Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise

VP-TIP01

About:

Released on: Xbox 360 (spin-off on Nintendo DS, original game also on PC).

Developed By: Rare

Who Also Developed: Donkey King Country, GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, Banjo-Kazooie.

Published By: Microsoft Game Studios

Players: One mainly, but a second player can join in to assist.

Demo Available: Yes

Demo a Good Example of Game: Undetermined (demo not played).

Additional Content: Not really, though Rare do release additional Piñata Vision Cards for piñata variations.

Ben’s Progress: Game played extensively, both solo and with a second player. Reached Gardener level 119, with 22 of 50 achievements earned.

VP-TIP03

Quick Opinion:

Buy if:

You like management games – as with the first game, there’s a lot to do to attract all the piñatas.

You enjoyed Viva Piñata or Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise – the gameplay is largely the same.

You aren’t put off by bright, colourful visuals – gameplay should always be king, really, which VP:TIP has.

Try if:

You enjoy Rare’s previous games and their sense of humour, but aren’t keen on this kind of game – there’s typical Rare humour here, which for some would be enough to boost the game.

Skip if:

You like violence and swearing in your games – there’s no swearing outside of a few cheeky references, and the violence is cartoon-level and sanitised.

You don’t enjoy management or simulation games – Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise likely wouldn’t change your opinion.

VP-TIP02

Evaluation:

Summary:

Essentially an improved version of the original Viva Piñata. Attract piñatas to your garden by meeting specific requirements, romancing them to produce more piñatas and advance your player level.

Story:

Only slightly more complex than the previous game’s. Professor Pester has destroyed all records in the piñata database, and it is up to the player to attract piñatas to the garden and complete the database.

Gameplay:

Mostly unchanged from its predecessor. Piñatas are attracted by different types of terrain or the presence of specific buildings, fauna or piñatas. Individual gardens are still small, so attracting lots of piñatas requires switching back and forth between multiple gardens, but the process of transferring piñatas has been slightly streamlined.

There are also challenges set by Langston Lickatoad, asking the player to provide piñatas of specific colours or wearing certain decorations. These help guide the player towards specific goals if they’re feeling a little lost.

The new arctic and desert areas use a bait and trap system to bring in the piñatas from that region that adds a minor bit of variety, but could easily have been downloadable content for the first game.

Controls:

Improved from the original game, adding all sort of shortcuts to remove a lot of the layers of menu switching that made certain tasks in the first game more tedious than they needed to be. Flying piñatas are still a pain to select and direct.

Graphics:

Looks very nice, with bright, colourful visuals. The paper effect on the piñatas still looks great and there’s a lot of personality in the look and movements of the piñatas.

Sound:

Every piñata has their own noises. Sound effects and and tranquil music all work well.

Other Comments:

Feels more like an enhanced version of the original game rather than a proper sequel.  However, everything that was good about the first game is still present, and a lot that wasn’t good has been improved.

It’s still rather complex for what would seem to be the game’s target audience – young gamers – while the visuals are enough to put off a lot of older gamers who would otherwise happily sink days of their into a detailed management game.

Image Sources:

All images: Eurogamer

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