A party where the fun gets "frozen"
I'll admit that I haven't seen Frozen, nor was particularly interested in it. But I do know that prior to the Frozen Party, there was definitely a lot of hype for it. Though I had really doubted that a Frozen Party would fit suitably in Club Penguin's context, considering how the characters would develop into the game. Like Screenhog said, "Club Penguin. Having a frozen takeover. What would change, exactly? :)" I expected the Frozen Party to make an impact. But really, it fell short, being quite "frozen" in any further interest after the first day of logging in to the party.
There was a definite lack of originality and the characters included were one-dimensional. One thing important about originality is that it's the crux of what makes a Club Penguin party great. If it's not so original, how can you enjoy it when you can grow tired of a party having a "routine format"? The routine format I noticed in this party, that was reused in previous parties of this year, is that there was a simplistic quest to earn items, a message from a key character of the party when you first log in, items to collect, and the ability to transform. The problem with this is that this format was expected by the target audience. Why not bring a new spin to the format, and effectively base it around the party's context? For example, instead of getting a standard message from a key character of the party when you first log in as if you were talking to a robot, how about finding a message in a bottle?
The lack of originality did influence a negative effect to most of the aspects of the party. I found the characters lacking essential depth, and I felt they were really one-dimensional, or secondary to the party. Elsa and Anna can be attributed as one-dimensional in the party, and, in particular, Elsa's performance was "robotic". Like Chillin43 mentioned in his review, Elsa's performance "...had pointless buildup and horrible payoff. While Elsa's background is really nice, her performance is really not. Apparently, in the sequel to Frozen, we will find out that Elsa has also let go of the shame she had for interpretative dance. The wordless event, with no need of a timer, was built up as a performance at every turn........but it is not one at all." So really to conclude, the characters, especially Elsa and Anna would have had a lot to offer, and it was their time to shine as guests to Club Penguin, but we simply couldn't connect with them because they were really secondary to the party. Another lucid and interesting point that Chillin43 makes is as follows: "Once Elsa, Anna, and Olaf got here (apparently the other boys had to stay home), things didn't get a lot more interesting. You only hear from them twice: Elsa talks to you when you visit her palace and one of them talks to you when you first log in (they are all on screen and one of them is talking to you.....who is anyone's guess). Their brief little interviews and such in the newspaper were also pretty boring. Why not use these loved characters for something actually worthy?" To me, characters are really important in a Club Penguin party. I want to be able to relate to them. Don't you just like video games and films where you can sympathize with the characters? As Screenhog once said, "The best games don't just provide distraction. They make memories." It would've been amazing if the characters could appeal to you that they invoked a feeling, or a memorable moment, or even something that you'd relate to in your own life. That, is what I would find interesting to see in a Club Penguin party. Unfortunately the Frozen Party had a far miss for that.
Because of the unoriginality, this affected the storyline with the absence of characterization. A simple set of newspaper interviews with the Frozen characters should have not been included. Instead, there should have been some sort of event, some sort of story, one with a flair to make us get involved, reported in the Club Penguin Times. One other thing to consider, as Chillin43 points out, is as follows: "The storyline for this party is just as you would assume: vague and uninspired. Instead of using the classic Cadence story of, 'Hey, I know some famous people from a nondescript other island who would totally LOVE this party!' which has been used four times before, the team felt that they should mix it up a bit and instead used the brand new Aunt Arctic story of, 'Hey, I know some famous people from a nondescript other island who would totally LOVE this party!' This is such a cop out and not interesting at all, especially when this plot was used just last month." See how the unoriginality caused disinterest? We'd need a more interesting spin on not only the characters, but also the storyline. Chillin43 also goes on to argue that, "Herbert's inclusion was also useless. He was mentioned at the beginning of the party as the person making things warmer, but the reference didn't go anywhere and just ran....cold." I definitely agree, believing that the absence of Herbert left for minimal effective complexity for the party's storyline and engagement. I think it would've been really interesting if Herbert interacted with the Frozen characters. That would've left the EPF to open up to investigation and engage with the party!
The Snowflake Quest was arguably uninspired too. Mario Rk wrote that, "The Snowflake Quest, in my opinion wasn't really that interesting. All the snowflakes were pretty easy to spot and find. It was also the return of scavenger hunts since... 2012? There are like 3 snowflakes in each decorated room and they are really easy to spot. Once you collect them all you can get ready for a TON of rewards. Overall, this Scavenger Hunt is short and can be completed in less than 5 minutes." While it's nice that getting the snowflakes is quick to do, it isn't very appealing. No characters involved, no effect to the plot, no importance of you as a character.
Another point to consider is the setting of Club Penguin as Arendelle during the party. Was this necessary? I think that Club Penguin shouldn't simply change into Arendelle, because Club Penguin is Club Penguin. Why turn it into something unoriginal? This is the problem with takeovers. They dramatically change the island in typically a way with weird or little reasoning to do so. I found the setting of rapidly changing cold and hot weather as a weak deliberate coincidence. Though I give credit where credit is due, and I say that the Frozen Party has some spectacular decorations for the "Frozen" side of the rooms. But the normal side of the rooms does not look much like Club Penguin at all. The rooms however, did feel static and "frozen" when it shouldn't have been (e.g. the water was not flowing at the Beach), and its contexts were not related to anything which would create interest to the roleplay in the room, as it was directly aimed at a Frozen fan-base. Also, some rooms were discarded from decoration, and the exterior of some rooms (e.g. the Pizza Parlor), did not translate with the interior. Why decorate the exterior but not the interior? With that said, there was little to engage in or explore from the decorated rooms. They were designed well, but it's the functionality, flow, and interaction with the player which is of real importance when designing a room. Like Chillin43 suggests, "Why not have an entire Arendelle mansion instead of one room cramming as much in as possible? Why not have a party room with a more faithful and detailed representation of the rock mounds? Why not give the trading post an entire room instead of just a little section of the Forest? Why not have a journey to Elsa's ice palace, where we could jump over the same cliff that Kristoff and Anna did? Why not have an entrance room in the Ice Palace instead of a singular room?" Also to consider, even adding an interactive feature like the ability to lock a door in a room where penguins could not enter would do many things for a good roleplay and replay value to the party. Simple features like this proved effective, such as in the Halloween Party 2013, where doors could be opened and closed in Trick or Treating at the Snow Forts. Similarly, in the Holiday Party 2013, a train driver could stop and board people on the train, which made train driving at the party a popular amusement.
Towerofyikk covered an insightful point in his review. He wrote that, "The 'melt with hearts' thing is kind of [a] cliché and only members can freeze rooms so it becomes a non-member vs member fight to either freeze or thaw the room. In fact I thought the rooms were supposed to gradually freeze over the course of the party? ... Lastly the snowman puffle is really not unique at all. It digs up the same prehistoric stuff as dinosaur puffles. Neat I guess? I thought it would dig up snow themed items but we have to much snow stuff so it digs up what other special puffles already do. Which don't even have to do with snow or anything cold. The Olaf [puffle] ... has a psychopath smile and you can see his mouth if his back is facing toward the screen. What the heck?" I definitely second this. There are a few points I'd like to elaborate too. Like I said in the title of my review, the party is quite "frozen". In that, I mean motionless, static, and choppy. When you warm/freeze a room, it happens instantly. There is no nice effect in a gradual effort. Also, the transformations are quite meaningless. You can't personalize any of the transformations (e.g. with clothing), so what's the point of them? The transformations should be made to engage, and I don't see how we can get much engagement with little actions that can be done with the transformations. Riyita shared a similar perspective, saying that "You can transform into Olaf and Marshmallow, and adopt a Snowman Puffle, but those things only really provide you with a few minutes worth of content at the most".
What I did like about the party is in particular the well decorated and Frozen themed furniture items. And I really enjoyed that a substantial set of them were available to non-members. This was the light of the party's eventual residue. The items from the Penguin Style catalog based on Frozen to me, was a mixed bag, with me disappointed at the disproportionate wigs and the eyelashes items. Nonetheless, I'd consider the rest of the clothing items a real treat for potential outfits. The party items itself were really good too, having a nice detailed and vibrant style that could enhance an outfit you'd wear in Club Penguin. I never thought the Rustic Hat would look good on me!
However, I didn't like the music so much. It was to an acceptable standard, but it wasn't fantastical in that it would inspire action. The important thing about instrumental music used in a game is that they should reflect on a mood of the setting, or the character, in a musically appreciative tone. This is what is missing, and I feel it's missing when the music has little buildup. I would suggest having that feel that it can sustain a chorus and transition to a verse in the instrumental soundtrack that Club Penguin uses for parties, even if no lyrics are sung. The music for the Frozen Party is just "there". Ideally it would be intertwined with other aspects of the party, character and setting, for example.
Finally, let's talk replay value, an essential feature required in an acclaimed Club Penguin party. Enb 11's review covers this point discerningly. He writes that, "...where this party sins more, is content. You go, get the igloo, get the snowflakes (which are really easy to find), get the items, messes around a little bit with the transformations, and then BAM, there's nothing more to do. Sometime later you come back to get Elsa's items but then BAM, nothing again. And we all know that ALL parties of 2014 have sinned in this aspect. Seriously, what takes to the Team to make parties like Operation Blackout (it was the most logged on party of CP) more often? Parties that have content to keep you coming back for more, even if there isn't anything to do? The parties that we got this year only CONVINCED you to come back to get some items and then one second after you got the item you close the tab as there is nothing else to really do..." I second this. One thing in particular that adds to the replay value, is storyline and originality, which this party undesirably lacked. You can't really enjoy a party which you know the storyline of. Club Penguin's target audience (us) would like a bit of mystery. When we get to figure out things, connect the dots from hints, where we'd be left guessing, that's what essentially made Operation: Blackout an interesting party, and could have been applied to parties like the Frozen Party.
To conclude, I think that the Frozen Party was a missed opportunity. I wished it would have a powerfully interesting storyline, and carefully developed characterization, more places to see and roleplay in. Originality is the real importance in all of these aspects. In saying this, I'm not saying that takeovers should be discarded completely, especially those based on critically acclaimed works, as these can be effective sometimes. But it's how they are merged into Club Penguin that determines a party's attraction of interest. Overall, I give the party a 4.0 out of 10.
Now it's time for your say! What would you rate the Frozen Party? Feel free to post your opinions on the party in the comments. :)