Okay so I admit it, I’m many years late for the whole “playing Viva Piñata” bus trip, but that doesn’t mean I can’t buy it used and play it for $15, darn it! I finally, for the first time, am dating someone who owns an Xbox 360 (I think it’s overpriced) so now that boyfriend (swoon!) is around I’m catching up on pinata good times. Joy! That includes Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise, which I just started, but this review is all about the classic Viva Piñata.
This game is apparently based on some kid’s show that I’ve never seen, which explains the very annoying song that opens the game. That aside, for a sandbox game, Viva Piñata is actually quite hard. The pinata are downright evil to one another at times and then, on top of that, there are malevolent little creatures that come in and break, kill, and vomit up trash on things. WTF?! This isn’t a kid’s game! I mean, you have to feed animals to one another, they’re constantly hunting/killing each other for fun and to mate, plus as soon as you get even a little successful people show up in droves to ruin it just because they don’t want you to be happy. What kind of message is that?!
This is actually one of the most frustrating games I’ve played since Pikmin. You can work your fingers to the bone getting some adorable little creature to move into your garden, only to have some ugly lump show up and kill it in front of you while you stand there helpless. Weep! The only way to keep it from happening repeatedly is to get two of the lumps to move in, then the killing will stop, but probably not the fighting. When the loser is declared the pinata gets sick and if you don’t heal if fast enough the devil (or whatever) shows up and crushes the life out of the sick pinata. Why?!
All that aside, once you get your bearings the game is actually fun because it’s so challenging and in the end I really loved it. My major complaint is that there’s no real way to permanently evict unsavory pinatas and the garden is really not nearly as big as it looks. Like you can have one tree at a time. Really. It’s stupid. There’s all this room and the garden is always almost totally “full” even though, from the outside, it looks like a ratty mess.
In the end: yes for lovers of cute who like a challenge, no for children! Seriously, when my first pinata got attacked and boyfriend told me they had to eat each other I was like, “Dear lord, it’s 1,000 times worse than Pokemon!” (Y’know, catching animals and forcing them to fight each other.)
PS: I highly recommend the PinataIsland.info Wiki!