Review: Viva Pinata Trouble in Paradise

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After the mini-game filled party animals, and its very own kids TV show, Rare finally brings us its next proper game in the Viva Piñata series, that being Viva Piñata – Trouble in Paradise.

As soon as you insert Viva Piñata into your 360 and start the game up, you are welcomed with bright colours, plenty of cute creatures and a very friendly looking game.

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Starting up a new game will quickly give you the gist of Trouble in Paradise’s story. Professor Pestor, leader of the Ruffians, has deleted the records of all the Piñatas on the island. And it’s your job to refill the databases by attracting these piñatas to your garden, getting them to become a resident and eventually sending them off to a party.

As you begin, the game will happily take you by the hand on your first few tasks, helping you get used to the controls of the game, along with the basics of how the game works. During this, it won’t be long until your first piñata, a Bispotti, show up.

The general idea of the game is to attract piñatas into your garden, getting them to become residents and eventually romance them with another piñata of the same species before having them sent off to parties.
This is all done through a checklist of requirements for each species of piñata, which usually involves having a certain item, area of land (so much grass, water, snow and/or sand) or even another type of piñata in your garden. The Bispotti for example, needs a flower in your garden to appear, two flowers to visit your garden and finally, three poppies in your garden to live there.

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It won’t be long before your garden is full of activity, but you can’t expect an easy rise throughout your whole experience. Once you reach a certain level, the game will throw in a few road blocks in your path.
Sours, which are bad piñatas, will eventually find their way into your garden, eating flowers, scaring your own piñatas and leaving bad sweets around. It’ll be up to you to tame these sour piñatas and turn them into good piñatas.
Along with this, you only have so much space in your garden, while this will expend a couple of times as you reach certain levels, you will still have to deal with a limited space, forcing you to think carefully about which piñatas you keep, along with what else you put in your garden.

Trouble in Paradise is a great looking game with plenty to do and enough targets to keep you busy for a long time. It has that ‘pick-up-and-play’ feel, but it will take a lot of time and dedication to get the most out of it.
As far as the game goes though, this feels more like one large expansion rather then a full sequel. Aside from a selection of new piñatas, along with new items, plants and other little things, there is very little to add to this game that truly sets it apart from the original.

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The notable additions that are present, is the inclusion of a co-op mode, allowing a single friend to help out in your garden, but this changes to three friends when done through live. Along with making it easier to manage the garden, the extra players have the benefits of being able to use special skills after so long, such as healing a sick piñata or transforming one item into another.
Along with this, is the addition of ‘Piñata Vision’, a system that allows you to use the Xbox Live vision camera to scan special cards for extra items or effects in your garden. As nice as this is, it forces you to pay extra for this system, and is a pain for achievement hunters, as you need to use this system in order to get a pair of specific achievements.

This aside, the only real downside to Trouble in Paradise, is that as a game that has been aimed for a younger audience, thing can get piled on rather quickly after the initial tutorial, and it may be difficult for children to keep on top of everything.

In all, its great to see another colourful, child-friendly game on the 360 and it will certainly be keeping me busy for a long time.

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