Review by Chronic_Apathy

"Amazing Game in a Furry Package"

Viva Pinata is the best-selling simulation game from Rare games. It features some of the best graphics, audio, and gameplay of any game on the Xbox 360. With 60 different types of Pinatas, more than 20 different types of plants, and millions of different ways to plan out your garden, it's a game that will definitely give you hours and hours of amazing fun. Viva Pinata is proof that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, as despite it's soft exterior, there's an amazing game waiting to be played.

The gameplay is simple, you have a garden that you must customize to attract Piantas. First, you must get your garden in a manner that certain Pinatas like, so that they will "visit" your garden. Then, they will eat fruit, vegetables, or even other Pinatas to become "residents." Then, you must make even more requirements for your Pinatas to "romance." By getting a Pinata to do any of these things, you will gain "experience petals." When you get enough of them, you'll level up, which usually unlocks more seeds, accessories, and sometimes Pinatas.

Although it may sound tedious and boring, it's not. Since there are 60 different types of Pinatas, and each Pinata requires certain requirements to visit, become a resident, and romance, there's quite a lot of variability. There are a total of 108 levels, though very few people have ever reached that peak. Tired of going after one Pinata over and over again? Convince a friend to use the trade system and either give or sell you the Pinata you've been after.

The graphics in this game are excellent. The pinatas, grass, and even the plants all have a fuzzy texture to them. There aren't any graphical glitches to speak of, and the few humans seen in the game look life-like and realistic. There are a large number of varients in the game, which means that for almost every Pinata in the game, there's two or three colors that you can change that Pinata into by feeding it certain things.

The audio, although lacking in some places, is impressive nonetheless. Every Pinata makes a unique sound, which lets you know when one is just outside your garden, or even in your garden already. However, this can often get annoying, as some Pinatas don't have the best of noises to make. The music is soothing, but sometimes this isn't what you want in a video game. However, the majority of the time, these things are completely tolerable, and usually even liked. However, I sometimes find myself listening to the TV while playing the game.

The controls are so simple that a 7-year-old could use them, and that's exactly what my little sister does! Nearly everything revolves around the "A" button. Use it to select a Pinata, then move to where you want the Pinata to go, and hit it again, and the Pinata will move there. Need a Pinata to eat something? Select the Pinata using the "A" button, then select the item you want the Pinata to eat, and hit it again. The "B" button goes back, or simply deselects a Pinata or item, the "Y" button goes to the journal, and the "X" button goes to the menu....simple as that.

This game has quite a bit of replayibility. Even if you get 49 of the 50 achievements within the first 25 hours of play, those obsessed with getting all the achievements will have to play all 50 hours to get that last achievement. Those who like to play the game to 100% completion has a massive road ahead, with 108 levels to complete. Those who like to get the most out of every game will appreciate the millions of ways to customize your garden the way you like it, which can take several hours to achieve.

All in all, this is a great game, with great gameplay, which is underestimated due to the "girly" exterior it has. However, if even half the people who bad-mouthed it knew how great it was, the world would be a much better place. Looking for a game the whole family can enjoy? Looking for a simulation game that is (in my opinion) better than the Sims could ever be? Looking for Pinatas?! Then look no further, Viva Pinata is the game for you.

Gameplay - 9/10
Graphics - 8/10
Audio - 7.5/10
Controls - 9/10
Replayibility - 8.5/10
All in all - 8/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 09/04/07

Game Release: Viva Pinata (US, 11/09/06)

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