Viva Piņata Pocket Paradise  - Review

Viva Piņata Pocket Paradise
Ages: Everyone

Phew - I just finished tilling soil and gardening in Harvest Moon - DS and here I am tilling the soil, growing grass and flowers in Piņata Island. It's not so different from Viva Piņata back in 2006 - with one big exception - the game is on the DS. I am always amazed what I can carry in my pocket.

If you have played the game on a console - you will already know what to expect. If you are brand new to the game - you will be trying to attract these fanciful piņatas into your plot of land. To accomplish this you must make it as attractive an environment as possible - not only that - you will even make special environments to please them. Now when you get two of a kind and have a house built for them, pass out some Viagara candy, hearts appear and voila they have a new 'un.

Rare has taken the 360 version and stuffed the whole game into this 3x5 inch plastic box. Icons on the top of the touch screen will provide for all your needs - tools, seeds, watering equipment, entrance to the store, doctor. I was fascinated with the spade that had a saw tooth edge so it could also function like a saw - sure could have used that in Harvest Land. Besides being colorful - each piņata has a very distinct personality - from fraidycat to leader of the pack.

There are three different modes of playing the game - Garden, where you can just jump in and start; Episodes, a step by step introduction by four of the most familiar piņatas and Playground, sort of an experimental garden where items are free and piņatas you have attracted are available. The in-game instructions are better than the manual and can be accessed in both the Garden and Episodes mode. For kids, I would suggest the Episodes mode. It provides a clearer step by step experience to a more satisfying game. Even then, younger ones may require some adult interpretation.

The game is deep and seems endless - even with Professor Pester messing up things. It will not escape older kids that at parties these piņatas will be whacked, and bashed until they are broken and give forth all their candies and prizes. This of course happens off-screen and once piņatas have fulfilled their destiny they are regenerated back on the island. I am recalling a science fiction movie, Logan's Run, where in a whirling, festive ceremony people over 30 took flight and were zapped in mid air.

This game really calls for two touch screens - particularly since almost every thing except the camera is touch controlled. That way icons could be bigger, on a separate screen, easier to read and the game space wouldn't require so much scrolling. Instead of the angled top down view, a more eye level view would have shown off the wild colors and designs to greater advantage. I highly recommend this game for cross country drives - you won't hear a peep from the back seat.

Fun Factor: Immersive

Reviewed by: Editor - 09/08

  • Viva Piņata Pocket Paradise
  • © THQ/ Rare
  • Platform(s): GBDS
  • To Order: GBDS $29.99