Viva Pinata Trouble in Paradise

by Tracy Whitelaw
author awarded score: 75/100

Viva Piñata Trouble in Paradise Review
Developer: Rare
Publisher: Microsoft
Format Reviewed: Xbox 360
Reviewed By: Tracy Whitelaw / Angela Simpson

Rare's Viva Piñata is back and we´ve been playing it to bring you the unbiased scoop on what this sequel has to offer. We'll point out that one of us loved the first Viva Piñata title, whilst one of us wasn't so fond of the repetitive gameplay, for this reason, we've got a dual ended review of Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise, to try and bring you the most well rounded and fair review available.

Viva Piñata released on the Xbox 360 back in November 2006. The game saw a true departure from the running, gunning, driving and sports the Xbox 360 seemed inundated with at the time, bringing a fresh, all ages title to the 360 platform. Now, developers Rare are back with the sequel to Viva Piñata with Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise and it retains the same cute life sim style of the original, whilst adding in a few new twists.

Like its predecessor, Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise gameplay revolves around maintaining a sandbox garden, in which piñata creatures live and grow. Unlike the original Trouble in Paradise introduces new modes of play, including the Standard mode, Just For Fun mode and Contests. Theirs is also the addition of loads of new piñata's, but the game still feels like it is more of an add-on than an entirely new title. For those that like familiarity, this is a positive if you loved the first title, for those that wanted a whole new game, you might be a tad disappointed. Similarities though there are, Rare has introduced some newness to the title, but we felt this actually removed some of the fun given just as you become attached to your piñatas they are unceremoniously fired off to a party to be … well.. let's not beat around this with a stick… battered to death by a group of children. That said, if you want to get all spiritual about it, that is what a piñata's meaning in life is, so they're kind of reaching enlightenment bless them.

Customization is fun! Yes it's all here in Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise, you can customize your garden to your hearts content, though it will take some time. There are also a couple of new areas in this title and with that comes some funky new piñata's. You've got a desert area and a frozen area. Though the piñata's from these areas won't simply move to your little patch of green you can set traps for them, lure them in and bam! They're yours! Though this might sound like fun, it can actually reach tedium level overload within a few traps being set, which is a shame.

Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise is a beautiful title and Rare has once again put much love into the title graphically and audibly. Oddly the graphical style may lead many to believe this is a kids game, not so (though it is fairly accessible to most ages) Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise has as much depth as its predecessor and with that comes long hours of playing and faffing. Character animation is sickly sweet, environments are colorful, cute and there's few frame-rate issues. The sound too is done with love and has great production values, though there's still a couple of annoying voices thrown in that we think may have been ported from the first game (and they were annoying in that one too).

Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise could so easily fall into the deadly 'this is a girls game' bin, just as it could so easily be flung into the 'kids game' bin, but it's really neither of those. Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise is a game for everyone regardless of gender or age. Assuming that is you like over the top colors, sickly cute creatures and repetitive virtual gardening.

Sure thing, Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise is a bit of a double edged blade. One of us continues to enjoy it and one of us couldn't be assed continuing on after a few hours gameplay. We both kind of agree this feels more like an add-on than a whole new sequel, particularly given a fair bit of content seems unchanged from the original. Our advice all up is this, if you never played the original Viva Piñata title buy it, since – at least where we live – it's generally in the bargain bin for around $20. If you completely love Viva Piñata, sure, go buy Trouble in Paradise and you'll no doubt love it too, both for its similarities and the few new additions they've squeezed in.

Review courtesy of our friends at LesbianGamers