Poptropica – A Free Flash Game That’s Fun For The Whole Family

Reading Time: 5 minutes

poptropica1poptropica1Back in the day, I had three choices for playing electronic games: our brand-spankin’ new Atari 2600, my hand-held Mattel Football game, or the arcade at the mall. The kids these days just don’t know how good they have it: XBox, Playstation, Wii, PSP, DS, PC, online, download, kid-focused MMORPGs. The possibilities are nearly limitless. So when my daughter came home saying she really, really, really wanted to play an online game called Poptropica, I had to check it out for myself.

Poptropica is a free Flash-based game designed for kids ages 6 to 15. Created by the Family Education Network, Poptropica is a world that consists of many islands, each with their own set of problems and mysteries to solve. For example, on the Super Power island, you have to help recapture six criminals that have acquired super powers from a falling meteorite. As you travel across each island you must complete a number of tasks and challenges, each building upon the other.

While you are free to roam around the 2-D environment, some parts of each island are locked until you can accomplish certain goals. Thus, you can expect to make multiple trips into the game to “complete an island” and earn the coveted gold medallion. Fortunately, the game comes with a save feature. You will need to create a username and password to store your game. I recommend you write your info down on paper as well as there is not a password recovery feature.

The challenges on each island are very much age appropriate. Some are very simple and in the vein of classic adventure games since time immemorial, “I’ll tell you a secret, if you bring me the magic pig”. As you complete a task, you acquire achievements in the form of playing cards. Some cards can be enabled, such as the Jet Pack card, which lets you fly like a certain famous Mandalorian. For younger kids, be prepared to offer a little assistance as other tasks are a bit more complex, such as the secret decoder ring on Spy Island. And if your kid is stumped and you have run out of ideas yourself, you can always find walk-throughs on the internet.

Master spy toolsMaster spy tools

As with many free online games, there are some advertisements in the game. The majority of them are embedded within appropriate locations. For example, I saw an ad for a new kid’s movie near a movie theater in the game. Some ads only appear for certain age groups, so don’t be surprised if your experience is different from someone else’s. It is important to note that the ads in no way affect how you obtain a gold medallion on an island.

There are currently eight islands in Poptropica: Early Poptropica, Shark Tooth Island, Time Tangled Island, Carrot Island, Super Power Island, Spy Island, Nabooti Island, Big Nate Island. The login page lists a 9th island set to arrive in 2009, Astro-Knights. There are bunch of previews and screenshots for the new island on the Poptropica blog.

All-in-all, this is a great site where geeklets can be introduced to online gaming. There are limited chat opportunities (no free chat at all). The games and challenges are simple yet extensive enough to keep them engaged and striving to help all of the citizens of Poptropica be rid of their island woes.


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Wired: Nicely done graphics and animation, great concept & variety of play.

Tired: May be too easy for older geeklets (11 and up).

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