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Archive for April 2008:

Jelly and Zombie cybunnies

Bunnies! Eeeee :D

Okay, I'll be sensible now. Though I do have a particular fondness for all things bunny I don't actually find the basic cybunny that attractive- either pre- or post- customisation (it changed very little, in fact). Not that it is awful, it simply isn't quite right, and I think my problem is mainly with the hind legs. Anyway, moving on from that and onto the new colours.

When I read the news, I had to look at the image url of the cybunny that wasn't obviously zombie to find out exactly what it was. As I had thought it might be, it was Jelly, but a very odd looking sort of jelly- closer to blancmange than to jelly (though there is some crossover here as you can have milk jelly, which is jelly made with milk and not water. The result is, as you might expect, opaque and not translucent). Either way, the artist has failed to make the pet translucent enough to resemble normal jelly, though it has the usual shiny finish and coloured lines. Perhaps this was deliberate, but if it was, then the news release could have made some reference to it. The colour is rather pretty and probably quite suited to the cybunny.

Zombie is fairly standard at first glance, but in comparison with the other zombie pets it doesn't do very well- the clothing is squashed in and hard to see because the ruff takes up a large amount of the body space. The ears could be tattered or otherwise given a more interesting texture, but they are very plain, and the only other "extra" you get are some teeth showing and a downturned expression. It isn't terrible, certainly, but it's not the greatest example of a zombie pet, either.

While I'm at it, I'd like to note that we're approaching the first anniversary of the launch of customisation. Though it was not welcomed by all, and brought along with it the NC Mall and the long term temporary closure of the pound for maintenance, we have seen some positive things happen too: when the pound comes back on Monday we will be able to transfer pets safely between accounts- with a limit on how often it can be done (presumably to prevent pet selling becoming epidemic), but this is better than not being able to safely transfer at all. We've also had the Return of Dr Sloth plot which had been cancelled and the subsequent return of purple to its original state without orange. I'm hoping for another year on Neopets with yet more positive changes to come.

Gold and Strawberry Kougras

I'm going to quote the News page because it amused me: "A Gold or Strawberry Kougra can be yours after a visit to the Rainbow Pool! Well, first you need a Kougra. Then you need the paintbrush. Then it's yours." Indeed.

Gold, again, is very shiny. On this one they've succumbed to the Curse of the Colored Outline, although it's dark enough it doesn't look terrible. And the eyes look alive and not statue-like - also good. However, there's one oddity that stands out enough that it may ruin the entire pet for me - I'll point it out so it can ruin it for you too! The back left leg, the one where only a tiny bit sticks out, is the exact same shade as the adjacent stripe, and it's also the same width. If you don't notice the toe sticking out on the other side it's easy to get confused and think there's just some weird tumor or something attached to the front leg. The problem is mainly the color being the same - it looks a little odd anyway, as you can see by looking at the rest of the kougras, but at least it's easier to figure out what's going on. The ones that escape are the ones that don't have stripes, like starry or spotted.

Strawberry is strawberry. I seem to remember that there was a gap of a couple years with few, if any, new strawberry pets, so it's nice to see a neglected color get some attention - but then again, this reminds me why it was neglected. The kougra is only the 14th strawberry pet.

It gets points for seed placement: there are neither too many nor too few, and they actually follow the curve of the body. The decision not to put any seeds on the stomach is reasonable, but that combined with the lighter shade makes me think of strawberry that's been cut open - probably not what they were going for. I like the eyes a lot; that lighter green contrasts enough without clashing, unlike the green they've used for the stripes. That shade, though, is just par for the course with strawberry, and is the reason I dislike the color. The best strawberry pets use it sparingly, or even use a darker shade (the gelert is a nice example). The worst put it everywhere without any regard to making the pet look like, you know, a real strawberry (I'm looking at you, koi). The kougra's artist decided to use the green for the stripes, thus maximizing the amount of clash. Sigh.

Thoughts? Discuss the kougras on the forums.

Pirate and Rainbow Lutaris

If we ignore the ugliness of the new lutari, these are both very nice colors. And they need it - pink and island were the only others. I suppose the rarity of the pet means fewer people care, but giving them so few colors seems like shooting themselves in the foot if they're trying to get people to subscribe to this phone service for them.

Pirate's expression is good - a slightly villainous grin and narrowed eyes. The artist has brilliantly used the standard lutari spots to form a skull on the tail. It's also got the standard earring, a nifty headband, a fun raggedy shirt/vest combination, and silly-looking pants (but you could take those off). The clenched fist actually makes sense with this color, too. Overall, quite good, probably even worth the price of the brush, if you're lucky enough to have a lutari.

In a rare departure, rainbow has colored spots breaking up the typical solid bands, and it looks great. The sequence of colors follows the actual rainbow, which is nice, though it's not always bad when it doesn't. The decision to make the colors on the belly so light keeps it from being overwhelmingly bright, like a lot of rainbow pets, and gives it a nice balanced feel. There's a little bit of oddness on the face, though. I can't quite figure out what those orange bits are doing there - they're much higher than the orange stripe, and the positioning makes the nose look triangular or something, when I think it's meant to be flat. Still, a very nice treatment of rainbow and another good possibility for your hypothetical lutari.

Discuss them on the forum, here.

Grey Hissi, and Gold and Robot Krawks

Sometimes in the Neopian calendar you get a clump of pet days all together. In this case, one of them was Grey Day, but they still released a grey pet (despite the almost total pointlessness of the color). Hence I find myself a little behind. Lutaris will have their own post, and then in a couple days it'll be time for kougras.

The grey hissi, as I said, seems a bit pointless. You don't get the wonderful angst-filled poses anymore. Still, the artist did what they could, and if you want a slightly sadder-looking pet than a normal color would give you, the hissi might fill your need. The eyes do look appropriately haunted and the mouth manages to look slightly upset, which is not trivial with a snake.

Discuss the grey hissi (and see the image, since it's off the front page already)here.

The gold krawk is very, very shiny. If you're the type of person who'd want a gold pet, though, you probably like shiny already. Go for it. And, to be fair, it's better than the gold pets who aren't shiny at all, or who have inexplicably white hair/manes/tails. The krawk's hair and stomach are still yellow. It also still looks alive - something that bothers me about a few of the gold pets is the way they look like statues, like they've been touched my King Midas. I think it has to do with the whites of the eyes.

The robot krawk is a thing of beauty. Even if you hate the new krawks, you will probably like this. The teeth are fantastic, in a jaw looking like it was specially built for chomping - blocky and utilitarian, and vicious. The hair has become some sort of nifty futuristic spiky stuff. The casing, particularly the stomach, looks vaguely military and thoroughly lethal. And the color scheme is lovely - the teal and the gold go very well together. I'm not entirely sure about the eye. I think maybe a gold or yellow, or maybe red, would have worked better, but really the green isn't bad. This is definitely the best of the three colors here, completely appropriate to its rarity - and a robot krawk will be especially rare, because very few are going to risk zapping a krawk. A shame.

Discuss the krawks here.

Ice and Zombie Shoyrus

These are apparently so uninspiring that not only has nobody bothered to review them yet, the forum thread only has one reply. Ah well, let's give it a try anyway.

The zombie shoyru brings no emotion whatsoever to the role - perhaps appropriate for a zombie, but who'd want a pet like that? It's undead. There's not much more to say. It follows the same scheme as the previous zombie pets without any of their endearing little quirks. There's nothing wrong with it, really, except that there are perhaps a few too many spots, but there's nothing good either. Maybe the problem is that shoyrus already look a bit zombielike anyway...

Ice would be better described as cyan. It's neither transparent nor crystalline, it's just recolored. Well, there are lines that seem to be going for the blocky look, but the outline doesn't change and I'm not convinced. The wings are oddly dark - maybe they're translucent and this is another display problem - but it's hard to be sure.

What is up with shoyrus anyway? How are they the most popular pet? I've never really understood that. I mean, kacheeks are at least disgustingly cute, but shoyrus are bland.

Comments? Rants? Anything other than complete apathy? Discussion thread is here.