Review by Squall954
"Finally, A Game Both Kids and Adults Can Enjoy"
When I first saw the video for this game, I was a little skeptical, but I looked further into it and decided to go ahead and buy it on release day. Now, after a few hours with the game, I can honestly say that I do not regret my purchase one bit. This has to be one of the only games that can be found fun by both kids and adults, while staying on the less offensive side (no blood, cursing, etc.)
The first thing most people would notice in Viva Pinata is how beautiful the overall game is. The fresh, vibrant colors emanating from every object entice the player and eye, and it definitely helps the player immerse themselves in a fun, fictional world. Rare has never ceased to amaze me with the sharp looking graphics of their games, and Viva Pinata is no exception. Also, considering that everything is naturally multi-colored, the colors are even more vibrant and effective. With graphics as sharp as these, I was expecting some framerate issues, but the only framerate issues I've seen so far come whenever it shows a little cutscene, and even then the framerate problems are so minor that it doesn't even bother you that much. The way that time passes isn't anything revolutionary, but the way that the shadows change as time passes certainly is; they blend right in and make the world seem natural. The weather effects are also nicely detailed, and it actually looks very pleasant.
Nothing amazing or jaw-dropping here. The controls are simple and kept very basic, even when you use the Advanced control scheme. It takes a few minutes of messing around with the menus and controls to get the hang of what everything does, but once you've got it down, it's very easy to play and the actions are performed very fluidly.
To sum it all up, it's The Sims combined with pinatas, and the combination works brilliantly. When you first begin playing, it starts off at a somewhat slow pace. Then, once you get the hang of everything, you're thrown into a deep game that could make you feel somewhat overwhelmed. The controls, while simple, can be used for a wide variety of things. Once everything gets put in motion, your first few days go by very, very fast. You'll be so busy looking after plants, making pinatas mate, and welcoming new visitors, that the hours just fly by.
The way that pinatas are brought to your garden can be either very straightforward, or very difficult. Each pinata has its own requirements for staying in your garden, and some of them can be tricky to perform. And even then, once they're in your garden, you have to make accomodations for them in order ot get them to do more advanced things (behave themselves, mate, etc.) The Sours don't make things any better. When these critters come around, you'd better bash them with a shovel or try and win them over to your side before they do too much damge. All in all, what looks like a simple game can get very detailed and overwhelming.
FUN FACTOR 10/10
Once you've got everything under control and are efficiently managing your garden, the time just flies by. Everything you do can, and usually will, have a side-effect on the world around you, which can make the game incredibly detailed and fun at points. It's amazing how such a simple concept could be this much fun. No matter what your age is, you'll probably like this game. It's a shoo-in to be a sleeper hit. Even if you don't like strategy or sim-based games (I sure don't), you might find yourself wanting to rent this game and check it out for yourself.
Viva Pinata is a rare gem; a game that doesn't come by very often. It's a shame that it isn't as well known as other games, because it surpasses them in a lot of ways. The graphics are superb, the gameplay is kept simple, yet fun, and the learning curve isn't steep at all. No matter what your age is, you'll find something to love in the bright and vibrant world of Viva Pinata
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/12/06
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