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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
In POPTROPICA, each island has a theme with an overarching quest. Kids can choose which islands they visit by clicking on a map, and will get clues from characters they encounter. To clear the hazards in each area, they'll need to jump up, around, or through barriers in jungle, historical, and other settings to obtain items and information. They're also asked to solve puzzles, such as reorganizing pieces of a picture; if they complete an entire island quest, they'll receive a medallion. Players can also challenge other players to a battle of skills.
Is it any good?
If you're looking for a fun island hopping adventure across a number of locales in a virtual world, this site has lots to offer -- as long as you bypass the constant movie promotions, paid membership plugs, and other types of advertising that are thrown your way. In Poptropica, players' avatar boards a blimp to explore new lands as they travel through this well-designed world from the creators of FunBrain. Islands such as Shark Tooth, Monster Carnival, and Mythology hold a mix of adventure -- and various themes, ranging from traveling back in time to finding out a young inventor is missing from a school science fair. During missions, players climb, jump, and collect objects, which they discover they need to find by talking to the locals -- such as searching for a key to a submarine so they'll be able to photograph sea creatures in an underwater mission. Along the way, they can also stop at destinations like the site's store to pick up gear.
Poptropica is completely appropriate for kids, but its missions are challenging enough to keep older tweens entertained, too. Exploring the islands takes hours, and the site develops new islands frequently (though only players with paid memberships get early access to them). Younger kids might find completing some missions difficult without some help, since they sometimes require fast reflexes or completing steps in a specific order; where to go and what do to when you enter a world can also be a bit unclear. Parents will appreciate the educational tidbits woven into the adventure -- for example, players encounter famous historical figures and learn about ancient civilizations on Time Tangled Island. Poptropica also gets points for cleverness: The original settlers of Early Poptropica Island are rendered in 1980s-style 16-bit animation. The biggest issue for the site comes with its heavy promotion of ads. Poptropica constantly pushes its paid memberships to players, which range from $3.99 a month to $19.99 for six months, frequently urging users to pay for items and upgrades, as well as access to new islands. Worse, it ties in ads for other products, but makes them look like they belong as part of the world; it's distracting to stumble into a movie trailer you accidentally launched as you were exploring an environment and trying to solve a puzzle. But ad issues aside, Poptropica is a fun virtual world for young kids -- and with more than a dozen worlds, it should keep them island hopping for hours.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what a good amount of time is for playing online games, and draw up some guidelines for balanced use. When should you give yourself a break from this virtual world to enjoy the real world away from a screen?
Why do you think sites blend advertising on websites to sometimes look like content? How hard is it to determine what's a piece of content and what promotes a product or services?
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, reading
Math: addition, money, subtraction
Social Studies: exploration
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: investigation, problem solving, solving puzzles, strategy, thinking critically
Self-Direction: achieving goals, work to achieve goals
- Genre: Virtual Worlds
- Pricing structure: Paid, Free
For kids who love online games
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.