Improbable Island


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FunnyManImprobable IslandNote: You must be 18 to play Improbable Island, hence the rating-r content rating. The actual content is much more tame. It's almost pure text, and the vast majority of it safe for all ages. Still, it's probably best if you lock the kids out of the room while you play.

What is Improbable Island? It's a game in which, over the course of a single game day, you can pet some kittens, visit a kissing booth, smoke a cigarette, eat steak, be killed by Stonehenge, fight in ten cage matches to earn favor, pay your way off the Failboat with that favor, fail to be eaten by a grue, kill your past self, defeat the Undefeatable Monster, buy a chainsaw, visit an abandoned factory, die again, pay your way off the Failboat again, drink from a stream and become more charming, defeat your master in honorable combat, search five laboratories so that you can have tea with Horatio Entwhistle, win the game, and be reincarnated as a zombie so you can start it all over again. And that's a fairly ordinary way to end your first trip.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Improbable Island is a browser-based multiplayer RPG, consisting almost entirely of text. Almost all of it quite funny. Like most of the online RPG genre, you have a limited amount of stuff that you can do per game day. Unlike the standard "turns", Improbable Island gives you "stamina", which is somewhat more flexible. It starts at 100% and will immediately be adjusted up and down by various factors. Once you get started, you can increase your stamina by eating food, provided you're still hungry. There are also a number of things which will randomly adjust your stamina up or down. Further, unlike turns, stamina is not a hard-and-fast limit to the number of actions you can do. At 60%, you start to get tired, progressively becoming weaker in combat. At 20%, you're so exhausted that you can pass out and be sent to the Failboat instantly.

Oooh, new day. Hang on, I'll be right back.

Improbable IslandOkay, where was I? Ah, right, new days. There's one every four hours, for a total of six per day. Whenever one passes, your stamina and health refill, you get hungry again, and your bank account gains interest. It's okay to miss a few, though, because any turn you miss completely becomes a Chronosphere, which can be activated later to get a new day instantly. You can only carry two (unless you donate or refer people), and you start with two of them, so you should be able to play for a while before you need to wait at all.

As with any RPG, the standard loop is simple. Kill stuff to get experience and money. Trade experience for levels and money for equipment, both of which make you stronger. Go back out and kill bigger stuff to get more experience and money, and so on. When you reach level 15, you'll be able to do what you came to: kill the Improbability Drive. Wander around to each of the game's eight cities, searching its jungle's lab for the drive, until you find it. Kill the drive, and the game's over.

Well, sort of. Actually, it's not really over at all, it's just beginning. After you kill the drive, you are reincarnated as an L1 character again, but you've unlocked a little more stuff to play with, including two new races. Each time you kill the drive, you'll unlock more stuff, and it takes at least 12 Drive Kills or DKs to unlock all of it. Probably more.

Analysis: Improbable Island is a blast. It's jam-packed with references for everything from "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" to "Sesame Street" to its own insanity. Even if you don't find it outright funny, you will still get a smile from the sheer craziness of it all. This is Improbable Island, where running into forgotten food from your refrigerator is a fairly mundane battle.

Improbable IslandThe donation system is about what you'd expect: pay for donator points, then use the points to buy currency, extra game days, or random perks like changing the color of your name. It's easy for that kind of system to get out of hand and become unfair, but II seems to have balanced it about right. As a donor, I may get to play more, but since requisition resets every time I kill the drive, cigs are expensive, and there's no real way for me to harm other players anyway, it all works out in the end.

For those of you who may be feeling a bit stingy about paying for a web game (and face it, we've all been there), worry not! Due to circumstances beyond the author's control, Improbable Island is going non-profit for a few months. PayPal donations will be routed through internet-famous people to deserving charities (who, sadly, don't have a PayPal account to donate directly to). So far, Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics has agreed to ferry donations to Doctors Without Borders. So go ahead and donate; it's for a good cause!

Improbable Island is downright addictive. The biggest problem with it is that you can get lost in leveling your character and forget to read the descriptions. Combat is solid, if a bit excessively random, and the DK-unlocked content will keep new stuff coming for days if not weeks. Whether you want to play casually or prefer a harder challenge, II has you covered: after each DK, you get to choose the difficulty rank for the next one. And if you choose too high, never fear, because the Failboat will let you reduce your rank any time you die.

Actually, I've changed my mind. The biggest problem with Improbable Island is that it will suck your time away. I've been playing it for a week and a half straight, and gotten almost nothing done. I'm pretty sure I've dreamed about this game once or twice. But I'm not addicted, honestly! I can stop at any time! Just let me play one more turn, honest, I just need to see if anyone's applied to The Casual Followers of Jay, and then I'll stop!

C'mon, buddy, you know you want to try it. First three turns are on me.

Play Improbable Island

21 Comments

If I'm not mistaken, this was (when I last played it) a total conversion of Legend of the Green Dragon, and a pretty good one at that. I remember seeing that they had gone through a reboot, but I had since stopped playing. I'm definitely interested in seeing what's changed there lately.

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For those travelers who don't find the necessary 10000 requisition to buy a world map, I have compiled one myself.

Enjoy!

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The review of this game makes it seem very similar to Kingdom of Loathing. Has anyone played both and if so how to they compare?

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My brain says, "No, don't play the game, it's supposed to be inappropriate."

However, my heart says, "To pickles with being a responsible teenager! LET'S PLAY!!"

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I last played this game sometime last year, and it's definitely different. I made a new account, and got started again, and I'm liking it. Already played four game days, and I'm at level 3(leveling conservatively so that I can have the best equipment for my level, a strategy which worked well the last time I played, from what I remember).

Compared to kingdom of loathing, it seems to be more based on "random" humor than actual pop-culture references, though there are some of those(I distinctly remember fighting Paris Hilton(or someone indistinguishable from her), as well as Dexter(the fictional serial killer), and there were likely others I've forgotten). I haven't found it to be as funny as kingdom of loathing so far, and I don't believe that the pop culture references are as well done, though improbable island does seem to have more by way of plot.

@Azrael H: The content that I've found so far, and from what I remember from before, isn't too bad, though I can see why it's marked for 18+. If you're a fairly mature teen, I'm sure you'd be fine. It's definitely not for kids, but I know plenty of teens who are more mature than many adults, so if the content doesn't make you uncomfortable then I'd say go for it. After all, this is the internet - if you don't tell, who will know? ;)

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Ugh.. I didn't enjoy this game.

There were quite a few terms that you NEED to understand, and reading paragraph after paragraph of explanation didn't help. And once you DID get started, applying the terms to your gameplay was confusing because you had read so much it all sort of blended together. Now, I do LOVE games using a high amount of text, but it was all VERY excessive. The plot of the game is interesting and original, though, and WOULD have been very enjoyable.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the work put into the game, but it just didn't work for me.

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IMHO, it's better than KoL. It's got much funnier writing, and in general is more fun.

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I still don't understand... what gives this game a Red rating? Could someone please explain? I wanna know.

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CavemanJoe December 31, 2009 6:52 PM

@Andrew:

Two words.

Budget Horse.

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It's not a bad game, but am I the only person who got over the "random" humour thing 10 years ago?

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I used to play Improbable Island and it's quite a decent game. If you're expecting something like Kingdom of Loathing then you'll be disappointed since it's not that extensive. On the other hand, you can complete a "run through" in just a few hours.

There is one major reason I quit though (and won't start again). The author/admin of the game (Caveman Joe) is very hard on the censoring. It became appareant when there was some dissatisfaction with some game changes and people noted that CJ was reading their private messages and also deleting them if they contained things he didn't like (things that weren't in offensive language or personal attacks, just complaint between two players about how some of the changes.

It is of course just my two cents but I'm staying away from games that are censoring the player-to-player communications (and banning people who mention it to others on the game forums).

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OMG! I smoked one ciggarett in the game and now I get nicotine withdrawl EVERY DAY! How do I get rid of it! It's so annoying to have to waste stamina on low level monsters in the jungle while I burn off my withdrawl.

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CavemanJoe January 3, 2010 2:39 PM

Hey Urian - I remember the posts/players you're talking about. How could I forget - I've only ever had to ban three players (not counting spambots) out of thousands, which I think is pretty good! :)

I'm pretty sure you're talking about Rhiannon and Sherpa. The reasons why I ended up having to ban them both are pretty sensitive, and I don't really want to air them in a public setting - but if you have concerns about censorship or privacy, I can clear this up over E-mail (cavemanjoe@gmail.com).

Thanks,

-CMJ

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Whew, I've been hooked on this game for a while. Any chance my JIG clan application could get approved now that I've completed my first drive kill?

Great game, by the way.

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Wow, I came into this game not knowing what to expect, but this is really a great text based game!
I especially like the battles where you can target specific parts of the enemy and the humour that is present in about every sentence.
I just want to know how to fix this problem, I'll spoilerise it just in case:

every time it's a new day, it says I'm looking healthy, but it also says I'm dying of malnutrition, I feed myself every day(about one or two bangers and mashes and a few garden salads) but I never get any fuller, am I just doing something wrong?

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Power of the post, it turns out there were more expensive and filling foods then I thought there were, I ate a few of those and now I'm no longer starving like I was before.

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Rachel Q. August 11, 2010 12:23 AM

I played KoL for over a year and I've been on II for a couple of days, and so far they're similar in the level of seriousness and in the sheer randomness of game elements. It just depends on whether you like having graphics (lame graphics, but still graphics) or walls of text. KoL's funniness stems mostly from the way things are named (puns, puns, and more puns) but personally I find II more amusing. Can't really say why, but I do.

Try both. It'll boil down to which one you'd rather look at for hours on end, because both will eat your life. Just saying. ;)

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I've played both KoL and LoGD, but I have to say I think II's the best out of the lot. It's the longest I've ever stayed at one of these, and IMHO it's probably because of the community. Gameplay aside- and the gameplay is certainly well worth time there- the roleplay community is hilarious and amazing. There is so much going on and with Dwellings existing now, scope has widened considerably. There's always something going on, and the people are fabulous and zany and wicked. And very, very clever writers.

Go for the game, stay for the people. Basically.

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hmm II lets see, perfectly fine until they ban you under a rule that doesn't exist.

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it was an interesting game until I got banned and accused of "sneaking" apparently I am somebody else.

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crashlanding Author Profile Page January 16, 2013 10:53 PM

I think I'm in love with the robot from the museum movie. SUCH LOVELY WRITING OMJEBUS.

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