once again Jimbobson.wordpress.com. I may renew it in the new year but for now that’s the only way to get to this site. Apologies for any inconvenience! 

Greetings Penguins!

The final month of the year has always ensured the festivity of the holidays was brought to the island. Whether called the Christmas Party, the Holiday Party or even the Merry Walrus Party; December has always promised to provide an eventful, festive experience.

Content

After last years Walrus-shaped mishap, CP has ultimately opted on playing it safe. Returning to the more traditional ‘Holiday Party’ name, 2015’s edition is admittedly too similar to what we’ve seen in previous years. Whilst the original Christmas parties had different themes (white, snow covered blizzard Christmas in 2006 and the Classic Christmas of 2007), the Holiday Parties have always included pretty much the same elements, with only a couple of new features. Like past years, the Christmas-inspired events have never really had a plot as such, but is merely a celebration of the winter-themed event.

But at least there was no overly-cheesy Walrus this time around, right?

Activities / Quests

The absolute major downfall of this party was the fact there was nothing to do. Sure, players could donate to Coins for Change, hunt down Rockhopper and collect the daily items from the Christmas countdown calendar – but that was pretty much it. Members could adopt the Olaf and Blue Crystal Puffle then pick on their friends by freezing them (by transforming into the Frost Bite). The Magic Sleigh Ride we’ve seen countless times since 2009 also made its’ return which, whilst a fun time waster for new players, didn’t come with any new items for those who have played over two months (it actually returned during the 10th Anniversary..).

To conclude this section, the party fails where modern parties must succeed. The older parties from back in CP’s early history had a plot, a few simplistic free items and endless roleplaying opportunity thanks to a much better filter, which is ironic considering games are supposed to improve their features over time, not go backwards.

Items

Perhaps where this party did shine was the plethora of items available. A total of 33 free items were available – a giant amount for any party. Of course, not all of these were for everyone and many were either returning (in the case of Puffles or mascot backgrounds) or re-coloured items. Nothing too spectacular, though the item advent calendar did grant everyone with a selection of furniture items and a Deluxe Gingerbread House (which non-members still cannot access for some odd reason). Certainly an improvement over Operation: Crustacean but falls flat when compared to the 10th Anniversary.

Decorations

The Holiday/Christmas parties have always been richly decorated. From snowmen to christmas trees, these parties had everything you would expect – and more! Last year’s Merry Walrus Party was incredibly lacklustre in decorations and, if we’re being honest, lacklustre in pretty much every department.

Since the Holiday Parties have begun however, we’ve been treated to the dusk sky covered with stars and animated northern lights. Whilst still appealing, I do feel its losing its’ effectiveness. Just like the Halloween parties used to mix eclipses, storms and sometimes a combination of both; I feel the Holiday Parties should consist of something new. Perhaps snowfall?

Regardless, 2015 saw a big improvement in this section when compared to last year. Even the recently released Area 501 had its’ exterior and interior mildly decorated. If I was to suggest some improvements though, it would be more animation! Make those lights twinkle, make the ice sparkle, make the northern lights move in every room!

Pre-New Year Update: CP has recently added fireworks to the Ice Berg and Ski Hill as usual. However, this time they also added dance mats which is a great addition. It’s clear the team is finally paying attention to the community – subtleties really give a room a polished and professional appearance.

Mascots

Out with the Walrus, in with the Pirate! Yep, everyone’s favourite Captain Rockhopper returned for this years Holiday Party – complete with a completely fixed Migrator!

Wait, but didn’t that get destro…oh, don’t mention it? Okay. Moving on..

Coins for Change

Those who attended last year’s Merry Walrus party may remember the whole fiasco regarding CP’s annual charity event. With the goal not reached, Merry Walrus apparently donated the rest of the coins – a cheap attempt of covering up the huge decrease of the game’s fanbase in recent years.

This year however, we apparently hit the 10 billion goal. In 9 days! Whether this was legit or not, we don’t know. Whilst I’d like to believe players donated over 10 billion coins, it could simply be that the coin counter was fixed to hide the fact CP isn’t getting any popular.

Verdict

In conclusion, CP ends 2015 in a satisfactory manner. Certainly an improvement over last year, 2015 has some stand-out moments that will undoubtedly live on for the history of the game. The 10th Anniversary was amazing and the Halloween party was certainly a solid effort. The Holiday Party, whilst unlikely to stand out in anyone’s memory as one of the best in the series, is still an above average party all things considered. Flawed, but not bad. Not bad at all.

Be sure to stay tuned for the 2015 in CP critical review. Basically, my flippers fall off by the end of it.

Random CP Fact #53: At a mod meet up on 30th December 2015, Megg confirmed that Project Super Secret WILL arrive in 2016. 

Until next time, have a Happy New Year!

-Jimbobson

Talk Like a Pirate Day Critical Review!

Greetings Penguins!

2 reviews on the same day, what a treat! Everyone say a prayer for my poor finge…flippers! Anyways, this review won’t be that critical as it’s only a mini-event, and a pretty decent one at that. So let’s get this one underway!

Content

This mini-event is purely to celebrate talk like a pirate day, one of the many days for pointless things. Regardless, the event we find on CP isn’t pointless. I’d even go as far to say that it’s more satisfying than The Descendants Party. A single decorated room which various pirate-themed objects and even a free item. Simplicity at its’ best, it allows for roleplaying opportunities and that’s about it. And that’s perfectly fine.

Activities/Quests

None! Simply log in and appreciate the simplistically pirate-themed room, collect the item if you haven’t already then either stay for some roleplaying or log out. It’s that simple!

Items

This is the bit I most appreciated. Over the years, there has been a plethora of pirate-themed items – what with Rockhopper being a major mascot in the game. However, CP surprised most by re-re-releasing the Red Pirate Bandana. Not sure what’s so special about it? Well, it first released in December 2008 in a Rockhopper’s rare items catalogue. It then returned in June 2007, which is when Jimbobson first picked it up (one of his first head items after the Flower Headdress from the Summer Kick Off Party). It’s so old even my backup account, Jimbobson 2, doesn’t have it! A really nice touch from CP, I’m glad it’s back for a limited time.

Since Rockhopper is wadding around, players can of course receive a autographed background by meeting him. Oddly enough, the background he currently gives away is his 2013 Holiday background. A very weird choice by CP that was likely done by mistake, but here’s your chance to receive an almost 2-year old background if you haven’t already!

Mascots

Rockhopper, of course! He has somehow returned to the island. This is the major complaint for this mini-event, the fact the Migrator didn’t return. Megg claims he used his small rowboat to get here, but we all know it’s just a rather poor attempt to cover up such a blatant plot-hole. I don’t think CP expected us to catch on..

Decorations

Simplistic, yet effective. Contextually relevant. Not much in terms of animation, but still no complaints can be made what with it being a mini-event. Some floating barrels of cream soda would’ve been a good addition, but lets not get too critical here.

Verdict

Overall a very nice mini-event that certainly has a added hint of old-CP. Nothing revolutionary or particularly interesting here, but that’s to be expected. I personally enjoyed it, as I have with most the mini-parties. Here’s to many more!

Random CP Fact #48: Rockhopper has given away a total of 8 autographed backgrounds, one behind Gary. There was a 9th that was available by receiving a code in real-life from Rockhopper (some guy in a Rockhopper costume at least) at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida from April – May 2009. Simply put, it’s very rare.

Until next time, Waddle on!

-Jimbobson

Inside Out Party Critical Review!

Greetings Penguins!

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..

Content

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.

Activities/Quests

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.

Items

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!

Mascots

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.

Decorations

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).

Inconsistences

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.

Verdict

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!

– Jimbobson

Festival of Snow 2015 Critical Review!

Greetings Penguins!

Despite the month of June consisting of no official parties as such, today we had an unexpected update. Rather than CP’s usual Thursday/Wednesday tradition, CP instead updated today; 30th June. Why? Possibly so they could say that June did in fact hold a party (which would prevent this years year book from looking unusually empty). Regardless, despite it being a fairly small-scale event, it hit many spots in which modern parties fail too. Which says a lot, for a game in which is always supposed to be progressing.

Content

For those who remember the original Festival of Snow way back in February 2007 (even that was before my time!), then the 2015 version is pretty much the same bar new artwork. Basically, the idea is that players submit their own artwork and a select few become an actual snow sculpture on the island; including a credit to your penguin’s name and an image of the original artwork. It’s a great artwork and involves the players; but unfortunately only two of these festival of snows have existed throughout the island’s history.

Unlike The Fair and Music Jam however, this years’ Festival of Snow remains virtually identical to the one found in 07 as I’ve stated previously. This means that the originality of 2007 really shines through here, complete with island-wide decor and even free item boxes. Yay!

Activities/Quests

None! Except waddle around and examine the sculptures, original art work and collect the free items. Ah, the simplicity of the old days.

Items

Both the rare Ice Crown and Snowflake Shirt make their return at this event. First released during the original 2007 version, this makes sense. Whilst it may anger the rarest of penguins (if they’re not already angry due to the poor July clothing and igloo catalogues), many new penguins will be thrilled by these original ice-themed items. Even Jimbobson didn’t own these two original iced gems!

Mascots

None, but that’s okay because pretty much every event in the old days never had a mascot either, except the odd visit from Rockhopper of course.

Decorations

Island-wide, simplistic and original. The only issue I would pick out here is the lack of interior room decor, but that never happened during the original so it’d be very very critical to expect it during this year’s version.

Verdict

When I first heard that CP was doing another festival of snow, I didn’t expect it to be as big as the last one. Even if it was, I didn’t expect island-wide decor and especially didn’t expect items – never mind rare items returning. Overall, I enjoyed this event and that’s something I haven’t said and thoroughly meant it in quite a while. Even the music is a joy to listen to. For those old enough to obtain the items during the original event, you may want to calm your rage by looking forward to next month’s party: An Inside Out Takeover! Including Rockhopper! This should be a good one….

Random CP Fact #46: The Ice Crown was first released in February 2007 and hasn’t returned since..until now. The Snowflake T-Shirt however was released in both the Series 2 & 5 Treasure Books.

Until next time, Waddle on!

– Jimbobson

The Fair 2015 Critical Review!

Greetings Penguins!

Now we turn our focus to May’s flagship party; The Fair. Whilst certainly not a new, never-before-seen party, it incorporates most of the elements of 2014’s version but with a few added extras.

Content

Being the 8th Fair, most users will have had experience of at least one of these events before. Formerly known as the Fall Fair, these events began way back in 2007 and always occurred within the Autumn months (or Fall for all our American/Canadian friends). Of course, CP being the noble citizens that they are, realised that it is not Autumn/Fall for everyone at the same time of the year, so simply renamed it to The Fair.

2014 is where things changed. This was the biggest change since The Fair since the introduction of the series. The Amazement Park taking place off the island and the whole dusk setting was a large change from what many were used to. Anyway, enough of the history.

This years, being very similar to last years, incorporated some extras in which made the party much more enjoyable for everyone. The Daily Spin returned, featuring the same items as last year. For those who already have them, only silver tickets, standard tickets and coins will appear. For those who don’t, you have another chance to obtain them. There was also a new Medieval area which includes a new game entitled Medieval Monsters. Pretty fun, incorporating the usual ‘throw snowballs at target to win’ method.

Oh, and the Super Hero Bounce game returned (from the Marvel Superhero Takeover in 2013), including the ability to earn the Superhero Hoodie upon completion of the game. Some minor extras, but ones that certainly enhance the party in my opinion.

Activities/Quests

As with all Fairs, the aim is to receive enough tickets via playing mini-games in order to redeem them for items. 2014’s version frustrated many players as the pricing of items was simply too high. This year however, the team has listened and reduced the pricing (quite considerably). Added to the fact that there are more games and thus more variety in terms of earning tickets, this party improves on last year’s efforts in a plethora of ways.

Items

Unfortunately, this was one area this year’s attempt failed to match last years. As usual, there were items for Members and items for everyone. The items for members consisted of stuffed monkeys and starfish costumes. Non-members however, were treated to a selection of head, face and hand items. From wigs to pixel glasses, The Fair 2015 had it all. The Bell from the previous Coins for Change campaigns also made an unexpected return. Whilst the variety was certainly better than say, the Rainbow Puffle Party, I would’ve liked to seen more brand new items and less recoloured versions. And of course, some body items for everyone wouldn’t go amiss.

Mascots

Two mascots and a not-so-live performance from the Penguin Band ensured that May wouldn’t be a mascot-less month. Rookie is well known for his attendance during the fairs, but I still miss Rockhopper’s visits (the first Fall Fair was actually created by Rockhopper). Nevertheless, it’s better than nothing. No new backgrounds, though.

Decorations

Pretty much the same as last year. The island itself wasn’t decorated with anything other than a dusk sky which certainly adds some atmosphere to the island. If anything, it makes us desire the day/night feature even more so. Like last years, the off-island Amazement Park is where all the action took place. With several different themed parks to visit, including the new Medieval party-inspired ‘Ye Olde Castle’, there was elements from a few parties we’ve seen in the past. Not too shabby! But some on-island decor would’ve been effective, no matter how simplistic.

Verdict

2015’s version of The Fair simply took last years version and fixed its’ major flaws. Sure, there were glitches, some of which were quite major (i.e fair mini-games not yielding tickets), and the duration of parties is still far too long (20th May – 10th June after extension?!), but it still wasn’t an awful party. Member’s only transformations was a little unnecessary and not something I enjoy to begin with, but I suppose they add a little more role-playing opportunities. Regardless, let us look forward to June (even though we’re almost half-way through already), which promises some EPF-related stuff and some even suspect the return of the Sports Shop…

Random CP Fact #45: Despite the Penguin Band’s numerous performances over the years, their first official appearance as mascots was during the Music Jam 2008 – each sporting their old country-themed design.

Until next time, Waddle on!

– Jimbobson

Pirate Party 2014 Critical Review!

Ahoy Penguins!

Can anyone believe it? We’re already in the final month of the year. The month’s seem to fly by as we prepare to say our farewells to 2014 and look forward to whatever 2015 will bring. We’re not quite done with 2014 yet, however. In fact, we’ve not even concluded November in terms of parties yet. The Pirate Party is on its’ final days, which means its’ a excellent time to reflect upon the Rockhopper-inspired event.

Plot

Most parties this year have suffered from a very weak narrative. There was little backstory to the events in which occured. It would typically involve Cadence having some friends visit the island in the form of Disney-inspired mascots. How did she meet these ‘friends’? We don’t know. The Penguin Cup was blatantly based upon FIFA’s World Cup 2014 in Brazil – but little was said why the residents of Club Penguin we’re hosting their own version.

The Pirate Party had a seemingly interesting plot. Basically, Rockhopper was telling some pirate crabs about the tales of his journeys and his home on CP island. The pirate crabs came on board the Migrator and took over his ship whilst collecting his treasure. What happened to Rockhopper we don’t know. Was he crabnapped? Did he simply just let the crabs take over whilst he and Yarr sat in the Captain’s Quarters drinking cream soda?

Anyways, the crabs then crash the Migrator at the Beach, which ultimately destroys Rockhopper’s beloved ship. The crabs then set off around the island burying the treasure for some reason, whilst he recruits penguins to help him out and battle the crabs for him – re-claiming his loot in the process.

The plot actually sounded fairly new and exciting at first. Crabs had GTA’d the Migrator! However, once the party had began, the many plot holes and lack of a solid story quickly became obvious. Firstly, why was Rockhopper recruiting other penguins to do his dirty work? He’s an experienced Captain yet has to have amateur penguins fight crabs for him? He also didn’t seem that upset that his ship was, once again, destroyed. The Crabs themselves were also something of a problem simply due to the lack of them. They had taken over the Migrator; yet there were so few of them on the island. 3 per room excluding the larger, single crab at the Cove. Is that really an invasion?

Personally, it seemed like an easy way to not introduce Rockhopper’s belated arrival, but also a cheap way to re-design the Migrator, which, thus far, still remains shipwrecked at the Beach. Was the plot satisfying from a player’s point of view? I don’t think so. Yes, an actual plot is very welcome, but it could’ve been more exciting and well thought out. I would’ve liked to see the Migrator slowly being re-built during the 2 weeks of the party and maybe an unexpected twist like that of the Halloween Part 2014, but oh well.

Quests

We’ve come to expect that parties aren’t at all as simple as they used to be. Recent events include some type of mini-game, quest or other activity that the player must complete to earn items and progress through a party’s narrative. This time, player’s had to battle the pirate crabs whom stole Rockhopper’s treasure and planned to bury it around the island. How did the brave penguin’s battle these creatures, you ask? Sword fighting of course!

Once equipped with a wooden sword, everyone could engage in a battle with the red menaces. As soon as the battle actually began it was painfully familiar – and not in a good way like Apple seems to portray in their keynotes. Basically, it was a pirate version of the Jedi battles used in The Star Wars Takeover. Basically a glorified rock, paper scissors, which is also used for the original Card Jitsu, the game requires no skill whatsoever as it relies solely on luck. Battling the crabs however typically means that they will automatically pick whatever loses to your attack – particularly in the first few rooms.

With 3 crabs to beat per room, battling becomes insanely repetitive very quickly. Add to this the fact that player’s can also battle their friends to earn other swords (members only), coins and some extra items means that there will be a lot of battling. Unfortunately, the intense and exciting sneak peeks and the very thought of sword fighting crabs failed to live up to expectation.

Add to this the fact that you cannot lose against the crabs and the excitement is fully drained from the game within the first few attempts. What would happen if a player lost to the crabs? We also never got to see the consequences of their invasion and burying Rockhopper’s treasure, which is a shame as it’d make the party a lot more enjoyable. Operation Blackout actually allowed Herbert to kidnap members of the EPF and we witnessed what the island would look like once the sun was blocked out. If I was to sum up this entire party in just one word, it would definitely be repetitive.

Decorations

An area in which the Pirate Party mildly succeeded was the decorations. The bottom half of the island was fairly well decorated with pirate inspired locations. Some would argue that some rooms are too cramped and thus over-decorated, but is this simply to compensate for the lack of interior decorating? Rooms such as the Coffee Shop and Night Club were once decorated for every party. Now it would seem that the team would prefer to decorate the outsides instead. Probably due to the larger amount of penguins spending time in rooms like the Plaza or Town, rather than the Ski Lodge.

A major complaint by many was the lack of access to the Migrator. Sure, the thing was destroyed, but it would’ve been nice to explore a shipwreck and try identify different elements of the ship we’ve all come to know so well. Overall, the decorations were fairly decent, and all brand-new which certainly provides bonus points in that category when compared to the Halloween Party, but many would’ve traded the overly-decorated rooms for a higher quantity of less-decorated ones.

Music

I don’t often review the music used in parties as it’s not necessarily a major factor to everyone. This time however, I’d like to point out that the music is pretty sweet. Many of the Pirate-themed tracks are uplifting and enjoyable. I would’ve liked to see Ocean Voyage (the former Pirate Party & Lighthouse music) make a return however, even if it was the remixed version that plays on the Migrator.

Items

Items were once the major focal point of every party. This is what penguins logged in for. Within the last few months, items have become more plentiful but much less variety for non-members in particular. Sure, we get several head and hand items every month, but I’d rather receive one well-designed body item instead.

As the party focused on pirates, the items were obviously pirate themed. Swords were available which could be used to battle crabs and other penguins, though there was only one available to everyone – the Wooden Sword. Other items included a slingshot, some keys, a pirate flag and a crocodile costume. Whilst these looked decent, I would’ve liked to see a larger variety and maybe even some special dances that we have a huge lack of nowadays. So much so, that the Members-only final sword’s main feature is exactly that (and even then it is a slightly edited version of the sword found during the Medieval Party).

With Rockhopper being the mascot of the party, he of course gave away one of his famous background’s if you were lucky enough to meet him or already have him on your friend’s list. Unfortunately but incredibly predictable however, the background (dubbed Rockhopper’s Evergreen Giveaway) was the same one that we’ve seen since September of last year. Such a shame considering that mascot’s backgrounds once were rich in collectability.

Mascot Involvement

This month we had everyone’s favourite and slightly forgotten pirate – Captain Rockhopper. However, his involvement seemed a little on the small side, which is quite ironic given the nature of the party. Sure, he showed up when completing tasks and was meetable on the island, but he seemed somewhat lacking in terms of emotion. He wasn’t seen mourning the destruction of his ship, nor was he seen battling the crabs himself. Once the quests are completed we hear nothing else of our favourite red penguin for the rest of the party. It almost seems like he is lacking in some areas, such as his big personality which made him a fan favourite in the first place.

Secondly, I and many other’s were predicting that Herbert would strike in some way during the party. We already knew that he was planning something from his website, and with blue prints of a robot crab it seemed that this was the perfect opportunity for the evil polar bear to attack the island once again. This wasn’t the case however, he didn’t appear at all. The addition of Herbert would’ve been excellent and provided the party with something it desperately needed – excitement. Imagine if, after all the crabs were defeated, players had to then face a giant robot crab in the final week of the party that was controlled by Herbert. It would’ve made a great impact, but perhaps CP is saving Herbert for this month (December)?

Duration

I rarely include this within reviews simply because every party is the same. 2 weeks is now the standard for the parties on Club Penguin, not including mini-events. I’ve said it several times, this is simply too long. Yes we know it’s to bring players online and to showcase the team’s hard work. But 2 weeks is an extremely long time for a younger audience whom get bored quickly.

However, there is a way to solve this. If CP insists on throwing 2 week-long parties, then they must support this with 2-weeks worth of content. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the “come back every day to complete ______” has to be used to a greater extent, though. CP uses this method to turn activities and quests that would take less than 30 minutes into content that spans a week. I would much prefer if we had a certain number of tasks to do on the first week, then something unexpected was released in the next week, similar to how more popular parties were often extended along with a new free item back in 2006/2007.

Verdict

Whilst the Pirate Party was by no means a bad party (in my opinion anyway), it was lacking in the most vital of areas and this quickly became obvious. It was nice to see the return of an old party with a completely new feel to it, but whether it would’ve been better than a Card Jitsu-themed event (which used to take up the party slot in November), I’m not so sure. Regardless, this smaller party was a welcome one and is definitely one of the better ones of 2014.

December – January

Although the party hasn’t ended just yet, we already know of the next 2 parties. Firstly, it would’ve been a good guess to say that December will be home to the annual Holiday Party 2014. This is not the case however, as, for the first time, CP will instead be hosting a Merry Walrus Party. What is that, exactly? It basically combines several religious holiday-themed traditions and combines them in a way that is exclusive to Club Penguin. I personally think this sounds exciting, as the Holiday Party definitely required a change and this party sounds like exactly what it needed. To kick things off, there will be a a Merry Walrus mini-parade starting in this week’s updates. Awesome!

Whilst its’ odd to discuss January at this point, the team already confirmed the party. No, it’s not that tiresome Prehistoric Party that haunts me to this day (Dino Dig..), it will instead be takeover in the theme of Star Wars Rebels. Very little is known about it thus far, let’s just hope it doesn’t include the same battling mini-game as the first Star Wars takeover!

Random CP Fact #32: The Dance Club was formerly known as the Night Club, though this changed in late 2012. The name change was likely due to the fact that night doesn’t occur on the island (not including Halloween or other parties). 

Until next time, Waddle on!

-Jimbobson

Halloween Party 2014 Critical Review!

Greetings Penguins!

With October well over with and November now in full swing, we can all reflect on October and agree it was a pretty successful month – as it usually is. The collaboration of two classic annual parties is something that isn’t seen in any other month of the year. I’ve already reviewed the 9th Anniversary party and, whilst it certainly wasn’t the biggest or most surprising of the series, it still gave us some originality that we see so much less of nowadays. This post focuses on a party that not only is the biggest of the October duo, but arguably the biggest in the calendar year – every year. Now, let’s begin.

Plot

The Puffle Hotel served as the fundamental location this time. Supposedly haunted by ghostly goings-on, Gary informed us that his Great Uncle Gariwald VIII (the same from Halloween 2012) had gone missing in the Hotel which now has a staggering 13 floors. Upon entering the Hotel and being introduced with a new Hotel bellhop named Skip, narrative thus far was actually a narrative. Something was happening other than Cadence’s friends coming to visit. A very, very welcome change. Though not as in-depth and complex as the plot during Operation: Blackout (arguably the best party ever in terms of plot), it definitely felt refreshing to actually have a story. An interesting story at that (come on, who didn’t want to know what happened to Gary’s ghost of a great uncle?!).

After extensive waiting and puzzle solving, we found out that Skip was actually an evil ghost whom stole the Ghost Puffles (and Gariwald) in order to extract their energy using his dodgy machines in order to haunt the island. Not only this, but he also tricks and ultimately traps the player. After escaping thanks to Gariwald’s blatant hints on how to do so, Skip is then defeated, flies away and the island is saved. Hurray! Wait, shouldn’t we do something about an evil ghost who just got away? No? Oh, alrighty then.

Despite containing a giant twist that very few saw coming, Skip seemed lacking in character somewhat. He was seemingly trying to terrorise the island – but why exactly? Herbert has his reasons for his evil plans, but Skip just seemed to be a random annoyed ghost whom had a lust for scaring everyone. At one point, he states that he’s not letting you mess his plans up as “It’s his ticket to the big leagues”. What does this even mean? Does he want to be famous or something? I would’ve preferred Skip to have more of a motive behind his actions. Instead, he seems to be a little fame-obsessed. And dead. Definitely dead. Regardless, the plot, despite its’ several flaws, it still manages to engage and indeed shock the player which is certainly a welcome addition that makes the 2014 version of the Halloween Party unique when compared to the others. Will Skip return someday though?

Puzzles/Quests

Quests containing puzzles have been the norm for a majority of parties this year and the Halloween Party 2014 is no exception. Whilst some of the puzzles were fun and required some thinking, others were lacking in comparison. For example, in one room user’s had to simply click on pumpkins to crush them. That’s not really a puzzle or challenging. I guess the challenge was to figure out what to do as opposed to finding out how to do it.

The final puzzle was to free Gariwald and the Ghost Puffles and to ultimately stop Skip from haunting the island. However, Gariwald’s hints were a huge giveaway. He basically instructed the player how to do escape the cage and distract Skip. Not to mention anyone who’s been a member of the EPF for several years would probably of had a case of deja vu, as the recycling of puzzles became evident (throwing snowballs at a power box…sounds familiar).

This party also saw the re-introduction of the infamous ‘come back every day’ feature. Many dislike this as it means they have to log in every day to complete a puzzle/earn items. This was once the norm for many of CP’s parties and served as a cheap way to get more penguins logging in. However, more recent parties such as the Frozen Party didn’t include this feature and instead allowed player’s to complete all the puzzles (if you could call em’ that) in 10 minutes or less if the player wanted to.

I personally felt the [Frozen] party seemed to be far too easy and quick to finish, which is a complete juxtaposition of its’ lengthy duration. Yes, it worked in the older days due to parties being simplistic and having a short duration of a few days, but since newer parties last so long, I feel the ‘come back every day’ feature works better. If player’s really dislike this that much, then simply log in on the final day when everything is unlocked. Simple!

Decorations

Contrary to what several believed when they saw an unreleased screenshot of the Plaza from CP’s files, the whole island was indeed decorated with the iconic dark night sky. Though there wasn’t a storm this time, the night sky always brings a completely new atmosphere to the island and this has made many want a night/day feature on the island, as well as some weather conditions that we’ve on rare occasions in the past (The Great Storm of 2010 included dark clouds and even rain!).

The Hotel and its’ interior were both decorated for once. Though, these rooms were the focal point on the party and thus had to be decorated. Most rooms had returned from previous years, including the slime pool in the Underground Pool which never seems to get any attention at all anymore. Some rooms however, mainly the interiors of the Plaza (bar the Hotel) and the Town (not including the Coffee Shop during the Anniversary) remained undecorated, which is slightly disappointing but when compared to all parties this year the decorations are huge.

One aspect that disappointed me was Ski Hill. Yes, it had the pumpkin scarecrow and the night sky, but the cave that apparently belongs to the Sasquatch didn’t glow. Why would it, you ask? Aunt Arctic stated in the CP Times that the cave was rumoured to glow at night – indicating that someone or something lived there. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case during the eternal darkness of a  fortnight and personally I believe CP missed out on the perfect opportunity to reboot this rumour. Ah well, maybe they’re saving it for when night and day comes to the island? Who knows..

Items

I always love Halloween items. They’re usually spooky with a comedic twist that makes them popular throughout the whole year. During CP’s youth, the Ghost and Clown Costumes were both very popular items, and this hasn’t changed much throughout the years. In the case of the 2014 version, all the free items were new. Non-Members were treated to a series of head and hand items, including a Magic Hat, a Ghostly Suitcase, a Little Jack’O’Lantern on a chain leash and even a jar of Newt eyes (amongst others).

As always, Member’s got their added bonus of even more items, such as a Web Hoodie, Spectral Ghost Costume, Ghost Puffle Costume, Skeleton Mask and Shadow Wings. These items obviously were a range of body items and not just limited to head and hand like with the non-members. In total, non-members got 7 items and members got 14 (including those available for everyone) which is a large amount for any party. So in this respect, the party did definitely not disappoint. However, I would’ve liked a bigger variety of items as opposed to the majority being for the head/hands.

Verdict

2014 hasn’t been the best year in terms of parties. We all know that. The Halloween Party 2014 stands out a lot more this year than it has any other year. The lack of a proper narrative structure and a plethora of decorations in the majority of parties this year means that this and indeed any other recent Halloween Party would stand out in 2014. I personally found that this year’s version was a positive approach that I hope CP continues into the remainder of the year. Whilst not perfect, and doesn’t compare to my all time fave (2008 – the thunderstorm, the scavenger hunt, introduction of ninjas…awesome), it’s still a great party that’s firmly earned its’ place as my favourite of the year thus far. Will the Pirate Party or Holiday Party 2014 change this? I sure hope so!

So that ends yet another critical review. We now only have two more parties left of 2014. As we already know, November will be the month of pirates as the Pirate Party returns along with everyone’s favourite and somewhat neglected captain. Many speculate we will be finally able to reach Rockhopper Island for the first time, which would be interesting to say the least. That all kicks off on the 20th, let’s hope its’ amazing!

Random CP Fact #31: Players used to be able to type numbers in the first couple of years in Club Penguin. This was eventually changed as many were sharing personal information such as their phone numbers. 

Until next time, Waddle on!

– 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

Ocean Voyage music returns!

Greetings Penguins!

This post isn’t really breaking news or anything that important, especially if you’re new to the island. Those older penguins may remember when the Lighthouse had music playing at all times (before the instrument feature became active). This music was known as Ocean Voyage (sometimes referred to as the Lighthouse music) and also played during the Pirate parties. Recently, it has not been heard of. However, this all changed today.

As we all know by now, Rockhopper has arrived back to Club Penguin island after about a year away. His jacket isn’t the only new thing either, as a remixed version of the Ocean Voyage track now plays in the Migrator! Great addition in my opinion, though I may be slightly biased as Ocean Voyage is my favourite track in CP’s history. Just saying.

In other news: I will soon be adding a couple of new posts every now and again. The first will focus on the frequently asked questions I get (questions that help people find my blog in the first place). This will hopefully mean that users will be able to have their questions asked – completely anonymously (even I don’t know who ask these questions). The next page will be an item in focus where I will write a few paragraphs about a certain item, such as when it was released and during what party etc.

Random CP Fact #11: Rockhopper first introduced Red Puffles to the island – he brought them back from their native home at Rockhopper Island. The Captain even has a red puffle himself named Yarr.

Until next time, Waddle on!

– Jimbobson