Poptropica is a virtual world intended for children. Although the site seems to cater to older rather than very young internet users, it offers clean entertainment in a safe environment. The virtual world consists of many islands, including Red Dragon island, Cryptids island, Wild West island, Steamworks island, Skullduggery island, Wimpy Wonderland, Great Pumpkin island, Mythology island, Reality TV island, Astro Knights and Counterfeit island. Each island has a theme that sets the tone for the setting and obstacles the user encounters. The user plays Poptropica much like a platform game, with puzzles and other entertainment options thrown into the mix. The user creates their own character, which they use to play in the Poptropica world. Users can also purchase cards to obtain objects and abilities, such as access to their multiverse room.
Poptropica was created by the Family Education Network. The network is a part of the Pearson education, technology and services company. Family Education Network is also responsible for the creation of FunBrain. Pearson’s other endeavors include the Penguin Group and the Financial Times Group.
There are a number of virtual, browser based worlds intended for younger internet users. Poptropica is appealing because it has a fun, colorful design that would appeal to a wide range of age groups. While most virtual worlds seem to cater to very young internet users, Poptropica seems to have something for almost any child. Users can also obtain items and abilities and create a character that looks like themselves (or anyone else they want it to look like).
The Poptropica world has a very cartoony feel to it. The animation features a great deal of large shapes and rounded edges. The color palette is very diverse, with all manner of bright and bold hues to give characters and scenery dimension. The game plays much like a platform game, with the user’s character leaping over obstacles and wandering through various settings. The settings range from fantasy themes to different places and times.
A new user can join the Poptropica community by clicking the blue “New Character” button along the left hand side of the homepage. The page scrolls to the left and the user is asked to choose either a male or female character using the floating bubble icons. Next the user must click the bubble that contains their age. The age options go up to 15 years. The following page asks the user to select a character to start playing. The user can customize the character by clicking the button below the yellow box along the left hand side. Additional buttons will appear to alter skin color, hair style, hair color, eyes, mouth, shirt and pants. Once the user is satisfied, they can click the hot air balloon basket to enter the Poptropica world.
Poptropica offers users’ the option of signing up for a paid membership. The paid account is given access to unlimited costumes and gold cards as well as early access to new islands when they are added. The subscription costs around $4 for one month, around $11 for three months and around $20 for six months. Users can also by credits which are used in the Poptropica store. These cost around $5 for 500. The user can purchase credits in increments of 500.
Children can really enjoy Poptropica.com. The game is cartoony, but seems to cater to slightly older plays. Pre-teens and younger teenagers can also enjoy Poptropica as well as children. The membership options are also very affordable.