Poptropica

Website review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
Poptropica Website Poster Image
Island-hopping journey is hours of fun, but full of ads.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 47 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 259 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Problem-solving and reading skills. Solving puzzles can help with critical-thinking skills and reinforce working toward goals. Kids choose responses and which island difficulty level they want to try. Collecting, spending credits can help kids practice addition, subtraction, money management. Characters provide instruction through scripted conversations; having them actually speak out loud would be a great addition to help younger kids follow along. Some only have one comment to share, and it isn't always very helpful. More informative clues would mean less guesswork for kids.

Positive Messages

Kids help characters in distress; lessons in empathy, as well as teamwork and problem-solving skills.

Violence & Scariness

Kids encounter bad guys during missions, but they're mischievous, not dangerous. Some islands feature creepy critters, like snakes.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Ads for things like new theatrical movies are embedded in the virtual world, and though they're labeled "advertisement," they look very similar to the rest of the background scenery. Some posters lead to video ads. Users are encouraged to upgrade from free play to a paid membership, which gives access to costumes or cards providing special abilities or items. These items can also be earned by playing various mini-games. Paid memberships range from $3.99 for a month to $19.99 for six.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Poptropica is a virtual world designed for kids. Kids can friend other users, and users don't have to approve friend requests to interact with others, but gamers should know that playing alone is also plenty of fun. Though players encounter situations of mild mayhem (such as snakes and escaped criminals) with worried or upset characters, they never find anything truly scary or dangerous -- characters never fight, get hurt, or die. While players can play games and unlock items or abilities during free play, there's frequent pushes by the game to upgrade an account to a paid membership, which ranges from $3.99 a month to $19.99 for six months. Players will also be subjected to ads in poster form that look similar to the background content of the world, some of which launch video ads for external content, like theatrical movies. Users interested in finding out more about the site's privacy policy should check here.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byMr Wesley May 11, 2010

Probably best for kids between 8-12.

My kids discovered this site a few months back. I made a quick check to make certain there were obvious spam attacks or inappropriate content, and I found none,... Continue reading
Adult Written bySnakeRiverMom March 6, 2011

good for older kids, keep younger ones away!

the islands are too difficult, period. I am an adult and often find myself calming my kids down because they are very upset that they can not move forward in a... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 18, 2011

Great for kids all ages

This is really good. Poptropica was great for me when I was growing up about at 8 or so... Thats because I never heard of it untill then. Poptropica is very fun... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byJosieGrl April 1, 2011

Good site

Fun! There are islands for every skill ability. However, some parts of islands are very frustrating even for me! So, basically, it's great! But, just make... Continue reading

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 get an avatar, board a blimp, and 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. Players climb, jump, and collect objects to complete missions, which they discover by talking to the locals. 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. 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, frequently pushing 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 launching a movie trailer as you're exploring an environment and trying to solve a puzzle. But ad issues aside, Poptropica is a fun virtual world for young kids, and will 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?

Website details

For kids who love online games

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