It's time for Gaming Review Number Three! Huzzah! Hooray! Etc etc.....
This time around I'm going to have a ganders at Viva Pinata.
Viva Pinata – Shake It Like A Party Animal!
Viva Pinata is a.... gardening simulator.
That's right, gardening simulator. It was released back in late 2006. It was developed by Rare Software, who were behind many well loved N64 games, such as Banjo-Kazooie, and even Goldeneye.
No! Wait! Don't stop reading at gardening simulator! Let me continue, and hopefully, you will catch Pinataitis too, and become a fan of the game!
At the start, you're dumped on the paradisical Pinata Island, and given a small allotment, to turn into a fantastical garden.
Starting out with only the most basic spade and watering can, you must gradually transform the plot of land, and attract a wide variety of Pinata to come and inhabit your garden.
As you attract more Pinata, and place more plants and ornaments in your garden, you gain experience, which brings with it access to higher level items, and a bigger plot of land, which in turn allow to attract more and more high level Pinatas.
So say goodbye Whirlms....
and hello Roario!
The game was released in late 2006, so if you're expecting an absolute visual extravaganza, you're going to be sorely disappointed.
However, whilst the visuals are somewhat basic, they suit the style and feel of the game perfectly, and the bright colours and fanciful designs really bring the gardens created in the game to life.
Viva Pinata plays in a similar vein to games such as The Sims, in that you have a pre-defined play area, which you can populate with a variety of furniture and in this case Pinata.
The game throws you challenges in the form of Pinata requests. Parties naturally require Pinatas in order to be truly partytastic, so every so often the game offers you challenges to attract certain pinata within a certain time to be sent off to the parties.
These challenges can be ignored if you feel you may not be able to achieve them, but they add experience to your Gardener Level if you meet them.
There are also “Romance Dances” that need to be completed in order to allow your Pinata to breed.
These take the form of maze mini-games, with hazards to avoid and coins to collect.
Naturally though, the real lure of Viva Pinata is the constant desire to attract bigger and better Pinata, which, believe me, will keep you hooked for hours on end!
The audio in Viva Pinata is pretty decent.
The noises made by the Pinata are suitable for their design, but the true joy of the audio comes in the form of the relaxing background music.
It's this coupled with the bright and colourful visuals that make Viva Pinata one of the most relaxing gaming experiences out there.
Viva Pinata is by no means cutting edge in any sense of the word, however, it is most definitely a case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.
Viva Pinata is a truly fantastic time sink, and is as much an aid to relaxation as it is a video game. It comes highly recommended, so go and check it out, you should be able to pick it up for about £5!
Available On: 360, PC, DS