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  • Comments Off on Game Review: Viva Piñata

Game Review: Viva Piñata

3 pinatas While I’m on the topic of games, there are a few others worth mentioning. Most are XBox 360 games. We joined the XBox 360 club in September, mostly at Kathie’s insistence. Well, when she’s right, she’s very right. Despite a few annoyances (it crashes once every week or two, but it’s a Microsoft product, so that’s fine, and the optical drive and fans are really loud), it’s got some pretty incredible features and games. We rarely touch the Wii or PS3 any more.

One of the first games I played was Viva Piñata, a pretty old game. The overly cutesy box cover make me skeptical, but I tried it anyway. The beginning tutorial was even more cutesy, and seemed geared towards third graders. Sticking with it for a little while though, I got completely sucked into the game! The artistic creativity is just fantastic, and the game was executed very well. The premise is unique — build a garden, attract wild piñata to it, and breed them — er, sorry, “romance” them — to create more piñata, which are desperately needed by Piñata Central for the ever increasing number of parties going on. Don’t worry, when you send your piñata to a party, it gets fixed back up, and sent back happier than ever!

I stuck with the game most of the way to the end, missing out on attracting just a few of the higher-level piñata. I think what appealed to me was the sense of logic and order to the game. Want to attract a Mousemallow? Look it up in the encyclopedia to learn that they are attracted to turnips, and plant a turnip seed in the garden. Want a Horstachio to reside? Then you’ll need 500 pinometers of grass in the garden, and 8 apples for it to eat (from an apple tree of course!). The requirements can get rather tricky as the game progresses, and of course there are the bad guys (sour piñata that poison your residents), and a band of evil-doers that break your piñata open, killing them (but revealing lots of candy which your other — apparently cannibal — residents come rushing over to eat. The game has a good pace, adding new complexities as you become a more accomplished gardener.

If you need to have lots of action and shoot-outs, this isn’t the game for you. If you are OK with a slow-paced, semi-puzzle game controlling a mini-universe full of bizarre creatures, give it a try! There’s even a huge fan web site called Piñata Island, with all the information about each piñata, plant, item, seed, etc. Good for all ages.

Oh yeah, apparently it’s also a kids TV show, though I’ve never seen it…


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