Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise Review

Hurry up, you incompetent code monkey, I have Piñata to capture!

Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise Review

I can't think of a better place to take a nice, long vacation in than Piñata Island- between the expansive varied environment that ranges from the Polar Pinarctic to the Dessert Desert, the friendly Piñata animals and the unlimited supply of sweet, sweet candy, who would want to play anywhere else? Well, there is the local problem of Professor Pester and his nasty horde of trouble-making Sour Piñata and Ruffians… Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise is the sequel to Rare's Viva Piñata, which was a delightful visit to Piñata Island to restore an abandoned garden to its former glory. As amazing as the previous VP game was, Rare managed to expand upon and improve upon each and every returning feature while bringing a whole new bag of tricks to the party including candy golf, Piñata tricks, races, photography and Piñata Vision Cards used to share content via the Xbox Vision Camera.

Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise Review

There is no straightforward way to play TiP, as players can choose an infinite way to spend time playing in their unique gardens. Some players might focus on meticulously breeding Piñata species to get all of the in-game rewards associated with getting so many individuals together, others will stay busy by decorating their plot of land with statues and plants, while others will set off to explore the wild lands of the island to discover new Piñata such as the Vulchurro or Flapyak. With over 100 different Piñata to attract into the garden and plenty of optional goals such as sending specific creatures to Piñata Central to fulfill global party orders or finding variant colors by feeding strange things to your favorites, there is more than enough content to keep the most obsessive fans busy for hours. Each and every player will take something distinct and special from the experience of cultivating their own Piñata gardens.

My favorite experiences in Paradise surrounded the adventures of my blue Pieena, DJ Giggles. He walks around my garden laughing at all of his paper pals while sporting a set of green dance-glow necklaces and a large blue DJ headset. He's been to plenty of parties, enjoyed playing with company over Xbox Live when some friends stopped by to see his sandy home and he's survived his share of deadly attacks from Professor Pester and his cronies. My patch of Piñata Island has been radically transformed from a grassy field, to a swampy marsh and into the sandy wasteland that DJ Giggles calls home.

Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise Review

While I'm happy with my dust pit of a garden, I was blown away by the level of customization I've seen when experienced gardeners take to serious terraforming. Each of my friends have laboriously build forests, jungles, meadows, tundra and all kinds of other themed gardens filled with their favorite Piñata.

The level of creativity lovingly placed into each rectangle of colored paper, hand painted sign and musical score goes a long way to keep players captivated in this special world where the food chain is based on candy consumption. Rare continues to build games filled with character, deep gameplay ad music that will stick to your brain until 3am. (So things haven't changed much since Donkey Kong Country!)

-Arnold B. Carreiro

A Ranking

Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise (Xbox 360, PC)


Developed by Rare

Published by Microsoft Game Studios

ESRB: E for Everyone

The Arnold B. Carreiro Rating System

A - Awesome! Why haven't you bought this yet? Go! GameStop doensn't close for another 2 hours!

B - Great game! It'll be something fun to play for a good while. It's better than most games, but shy of perfection for some reason. You should check it out!

C - Meh. It's not a BAD game, nor is it good. Enjoyment may be limited to a certain audience though. Perhaps some aspects of the title are great while others are bogged down by bad design/gameplay/etc.

D - Not too great... Too much of the game lacks polish to be appreciated to the general gaming public, but there might be enough here for someone to enjoy. Maybe...

F - A complete train wreck. Vampire Rain is the last "F" game I've ever played. The bargain bin is too good for an "F" game.


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