Review by Spinnah
"Childish? Only in appearences."
Viva Pinata is quite an interesting game. It is honestly like nothing I have ever played. It is more of a mix of things, Sim City, The Sims, Animal Crossing, and even Oblivion. But that doesn't tell you much, does it? No, so lets review the game!
The graphics in this game are superb. First, the Pinatas are VERY detailed. You can see all the little pieces of paper that make up your pinata. You can get close enough to see your personalized tag that you place on Pinatas. The environment is just as nice. Everything is individually detailed, from the tops of trees down to the little chunks of soil.
The sounds is pretty good in this game. All of the Pinatas make their own sounds, people talk to you, and the music is pretty good. Nothing to complain about.
This is the main chunk of the game, and for me it is perfect, and I would personally give it a 10/10, but I have to be fair and judge all aspects. In Viva Pinata, you grow a virtual garden(you can have as many as you want), and try to grow that garden to attract any of the 60 or so Pinata species. These species will all come to you for different things. Within the first 10 minutes of the game, you will have your first little cute and cuddely Pinata a Whirlm. And from that moment on, the game kicks of pace. Soon you are racing around your garden, watering plants, calling the doctor or sick and dying pinatas, checking what you need to do to attract that little Bunnycomb or Fudgehog standing right outside of your garden, and the list goes on and on.
For your garden to thrive, you will be using a number of tools, which you get at the very beginning of the game, and they will soon be upgraded so that they can do different things. You will get a shovel for beating down hard dirt, chopping trees, digging ponds and seed holes, or as I sort of mentioned earlier, you can use the shovel for some FPS shovel swinging action against evil Pinatas and Ruffians, much like in Oblivion. You will also get a watering can, which of course allows you to water stuff. And you get a seed packet, which plants grass, either long or short.
The various NPCs also drive the game forward. You will have a few people in your garden, Seedos and Leafos, who give you seeds and advice respectively. But then you can go to town, and shop at the various stores, who sell things like plant seeds, pet pinatas, accessories, buildings, and some of the most helpful upgrades for your tools and gardens later in the game.
One of the major hitches of this game is that you get to make baby pinatas! They are so cute when they are tiny babies. And making them is half the fun. To make a baby pinata, you first need two pinatas of the same species to act as parents. Then, you must give these pinatas certain things to make them do their dance of love. They might need a certain food, or accessory, or they might want so much grass or water, or to eat the candy of a certain pinata. Its a lot of work to get the more advanced species to mate. When you finally do check-off all of the requirements, you are then forced to navigate one of the pinatas through a maze to reach the other pinata. Once you reach them, the pinatas will go to their home, and perform a romance dance, which is always fun to watch. After the dance, a lady in a stork costume will drop the egg off, and a baby will soon hatch.
As a note, many people find it offensive that once the baby grows up, you can then "mate" that pinata with its "parent". Well, I have a message for such people. You are stupid! First, the pinatas DO NOT mate. There is no sexual contact between the pinatas. They dance! How can you hate dancing? They dance to show their love for each other. Then, a lady in a stork costume drops the egg off. The baby isn't even related to its so called parents! Ok, my rant is over.
So far, I'm sure your thinking, "He praised everything, why did he give it a 7?" Well, the major drawback is the time-delay. At moments in time, you can find yourself doing absolutely NOTHING, while you wait for something to happen. I don't have these moments often, and can usually find something to do, but there can be those spells of boredom. Also, this game is very heavy on micromanaging, you have to manage EVERY little aspect of your garden. This game is not for younger children, despite the look. It is very in-depth, requiring you to think. Also, to get many Pinata, you will have to do many things that you just don't know how to do(yet), which can cause some frustration. But for the most part, this game is truly awesome.
This is a new category for my reviews, and one that I will probably never use again. But I had to for this game. The way you interact with the Pinatas has already been mentioned, but what about how the Pinatas act with their environment? It is amazing for me to watch this game. The Pinatas almost seem like real animals. The birds soar through the air, and then land on the various building and trees. The squirrels climb the trees and chase each other. Swans and ducks swim on the lakes. Pinatas sleep, chase each other, get into fights, and just behave like they are real. It is truly amazing to watch.
Buy or Rent?-Buy
If you rent this game, there is no way you will get the full experience out of it. The game is just too big. There is too much playing involved, too many things to do, to get EVERYTHING done in a week. Sure, you could probably do a lot. But you couldn't do everything, and everything is where the magic is.
Who knew that raising a virtual piece of paper could be so much fun? Well it is. You learn to care for each of your little pinatas, and you will kill any pinata who messes with your favorite pinata. You become immersed in their world, shaping the garden to any way you can imagine. Then, when that gardens full and finished, you make a new one. And through this endless chain, you will realise something that many thick-headed people have not realised. This game is not "childish", it is a work of art, and deserves to be played by anyone. So give this game a chance, you shouldn't regret it. And if you do regret it, I'm sorry you wasted $50 bucks.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/02/07
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