Saturday, July 16, 2016

My Thoughts on the New Poptropica Map

Welcome to Poptropica Secrets! Today I will be discussing the new map. This map was released in the past few months, and I'm going to tell you what I think of it.

To begin, I believe that this is the worst map shape so far. Ever since the map changed format in 2010, they have consistently gotten wider and shorter, eventually reaching the point that we are at now.

Now the map is over twice as wide as it is tall, at around 950x425. It would be a lot better if it were sized ~7x4 as it was before, adjusting the bars on the top and bottom. The hint bar on the bottom is quite unnecessary, due to the hint bar already present below the play screen. The bar on the top features four unnecessary features, which are as follows: The Poptropica logo, settings, Home Island, and the store. The Poptropica Logo is already above the play screen. The settings page is available by landing on any SUI island. Home Island is on the first page of the map. The store is available by entering the building on Home Island or by clicking the icon in the menu crate on any island. There is no reason whatsoever why it couldn't have an aspect ratio of 7x4.

Another thing that I dislike about this map is that clicking on an island will show an information page, regardless of anything that you have done on the selected island. The settings menu should have an option to disable this, or the information page should be disabled once you finish the island unless specified otherwise (could be enabled in the settings menu).
But I do have a few positive things to say about the information page; it has a "Restart Island" button, which is no longer accessible from SUI Islands. The Difficulty bar is helpful for newer players and players who have not attempted to complete many of the islands. A brief description of the island is available on the right. And as of late, there are no other places in-game to see the islands' official logos, as far as I am aware.

The colored island views are really interesting and fresh, but they are not consistent with the colored icons shown in various other places such as the homepage and merchandise.
Skullduggery Island as seen from the Poptropica Blimp box art. Notice the green hillside and lightly-colored pier.
Skullduggery Island as seen from the map, which lacks green and has a darker-colored pier.
(The Blimp toy I used to take a screenshot of for the image above is available here.)

One really weird thing I noticed is the placement of Poptropica Realms on the map. It is located on the fourth slide (out of seven) when it most likely should have been placed on the first slide in one of the corners. I understand that Realms is also available in the menu crate, but it would be more convenient if it were on the first page of the map. 

The very last slide concerns me a small bit. As you can see in the image below, there are six islands; four are on the top row, and two are on the bottom row.  This makes it look goofily uneven. As you can see, there is an island in the bottom-left and the bottom-middle, but not the bottom-right, making this slide look lopsided. This is a problem, but I have some simple solutions. Poptropica would move Nabooti Island to the bottom row so there can be three islands in each row. The team could place Big Nate Island directly under Steamworks Island and Great Pumpkin Island directly under Twisted Thicket Island as to make it somewhat symmetrical. Poptropica Realms could be moved from slide four to slide seven and be placed to the right of Great Pumpkin Island; this would leave six islands on slide four (three in each row, which is what is recommended) and 7 islands on all of the other slides. Since there are forty-eight islands, each slide could have eight islands on each slide, resulting in six slides of eight islands each. But in all honesty, it's not a big deal to me and I would be okay with nothing changing.
The seventh slide.
In conclusion, this map is okay. While this is currently my least favorite variation of the map, it could have certainly been worse. It has a few slight problems with it, but most are simple fixes. The only one I'm really concerned about is the aspect ratio. It's nice to see a change in the map. It only happens every 2-4 years and I can't wait to see what changes are introduced the next time a new map format is released. Goodbye!

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