Welcome to Microsoft's first next generation all ages game. Created by the widely know developer, RARE, this game was designed to appease the masses, young and old. This brings a whole new generation of simulation (Sims) with wide open maps, and limitless play. For a sneak peek behind the fun of Viva Pinata and their daily lives, be sure to check out the Saturday morning cartoon on the Kids network. Every pinata, good and evil, gardens, romancing and sharing your accomplishments online are just the beginning of how extensive this game is.
In Viva Piñata™ is a window to another
world where wild-roaming, living piñata animals inhabit a growing,
changing garden world. Take control of this environment and the piñata
within it, influencing its contents to create your very own pet
Get to know Leafos, as she will be there to answer your questions when needed. She is the first person you meet up with as you start the game. First thing is first as you are put into a garden with some broken up dry dirt, and given a shovel. The small tutorial walks you through how to pad down the dirt and starting planting your grass. In a surprising comparison, those who have created some custom maps in the game FarCry will find similar controls used to create the lay of the land.
As you begin to develop your garden, you will find that you start to attract different piñata species. However, the game requires that you develop your garden properly, not having too many trees, shrubs, fences or buildings that might scare away other pinatas used to fill the "pinata" pyramid of animals and insects.
Spend some time properly developing your garden and you will be rewarded with coins to purchase fencing, seeds and food for all your critters to survive. The game is detailed to the point that you can actually over water or under water your trees, plants and gardens. Don't lose your patience however, as things can get frustrating early on as you develop your new world of candy stuffed animals. As you mate (or as RARE calls it, dance to romance) your piñatas to create more, you will find that other pinata's have paid a visit to your garden and started to eat or kill your population. Everything from proper protection of your veggie garden to making sure your characters have enough food to eat. Not enough food can die off your breed, requiring you to hire a doctor to come revive your ill paper maches.
I found the best way to develop your simulated garden is to spend a good amount of time breeding your species and making sure they have enough to eat. Make sure you have planted trees for sparrows, carrots for your rabbits and fresh dirt for your worms.
If you have the time, which you will, spend it with Willy the Builder. Willy is your one stop shop to building your homes throughout the garden. Running out of money? No problem, start selling off all the extra critters you have bred in order to fill up your bank account. Looking for a pinata that you need or desire? If you have some friends on Xbox Live, you can contact them and see if they have an extra one on hand and they can send it to your garden in a nice little crate. The Xbox Live connection is a fun but limited experience.
While I have only grown a couple gardens, I have been able to see about 30 pinatas out of 60 so far. Sometimes you might miss them as night and day change so quickly, you spend more time putting your critters to sleep in their respective homes than you do running around the map checking out all the piñatas grazing and roaming about.
Graphics & Sound
The screenshots don't hide anything. The graphics in this game are truly next gen cartoon graphics, with some great physics. The swaying grass and trees, the dirt and holes that are dug are all in place where you dug it up or left it. Everything is bright, well detailed, and just plain fun to watch. You can spend countless (endless!) hours in the easy to use menus renaming and customizing your characters, all of which show attention to detail. Even each custom name will appear on the screen as you hover over or choose that particular character.
Be prepared to push your kids aside after buying this game. The younger crowd will find this game a tad to difficult while the adult finds the game a tad too addicting. Not all is perfect however, with a less than satisfactory soundtrack, annoying voiceovers and somewhat difficult controls. While there is a substantial amount of action at all time, one has to thank the RPG auto journal that keeps track of almost every little thing you do. Spend quite a bit of time reading the books available in the menu options. I would highly recommend this game to any family, kids or adults looking for fun without the violence factor seen in 90% of the games released today.