Poptropica: Forgotten Islands

Common Sense Media says

Virtual world lacks aspects of website, but still good fun.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

It may take a while for kids to get the hang of how to move through this app to achieve the mini-missions, and some trial and error is necessary before younger players will get the hang of how to move their character around the virtual world. The very minimal instructions and character interaction require reading. Kids used to playing on the Poptropica website may need time to adapt to the differences between the site and the app.

Violence & scariness

No violent content, although some kids may find some of the character's responses to their character a bit harsh (for example, tribesmen saying, "Get lost!") 

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The developer's logo appears as the full screen before the app's main screen appears. No in-app purchases, no advertising.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

The privacy policy is listed in full on the app. Tap on the lock on the main screen and it appears, as well as an option to disable data collection. The developer states it only collects personally identifiable information when users voluntarily provide it to access features such as newsletters, chat rooms, forums, or to use the online store. That information may include an email address, date of birth, demographic information, and more. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Poptropica: Forgotten Islands is a virtual world quest game for kids, especially kids who are fans of the popular Poptropica website. It does not connect to accounts players may have on the Poptropica website. As kids fly a blimp across an ocean, they land on island environments and go on quests, "discovering the secrets of Poptropica's past, one artifact at a time." The quests essentially ask kids to search and find sets of items. Once they complete the quest, they earn points to buy accessories. Unlike the Poptropica website, kids cannot interact with other kids; the actions of the 80 characters that kids see on the app are determined by the app, not other players. Also, unlike the website, there are no memberships to buy. Once the app is paid for, all content (an estimated 10 hours) is available. There are no verbal instructions. Some reading is required.

What kids can learn

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • strategy
  • part-whole relationships
  • problem solving

Self-Direction

  • achieving goals
  • work to achieve goals

Emotional Development

  • persevering

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Highly visually engaging quests exist in a colorful virtual world populated with islands, 80 characters, and a bright blimp that players use to travel from island to island. Kids are also engaged by creating their own character and choosing his or her name, physical characteristics, and clothes.

Learning Approach

Kids use some problem-solving skills to achieve the goal of completing the quests, but the app doesn't offer a deep learning experience.

Support

Reading (or being read it) is required to know what the characters are saying, what the clues are while moving through the virtual world, and to complete the quests. Other than coins earned point total and visuals that identify how much of the quest is completed, kids aren't given much feedback. No verbal instructions or feedback at all. 

What kids can learn

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • strategy
  • part-whole relationships
  • problem solving

Self-Direction

  • achieving goals
  • work to achieve goals

Emotional Development

  • persevering

Kids can learn problem solving, reading for clues, and strategy on Poptropica: Forgotten Islands. At first, kids may need to practice trial-and-error (and patience) to discern how to move about the virtual world, as well as to find and collect what they're looking for on the quest. This fun app may not help kids learn subject-specific facts, but it can help them grow in persevering through multiple steps to achieve goals. With up to 10 hours of gameplay, there are lots of opportunities here for light learning mixed with the colorful, interesting quests. Verbal instructions and more feedback could improve this app's ease of play and learning potential.

This Learning Rating review was written by Dana Villamagna

What's it about?

Choose a boy or girl for your character on POPTROPICA: FORGOTTEN ISLANDS and customize. Begin to read what characters say in the cartoon bubbles. Move a finger forward and hold to start your character exploring the environment. Tap characters with scrolls to find out quest info. Tap to put items you find on the quest into your backpack. Continue meeting characters who give clues or create obstacles, pick up needed items, visit other islands, and earn coins to spend on accessories.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The graphics, characters, and other visual elements that make up this virtual world are highly engaging and just a lot of fun for kids to imagine being there on quests. It's important that kids can read or have the characters' dialogue read to them. Multiple users can store profiles to save progress. Parents who don't want to be asked to make in-app purchases will especially appreciate that the $4.99 purchase price is all that's required.

If kids like the aspects of the website that aren't available on the app, such as interacting with friends, Poptropica: Forgotten Islands could be missing some important elements. But if they enjoy the general gameplay, this app will not disappoint. 

Families can talk about...

  • If your kid plays on the Poptropica website and the app, talk with your kid and compare and contrast the differences between the two experiences. What does your kid like or dislike about each? 

  • Even though Poptropica: Forgotten Islands doesn't include interaction with other players, since play is very similar to other virtual worlds that do, this may be a good opportunity to discuss safety for online interaction. Especially if playing on this app causes your kid to want to play on the companion website that does include interaction, read Common Sense Media's Online Worlds for Young Kids Tips for talking points. 

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:$4.99
Release date:January 6, 2014
Category:Education
Topics:Adventures
Size:118.00 MB
Publisher:Ubisoft
Version:1.5.0
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later

This review of Poptropica: Forgotten Islands was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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