Our first satisfactory party of the year! Can you believe it? :D After months of me grading parties as Not satisfactory, we finally have a party with a Decent grade! The Puffle Party 2015 was successful on part of Club Penguin working with our feedback in consideration.
This time around, the storyline actually made more sense after Club Penguin treated thoughtful development to it. It involved a subplot of the mystery of Sasquatch. We knew almost nothing about what Sasquatch was doing hanging around Club Penguin up until now. But now we got to learn more about the character as a result of this party. The fact that we still don't know that much about Sasquatch leaves layers of the character to still be unpeeled, and reels us in to see the character develop further.
While Sasquatch's importance in the plot was well received, PH didn't have much memorable characterization. It was expected for her to be part of the storyline in the Puffle Party, but she did not bring any insight to the table, instead being more of a reporter telling you the facts.
It was also pleasing to see that the storyline openly showed its effects on the island. We actually saw the damage done to the Puffle Lodge a week after the Puffle Lodge's revamp. This is reminiscent of the slower paced and developed storylines from the PSA/EPF eras, an ideal method for storytelling in Club Penguin.
The gameplay had a quest style again, however, this was a step closer to better quests. Why? The challenge was set a bit higher because it was possible to get the wrong items. Like Chill57181 put it, "It made me want to try every item!" And like Riyita said in his review, "What really makes this fun is that you can only hold ONE thing at a time".
While it was unfortunate that there wasn't an explanation for how Rockhopper got back to the island, there was another issue I had with the quest, the dialogue by characters were in a visual novel style, which looked out of place for Club Penguin's MMO. Why not have in-game sprites of the characters like in Operation: Hot Sauce, or even better, cutscenes that make more sense with the plot? It doesn't make sense for PH to be talking to you in the Quest when she's not physically near you in-game. That just cuts the realism apart. How is she communicating? EPF Spy Phone? Clarity is important here.
It was also quite confusing for the fishing rod part of the quest. When you catch a fish, there's no animation for the fishing rod catching the fish which unfortunately reduces the immersion of the quest. Did I mention that you can't use your own personal fishing rod item as an alternative?
While enticing the Wild Puffles by using their favorite berries was interesting, the Wild Puffles, just like the Blue Crystal Puffles, may seem distinctive in promotional pictures, but the reality is that the only difference is how they look. The original Puffles had their own personalities and the Wild Puffles don't really differentiate or show much new traits or abilities.
However, Sasquatch's friendship with the Wild Puffles contributed a small amount of depth to the personality of the Wild Puffles. As Chillin43 said in his review, "By not doing any gimmicky, brand new puffle tricks, Club Penguin allowed the audience to appreciate the existence of the creatures - instead of detest it."
Right now, the Wild Puffles don't seem like they're Elite Puffle worthy. But who knows if Club Penguin will start revealing their potential?
A majority of the party's decorations were reused from last year. While it does make the island more vibrant and ornamental of Puffles, the decorations don't seem to serve much of a purpose. Part of the reason is because there's little interactive features in the rooms or anything to entice you to do something and roleplay.
However, The Wilds were well received. It doesn't have anything too decorative but that's because it's meant to represent the wilds, however, it would have been nice if some of the rooms from the wilderness players encountered in Operation: Puffle could be visited.
The Wilds has potential to be a great roleplay area, however extra features may need to be added to enhance that. Like Enb 11 pointed out, it's "...rare to see imaginative players nowadays". In the first week of the party, I saw two lovers hanging out at the campfire and penguins dressed up in wild costumes. However when I checked in for the second week of the party, there was not much socialization going on at all. Therefore, it's a good idea to add something to maintain the social and roleplay value of The Wilds. Maybe time will tell whether it will become a pookie hotspot in the future.
Sasquatch is actually not the easiest to understand, and that's what makes him a brilliant character to meet. We are getting a step closer to understanding him. His dialogue when you meet him on Club Penguin has went from his grumbles and grunts in 2014 to basic English in 2015.
Player feedback helped direct the CP Team to identify emotes players would be familiar with
The Rabbit Puffle and Cat Puffle emotes were a good move because they're reminiscent of emojis, enabling them to be more recognizable, and also enabling players to be more expressive.
The Puffle Guides pin was well received during the party because it had a thin lining and didn't stand out too much, thus not offending the player's intelligence.
The Mystery Attic has clues on Sasquatch and of other island mysteries, effectively adding to the value to revisit the room every now and then. I also found out it had a Box Portal that I didn't quite see the first time!
While PH did not see much character development, she did have some moments like Happyblue128 said in his review:
- PH, the Puffle Handler, returned to us for a two-week frenzy and had tons of stories to tell us. She was able to tell us from everything to her discovery of the Rainbow Puffle Cloud to her discovery of the wilderness – she even told us how one of her puffles sat in her backpack and ate all her Puffle O’s when she was exploring into the wilderness for the first time. The storyline here was amazing. PH also had a brand new background, something mascot’s use to have every time they appeared on the island, however, in recent times, mascots have had the same old background – good for you for starting the trend again PH!
Unfortunately this party did not bring back the transformation feature where we could transform into Puffles. As consequence, the Puffle Party does not really feel like its purpose - to celebrate Puffles. As well, this detriments the roleplay value at rooms like the Lighthouse (turned into a Hospital for the party).
The music at the party was not very tasteful. While the Water Party music, the music playing at the Plaza, and the music playing at the Attic was good, everything else seemed random.
Catalogs & Items
The Puffle Guide Uniform was one of the favorite party items from the party.
The Furniture & Igloo Catalog was a hit! It was a pleasure to know that the Puffle Tree House igloo was available in a range of color schemes, something that should be available for most igloos. Also, there were a lot of good new Puffle Wild theme furniture releases, all fitting in with the party and some with an impressive amount of arrow key changes.
The Penguin Style catalog came with an assortment of old and new styles, in fact, a huge assortment. However there wasn't anything really trending or standing out of the crowd that I saw penguins wearing from the new catalog.
Overall, the Puffle Party 2015 is a 5.9 out of 10. The keystone that led to this grade was the effective storyline and character development of Sasquatch, the impressive new releases to the Furniture & Igloo Catalog, and even the little updates that we appreciate (e.g. emoji based emotes, smaller pins and so on).
What was essential to lift this grade up was to strengthen the Gameplay features, the social aspects of the party, and most importantly, add in Puffle transformations to help players fulfill the party's purpose.
08:13, 10 April 2015 (UTC)