PHB Review: Ghost Story Island 👻

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Boo! Slip here. I am your host for today, your… ghost host!

The witching hour is almost here – so what will we do? Last year, we did an omnibus of Poptropica’s scariest moments. Well, scary islands and characters are good Halloween clichés: why not review one of Poptropica’s best and creepiest islands? How about Ghost Story Island? Sure!

This review contains spoilers, so if you haven’t played the island yet, close your eyes and hum throughout the review! However, since you’re still reading this, let’s go!

Announced back in November 2011 (wow, it’s been five years!), Ghost Story Island was peculiarly released after Halloween, despite its spooky themes. In December, a pre-island quest called Spook Central was released and involved hunting ghosts throughout different Poptropica islands and eventually earning the exclusive Ghost Hunter suit!

Are you ready for the review? Oh yeah, we’ll be omitting the Soundtrack section since this is a non-SUI island. We’ll begin shortly—if you dare. No turning back!

Storyline & Characters

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Hemlock Harbor is a town with a secret. Restless spirits are said to haunt its shores, but no one knows who they are, what they want — or how to get rid of them. Can you hunt the ghosts of Hemlock Harbor and uncover the mystery that will set them free?

This island, I think, has one of the best storylines. Why? First, it tackles on a tricky topic for kids like ghosts, apparitions, and other scary stuff. Just the trailer is creepy enough to make you want to hide under the bed.

 

As we explore Hemlock Harbor a bit more, we discover the secret behind all these apparitions — it’s one big connect-the-dots game and it’s up to us to weave the story together. Then comes the boldness of the storyline: a story of love, betrayal, and forgiveness — a type of story that goes beyond the typical fluff of kids’ tales.

What I really liked the most was the plot twist in the end, so I suggest that you try playing the island again to find out what it is! Kudos to Poptropica for doing such a great job in making the storyline of the island. I like this island so much that I think it’s worth revisiting once in a while.

Here on the PHB, we love Ghost Story so much that this island won the Best Storyline award in the 2015 Poppies. Awesome.

As for the characters, what amazes is that almost every character makes an appearance and no one gets left out of the story. There is great character development between the ghosts and as well as the magistrate, Henry Flatbottom, as key characters in the story.

My favorite character would be the superstitious guy in front of the bakery. I find it fascinating that some people still believe in superstitions in the modern era.

Gameplay

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The island has a serious amount of gameplay, with lots of neat features, some of which are unique and can’t be found on other Poptropica islands!

One feature I really enjoyed were the cutscenes, like the scene inside the inn where the couple scares you. It’s one great tool to make the island better and interactive.

I also liked the mechanism used while maneuvering vehicles within Poptropica, similar to the ones in Wild West and Cryptids. The boat in the gif above is one of the examples of this.

Now for the distinct features of this island! One would be the first-person mazes found in the cemetery. It’s one of the best features of the island and I like how it adds to the eerie atmosphere.

Last but never the least, is the violin mini-game in the island. It’s actually amazing to hear music and sounds in classic Poptropica, and this island has become a good recipient of it. Check out our PHB Special about Fiona’s violin song!

Visuals

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Ghost Story received a decent amount of animation — some of which are seen on the banners above. The best thing that I liked in this island was the fog effect seen throughout the Main Street and the cemetery. I also like the ghost glasses being sold by the vendor on Main Street! Poptropica really put in some cool details on this island!

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Another thing to point out in this island was the numerous rooms—so many that I’ve already lost count. With all those rooms, Poptropica filled each one to the brim with detail. What’s more amazing is that while some of the rooms seem repetitive, they’re actually different, such as inside the prison.

Even the concept art made before the island came into being is amazing! It simply shows that Poptropica really gave their best making this island, because their art quality never disappoints!

Verdict

Judging on a scale from 1 to 10, Ghost Story Island gets a… 9.4/10!

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Ghost Story Island is undoubtedly one of Poptropica’s best islands. Being released almost five years ago, it still stands out among classic Poptropica islands.

I see it as one of the underrated islands because it doesn’t get that much attention, and according to the map, it’s not that popular. If so, I hope this review enlightens and encourages you to play the island and explore it for once! You’d be missing out if you didn’t.

Well, that concludes this review! Hope you enjoyed this gif-filled post as much as I do!

Don’t forget, tomorrow is Halloween, and we’ll be announcing the winners of our 8th Annual Autumnal-Halloween Contest! Watch out for that, everyone! Stay awesome.

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To Fiona, the woman in the window.

Great Scott! Pets have arrived on the Poptropica app!

What’s popping, Poptropicans? Blake here, with some Poptropican news!

First off, happy Back to the Future Day! It was 30 years ago today that Marty McFly, Doc Brown and that other third girl arrived on this very day in the future!

Poptropica even made a graphic to celebrate, featuring a Poptropican-ized Marty (which I’d love to have available as a costume, by the way). A couple of PHB authors also made graphics for the occasion, featuring the DeLorean parked on Night Watch Island. Check them out!

Next, the Creators have announced that the Poptropica app users can now unlock mobile-exclusive pets! For $0.99, you can pick up the Pets Pack which features a cat, dog, and owl (all wearable features, not followers).

Also, the Import Your Desktop Look feature is now here for iOS and Android users, as well as Timmy Failure Island which is available as a free download!

Plus, Poptropica tweeted a random bit of Ghost Story Island trivia: the voice who creepily asks, “Are you looking for someone?” is Creator Dr. Lange, whose Poptropican is seen on Virus Hunter Island!

Well, that’s all for now! Stay popping, Poptropicans! I’ve gotta go back to 1985, or else this old guy who dragged me to a mall is going to die! Wow, that sounds kind of dark when it’s taken out of context…

Disturbing Drafts: The Conceptioning

Greetings Hawk-tropicans! This is Giant Hawk speaking, and I’ve got some spooky news for all of you.

Over the course of the past few days, the Poptropica Creators have been releasing early concept sheets from some of their eeriest islands on their Twitter. So let us journey together, if you dare, into the world of the initial and the uncanny…

Our first concept art is from the early stages of Vampire’s Curse. And as someone who loves the creepy architecture of this island, I must say – this sheet is pretty great! I find it interesting, however, that it is listed as Dracula’s castle…

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Our next piece hails from Ghost Story, and appears to be a preliminary representation of Prisoner 24601’s jail cell. Maybe it’s just the color and shading, but I think this is my favorite of these concept pieces. The eerie message is a nice touch too.

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Next, here is an early sketch from Monster Carnival. Clearly, what we’re seeing here is some original character models for the Monster Duck Hunt Carnie. I do like his current form the best, but seeing these other possible appearances of this creature is fascinating. Which form is your favorite? Comment below with your opinion!

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Now here’s a little something extra for you! Here we have some concept art from Great Pumpkin, which depicts the early days of a few of this island’s mini-games. To be specific, we have ‘Find the Biggest Pumpkin’, which takes up most of this art, and ‘Apple Bobbing’. I do love both of these games, so it does intrigue me to see their humble beginnings.

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On Halloween, the Creators tweeted several sketches from the spooky-themed islands of Vampire’s Curse, Great Pumpkin, Ghost Story, and Monster Carnival respectively.

So there we go! Whether or not the Creators decide to post any more of these (update: they have, and they’ve been added to this post) I must say they are all visual treats. But most importantly, they help us fans peer into the making of these islands and assist us in really beginning to appreciate the work that goes into each one. And for that alone, I sincerely believe that they are worth our viewing time.

Until next time…

– – Giant Hawk

PHB Special: Fiona’s Violin Song

Hey Poptropicans, and welcome to another PHB special.

If you’ve played Ghost Story Island – which recently won the title of Best Storyline in an Island in our Poppies Awards Show – you may recall the hauntingly beautiful tune that was Fiona’s violin song. The music was so moving it even inspired an hour-long challenge of that song in a YouTube video by user Kaydorable1, with thousands of views:

And this was before islands were released with ambient music!

Over on a sheet music website called MuseScore, a user called iwasborninjuly has uploaded sheet music for the popular Poptropica melody, which you can view and listen to at this link.

fiona's songGive this song a try on your musical instrument! Or, if you don’t play one, you can still play this song perfectly on Poptropica by moving the bowstrings of your violin on Ghost Story Island. If you don’t already have it, check out our Ghost Story Island Guide, our written walkthrough with pictures.

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To Fiona, the woman in the window.

Poptropica Portfolio: Chris Goodwin

Nate Greenwall isn’t the only one posting his Poptropica illustrations – I recently stumbled upon the site of Chris Goodwin, an illustrator/designer working for Poptropica, whose online portfolio can be found here. This post comes in three parts. As always, click to enlarge the pics!

Perhaps the most interesting section is character design: designs for E. Vile’s robots from Legendary Swords (as well as some props seen in P-Con: Ep. 2), a huge collection of characters (including several unreleased ones – some possibly for Ep. 3 of PoptropiCon!), unused flying ace designs (the corner suggests they were for the Virus Hunter minigame, Nano-Combat Training), ideas for Max McGullicutty’s look in Survival: Ep. 5, and finally, rough drafts of robots for Game Show Island.

The next section is concept art – ideas for various parts of the game. Here we see color plans for areas inside Joe’s body on Virus Hunter Island, shape ideas for “air creatures” in his lungs, a look at an extravagant (though unused) virus bug, several sketches of dark scenes, racer cars we’ve seen before as a scrapped idea, a Legendary Swords doodle, the Monster Carnival common room, and a sketch from Charlie & the Chocolate Factory Island.

Lastly, there’s a section devoted to scene illustrations – most of these are already in the game, though the one of the cabin is not (but it seems to belong to the unnamed geological park island).

The rest are: the tutorial island in the Poptropica app, Ephraim University (both exterior and interior) from Mocktropica, Soundstage #1 on Back Lot, the Hemlock Herald newspaper room on Ghost Story, a hallway door and post office common room on Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, and the bonus quest on Twisted Thicket. Seeing them each as one big scene makes it all the more awesome.❤

Poptropica sure is beautiful, and Chris has made some really creative contributions to the game we know and love. Enjoy the Chris Goodwin collection, and stay popping, Poptropicans!😀

The 31st is finally here!

Hey, everyone. It’s RD here, and I’d like to start this post by thanking everyone that wished me well😀. I’m getting a lot better. Today’s post is obviously dated on the 31st, and therefore…

Halloween!

That’s right, the long tradition of the Celtic Holiday Sahmain spread down throughout European history until it reached modern day traditions. It’s a shortened version of “All Hallows Eve”; but I’m sure you’re all out of history class by now, so onto Poptropica’s Halloween scares!

The creators gave us a reminder post on how we could choose to celebrate a few Halloween thrills. You can catch three adventures that are put on Poptropica. There are many more costume cards you can also purchase for this. The creators said that they were “going as zombies this year.”

Edit (slantedfish): Check out the Creators’ avatars on their blog! A purple background and green skin – great zombie costumes, guys. I did catch Hades and Master Mime with just their normal ones instead, though. :c Even Thirsty Whale, who never posts anymore, managed to join in.

        

(And now for the Poptropica Halloween festivities…)

First up we’re all familiar with the first Halloween quest: Great Pumpkin Island. It’s, as you all know, based off of the beloved Peanuts comic strip where Linus awaits the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, but does so hopelessly every year. Poor Linus😦

Inside this adventure, you’ll be taken through the world of Peanuts and as we also all know…Snoopy! So head on down to Great Pumpkin Island for a few classic old games with the Peanuts gang. Click here if you need a guide.

Who could forget Ghost Story Island? The thrills and chills of an old New England haunting surely will kindle the spooky thoughts that arises in the player’s daring mind. Will you be brave enough to uncover the mystery of this island and set the wandering apparitions free? Enter if you dare! Click here if you need a guide.

Ghost Story Island

Want to donate blood…to vampires? You got it, just make sure to bring some garlic along with you in case they try to take too much xD. Vampire’s Curse Island is based on the protagonist’s efforts to bravely save a villager captured by the elusive count! And remember to not get hexed by its curse. Click here if you need a guide.

Vampire's Curse Island

Finally, who could forget the very first Halloween adventure that we all embarked upon? Enter an old and abandoned house to find out what spooky atmospheres you must uncover to discover clues. The Haunted House is a destination for a description of such. Eventually everything leads up to an untimely discovery somewhere near the mansion. That is all, since I know everyone despises a spoiler alert.

Although it is technically not an island like the rest, Haunted House remains the first Halloween adventure back in time when Poptropica was still expanding and growing to the virtual realm it inhabits today! Click here if you need a guide.

Poptropica sure has grown over the years, and will continue to. All these islands are completely free, even the Haunted House as it became so some time ago. Members may choose to venture out on an extra quest for some of these islands if they want an extra challenge and extension to the ghostly plot. Have fun at these islands!

Lastly, the creators gave us a reminder we can all purchase a variety of Halloween costumes and abilities in the store. Maybe you want to have a ghost follower as they did come out with many years ago. Or maybe you just wish to see all your neighboring friends turn to bones. Perhaps you have a craving to play an island where you’re chased by the living dead through some abandoned street corner. They got it all😀.

And as the creators put in the final words for this spooky night “Try not to eat too much candy.” No really, try not to xD…unless you’re not afraid of heartburn or strange dreams in which you’re being chased by the Hershey’s Bar you just ate. Been there, done that. Lastly, don’t forget to…

have an amazing Halloween!

Just to get into the spirit, I thought you might all like to enjoy something that Charles Schultz, the author of Peanuts, sketched about the Great Pumpkin:

Boo! Scared Ya!

Well, probably not..

I’ve come with some mood-changing news for non-members! Ghost Story Island is now available for everyone to play! An announcement was posted by Captain Crawfish, who has been announcing most of the news lately, this Thursday. If you’re not so familiar with the island, heres to remind you what you’ve been waiting for.


Hemlock Harbor is a town with a secret. Restless spirits are said to haunt its shores, but no one knows who they are, what they want — or how to get rid of them. Can you hunt the ghosts of Hemlock Harbor and uncover the mystery that will set them free?

Be safe, Poptropicans. Out there could be scary!

Lights please.

Dim the lights; here we go…

Following the release of Ghost Story Island, the members of Poptropica are now faced with a new challenge, with new items, stories, and excitement! Those who are need it can now use the PHB for help, because our Ghost Story Island Info page has just been updated with a written Guide with pictures by Brave Tomato, as well as a Video playlist on our Poptropica Help Videos page.

However, some of the brightest players have already beat the rest to the finish line, and here they are… the first ten finishers of the ghostly island quest have been revealed. Congrats to:

1. Shiny Star
2. Mighty Coyote
3. Golden Lightning
4. Thirsty Sky
5. Grumpy Icicle
6. Shaky Raptor
7. Lone Wolf
8. Fearless Tornado
9. Brave Berry
10. Super Bean

Among the list, we see Grumpy Icicle (Xalevoid) at #5, a PHB reader who has been known for making it to the top ten finishers list for several islands! Congratulations once again to this brave quester and everybody else.🙂