Adventure, mystery, challenges, and hilarious characters with bulging bubble eyes abound in Poptropica Adventures for the Nintendo DS. Though we were not familiar with the online world of Poptropica, I knew we had to try this game after seeing the cover art and watching the ‘trailer’ – so cute and funny!
When the game starts up, you are first prompted to customize your playing avatar. You can change their hair and skin color, their expression, and their clothes. Then, you pick a name from the preloaded combinations to begin. Only one game can run at a time so multiple players cannot individually save their games. There are only two options – continue an adventure or start over.
Your friend, the Poptropica museum curator, is having a dilemma. The museum is totally rundown and he needs your help to find new artifacts to display, restoring the museum to its former glory. Visit the three Poptropica islands (Mythology Island, Super Power Island, and Astro Knights Island) to engage with Poptropicans. Completing small tasks and playing mini-games will unlock artifacts and outfits. You can also copy the costumes of other characters by walking up to them and pressing the ‘y’ button.
I love the theming on each island. Though there are only 5-6 mini-game types, the different characters and setting keep it fresh. The controls work very well on the DS. Using the direction pad is easy and the button functions are basic enough to remember and use. I actually preferred using the circle pad on our 3DS since it lessened the thumb fatigue of playing. The stylus is only used to customize your avatar. Music is upbeat, graphics are clear and bright, and comments from the characters are witty. This game is designed to be played offline with no interaction with other real-life players. It gives me peace of mind to know my daughter won’t accidentally be chatting with some creepy person on the other end.
The downside of the game is that it can be beaten fairly quickly. With only three islands, playing all the way through only takes about 2-3 hours. I would have like to see the option to download other islands or unlock more later on. The online version has this but it doesn’t have the same appeal of casual gaming that the DS game has. I’m not sure of the relation but it was a bit distracting with all the “Diary of the Wimpy Kid” advertising.
Overall, I think children ages 7 and up will enjoy this. My daughter and I loved Poptropica Adventures and are anxiously awaiting a sequel!