Welcome to Blue Reviews – a topic in which I speculate and talk about the different parties that visit Club Penguin every month. Each of my reviews is separated into different sections where I review the parties’: Storyline, Visuals, Content and Music. At the end, I round off the review with The Verdict. This concludes my thoughts on the party with comments on the party, as a whole. Afterwards, I rate the party with a score out of 10. Feel free to let me know what you think of the monthly party in the comments section. I hope you will enjoy my review of this month’s party:
Music Jam ’16
Finally, it’s here! The Music Jam, which you have all been waiting for, has hit the island – but has it lived up to our expectations?
2016 has been a bad year – overall – for Club Penguin. It is just evident, that within each party, the effort has been lacklustre and the content has been underdelivered. Although this is a necessary sacrifice in order to compensate time for Project: Super Secret, many penguins have not been happy with this year’s turnout. However, it has been over 2 years – as of today – since a Music Jam has been thrown on Club Penguin. The community has been requesting it for months and the team have listened to us. Now that it has arrived, we are all hoping that it can redeem some fun and happiness before the end of 2016 approaches us. Let’s dig into my review of the Music Jam and find out whether the team have been tone-deaf, a little off key or pitch perfect!
This year, the Music Jam has a little twist on it. Whereas before; this party was a purely a festival celebration, this year, a quest system has been added! And (thank Merry Walrus) it is not a scavenger hunt. To be honest with you, it is not a difficult quest at all. Basically, Cadence invites you to go on a “Star Search”. In other words, Cadence informs you where the Club Penguin celebrities hang out so that you could collect their autograph and meet them! I know, I know – where’s the story? I guess, this is kind of it. I’m not really disappointed at all since the storyline in previous Music Jams has never been touched on that much but the pre-party construction did highlight the continuity and hype. Furthermore, the Club Penguin Times didn’t seem to tell us a lot. By some players’ surprise, the Music Jam arrived this month and only some of the community knew about it. Then again, the Club Penguin Times has never been the same since they altered the schedule and began production on their new game.
Even though the story is not particularly strong, I do appreciate how different it is compared to its ancestors. Plus, it beats the overly-common scavenger hunts that have been thoughtlessly chucked into previous parties this year. Because it’s a bit different, that always helps and it shows that the team are trying to spice some things up because they are aware of how boring each party has been. I think, especially, the younger audience of the game would enjoy this feature. It also brings back the Penguin Band and Cadence in a bigger way than ever before which surprised both the older players and newer players. After two long years, they are back!
The main issue with the storyline is: how did it get there? I would have liked to have seen some foreshadowing in the Club Penguin Times to preempt excitement because that does make a difference. Or maybe even a new song would add some context to it, like with the previous Music Jams. However, we all highly doubted this so the ambiguity continues to spread.
At this year’s Music Jam, the visuals are actually quite…interesting. Normally, I don’t have a lot to say about this category except “they have used the same rooms” and “they look good”. But because this party has been gone for two years, it is worth commenting on the look of each room. I can tell that the team have tried to put a twist on as many rooms as possible – which impresses me! Let’s see how well they did.
First of all, let’s start with the Town. It definitely looks familiar; it was used at the SoundStudio party over a year ago: the forgotten “spin-off”. However, Club Penguin have integrated a little change. The plasma screen, on the Coffee Shop, actually changes to feature all members of the Penguin Band. When I saw this, I thought that it was a great little tweak. It definitely promotes the band more than it did at the SoundStudio party.
Moving on, the Snow Fort is a mash-up which ends up creating a whole new room transformation. The base theme of the room originates from the SoundStudio Party but the team have edited a few textures and have added the puffle stage which has been used at the new Fair. I think that this was creative of them to do but (I have to admit) it is not the best looking room at the party. Due to the collage of decorations, the stage looks out of proportion and its angle, in correspondence to everything else in the room, is incorrect. It doesn’t look awful but it looks a bit rushed and could be improved. Moreover, the door to the ‘Backstage’ is unidentical to the door from the inside of ‘Backstage’. Obviously, this room was brought back by popular demand (it is old and nostalgic) so the decorations were unlikely to match with the new ones, in retrospect. Nevertheless, it is good to receive new rooms even if it means reusing some old decorations.
Next, I want to talk about the Beach. Wow, am I surprised. As soon as I saw this room, a smile was forced onto my face. I think this is one of the very few times when Club Penguin have mixed classic art with new art. If you are a true Music Jam fan, you may remember the ‘Orca Straw’ (it’s a great pun). It is a stage that was originally located at the Ski Village in the older Music Jams. This time, however, it has made an unexpected debut at the Beach and it contrasts with the updated style of the room. I have seen some penguins debating over this but, personally, I am pleased about this move. Although it may seem unprofessional, I think it shows a lot of creativity. Plus, the return of the Orca Straw is big news for me so it was worth the risk. In my opinion, it doesn’t even look that bad. The team have even brought back mini interactions such as toggling the lights on and off. These small details mean the biggest thing to a lot of players so great move Club Penguin! Even the ability to surf in a chat room as been brought back if you approach the buoy in the bottom right corner of the room.
The last big thing I want to talk about is the lighting. The Music Jam ’14 introduced us to a “day and night” cycle which turned out to be pretty cool at the Cruise Ship and on the island, as a whole. This time, however, there are some issues with that. First of all, the cycle is still existent on the Cruise Ship. However, the island has not been granted this feature which makes it feel a bit pointless. Perhaps the team were more dedicated to returning nostalgic rooms, so updating them with a day and night cycle would have been time-consuming. But every time you waddle onto that Cruise Ship, it doesn’t feel that special anymore and it may confuse players.
On the other hand, I am intrigued by the lighting in each sector of the island. At this party, it seems to be night time – only – within rooms that have party decorations in. Other rooms, such as the Iceberg, the Mine, the Cove and Ski Hill have little alterations to indicate towards this. I am not aware if this has been a technique used in the past but I find it quite cool. The close you get to the party, the darker it gets. Some of the alterations are not that noticeable but, when you see them, you may be intrigued too!
Before I abandon this topic, I also want to talk about some other noteworthy rooms. The limo, from the Hollywood Party, has returned which is always good news! It remains stationary at the Plaza but as soon as you enter it, you appear to be driving. The auditions room, from the Ultimate Jam, has also returned at the Mall. This room remains one of my favourite Music Jam rooms because of how creative it looks. Thankfully, the Casa Fiesta has returned (I’ve always loved that room) and the Dance Club Rooftop is back in action! When you go up there, it does look a bit empty but I am so happy for its return.
It would have been ever nicer if more rooms were decorated across the island. Despite the minor lighting changes, the Ski Village, the Ski Hill and the Cove have nothing in them which is a shame. On the other hand, the range of rooms added to this party have impressed me when I compare its efforts to previous parties this year.
Now, how would you define content at this party? Is it the wide range of rooms that offer a variety of experiences? Or is it the quest system? For me, I think this party offers some decent content for its players, especially members. I have already talked about the interesting visuals of the party; they do offer that bit more creativity. The return of the Cruise Ship is also a big boost. It was the main feature of the Music Jam ’14 but it is now one of the many features available at this party. That’s right. We have a party that is better than a 2014 party. Consider that as an achievement!
The stage at the Snow Forts is not just as bland as it was at the Fair. In fact, the Penguin Band and Cadence offer a wider range of performances than the usual song “Anchors Aweigh”. If you look at the party log, you will see the set list and it features 9 performances – which is actually quite a lot. It is great to listen to the older songs which we have not heard in a while. The only problem I have with this feature is the sprites. Petey K, for starters, no longer plays the accordion and it is pretty obvious that every song does not feature it at all. Secondly, the actions are not quite in sync with the song. For example, they start waving goodbye around 5-10 seconds later than the end of the song. Though this isn’t anything major, it’s worth picking up upon.
The Casa Fiesta is back but there is this really annoying bug which prevents us from hearing any musical instruments. I have issued this problem to the team so they may or may not fix it. It just beats the object of even having the Casa Fiesta if it is unable to function properly. It’s a shame because I like this room very much. It is similar to the engine room of the Cruise Ship. There is a very similar function that – luckily – works so I advise you to check it out for some creative music-making.
The Music Jam log I mentioned earlier looks quite cool! Surprisingly, new items have been offered at this party. Members can collect a new VIP pass. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the function to let you access the Backstage but, in some ways, this is good for non-members since everyone can now check out the legendary Backstage room. For every celebrity you meet, you will receive an autograph (in the form of a pin) and a clothing item. Non-members can collect the pins and members can obtain some new threads on certain days. Over time, more and more celebrities start to appear and you will even get to see some dialogue. Club Penguin have also given members the chance to obtain some of the old Music Jam merch for free which ruins the exclusiveness of the items. However, I don’t believe that’s a bad thing at all. Oddly, Klutzy and the “Keeper of the Boiler Room” are strange celebrities which you can meet. Since when was Klutzy into music?
Nevertheless, this Music Jam offers a lot more than the one in 2014 which is impressive, at this stage. It would have been even better if there was some more depth with the “star search”. Other than that, the content is not bad at all and that surprises me, in a good way.
Since this party is centred around the idea of music, this section has to be a good one. Fortunately, it is. Well, at least that’s what I think. Due to the diversity of this year’s Music Jam, it is only natural that the music selection is also diverse. Around the island, you may hear strangely familiar songs but some great gems too. The Orca Straw music is a calm and relaxing piece which is ideal for that room. Next door to that, you have the bouncy hit “Rock the Boat” from the Music Jam ’14. I have always adored that song.
Overall, the music for each room is appropriate and a great selection. I would have loved to have heard the classic hits such as Go West, Generic Way, Penguin Band Boogie and Epic Win but these can be heard through Dance Contest only. The Music Jam is a party about music so go ahead and make your own! It is an ideal party to share all of your SoundStudio mixes with your peers. Thankfully, the music does not disappoint at this party. Even the songs by Cadence and the Penguin Band are great ones to catch up on if you have the time.
The Music Jam ’14 is a party that has exceeded my expectations. Back when I first heard about the return of this party, I had so many doubts about it like most parties we have had this year. The Music Jam is one of Club Penguin’s core parties which should never disappoint the community. I am glad to say that this party is even better than the previous Music Jam and I am so thankful of Club Penguin that they returned it before the game ends next year. It is a party that has diversity and this gives it a unique strength. If this party was released a couple of years ago, it would have been disappointing. But what matters now is the effort that went into this, regardless of the fact that this game is not their priority anymore. Club Penguin listened to us and brought back a decent Music Jam. Still, it can be improved a lot more – even some little refinements could have been made to make it so much better. What makes this a success is the fact that this party has kept me online for over an hour. This proves how drawn I am to it and that is shockingly good news for a time like 2016. The Music Jam is on the verge of being pitch perfect with a few dissonances to reduce its quality. However, nothing clashes (not even the old and new combination style), which makes it a good party. Encore!
+ Interesting and Unique Visuals
+ Variety of Content
+ Entertaining and Captivating
+ Appreciative Efforts
– Harming Bugs
– Not Island-Wide
– Ambiguous Storyline
So, that was an impressive review! Except, it only consists of my thoughts only. Perhaps you think differently of the party. Be sure to let me know your thoughts on this year’s Music Jam in the comments section below. I am interested to hear what you all think about it. Thank you for reading.