“Club Penguin Island” pales in comparison to its predecessor that has sut down no less than one week ago. First and foremost, it looks like it was designed by a child with a 3D engine, and very little understanding of how camera perspectives should work. Instead of following the user around with the camera attached to the back or side of the avatar, it switches between them while also rotating strangely around it.
The controls are clunky, awkward and frustrating. Instead of the point and click mechanic from the original “Club Penguin,” “Club Penguin Island” utilizes an on-screen track pad for motion, and a series of smaller buttons for actions, but doesn’t allow the user to flip the screen sideways and play more comfortably.
Where “Club Penguin Island” fails the most, though, is the complete removal of several integral feature to the gameplay of “Club Penguin.” There’s no pizza shop. There’s a clothes area, but no clothes store. The user can’t become a secret agent or a tour guide. Users can’t play mini-games or dance in the nightclub. And there’s no iceburg to try and tip, either. Disney took everything that was fun about “Club Penguin,” and tossed it aside like yesterday’s garbage.
Where “Club Penguin Island” does succeed, however, is being as annoying as humanly possible. Users can level up in the game by playing missions, where they have to wander around from one end to the other of the island, through two loading screens (that crash the game more often then not), only to receive coins, experience points and clothing patterns they then have to pay to wear.
On top of this feature, the game has a hard time loading for more than a minute and a half at a time. Get used to seeing the smirking little face of a penguin tour guide saying the game session has been disconnected from the server, because it happens a lot. One second, the penguin avatar is crossing from the boardwalk to the beach, and the next the game has crashed and reverted to the login screen, conveniently forgetting all the progress that’s just been made (though this may be due to school wifi).
And, to boot, a membership is required to make 90 percent of the game’s functions, well, functional. Membership is $4.99 a month, and doesn’t come with puffles or igloos, just the ability to play the game.
“Club Penguin Island” is a flop, a fail and a sad replacement for the original.
All joking aside, even though the game crashes often, and is based around terrible mechanics and mission-based leveling that’s only somewhat accessible based on the user’s status as paying or non-paying, little kids are going to love it. It’s definitely not for the older kids who grew up with the original, but it’s perfect for wee gamers who are just getting their feet wet. The game uses controls that are more familiar to a touch screen generation than they are to anyone else, especially those who probably grew up with what amounted to fancy joysticks, and a million buttons. It’s friendly, the chat is safe and encourages niceties over Call of Duty style screaming, and it’s a lot of fun. That is, of course, if players can even get it to load.