Viva Piñata is an XBOX 360 game developed by Rare Ltd., the same people that brought us such classics as Donkey Kong Country, Banjo-Kazooie, GoldenEye 007, and Star Fox Adventures, and was released for last year’s holiday season. A single player simulation style game similar to Harvest Moon, Viva Piñata has taken over my summer and made a $360 purchase of the game system perfectly justifiable.
The open ended game starts you off with a small patch of decrepit land for you to clean up and attract piñatas. Your garden space starts out small, but as you increase in experience, so does your garden’s size and the amount of piñatas you can attract. There are 60 different piñatas in the game, with cute, usually candy-related names (such as a Buzzlegum, Syrupent, Shellybean, or Moozipan.)
Each piñata has its own appear, visit, and residency requirements that you’ll need to complete before a piñata can become your resident. Once two piñatas of the same species are your residents, you can romance them (after completing another requirement or two to make them happy enough). The piñata’s do a unique ‘romance dance’ to propagate their species in their unique houses. Some piñatas are carnivores and need to eat other piñata to survive, thus creating an intricate piñata ecosystem.
The game lets you do what you want, with the only goal being to increase the value of your garden and attract more piñatas.
This has to be the most addicting game I’ve ever played, even considering the life altering experience of The Sims 2 or the original Harvest Moon. The open ended style lets the player decide what course he or she would rather take. You could try a large water garden and attract as many water piñatas as you could, including the adorably large Chippopatamus. Another path could be to breed horse variants (Ponocky, Horstachio, Zumbug, Doenut) to try to get an elusive Chewnicorn. You could even breed Goobaa’s (sheep) and sell their wool for lots of chocolate coins (the currency).
The possibilities in this game are literally endless, and thus, I believe, its widespread attraction. The game is made to appeal to both children and adults and is the best $20.00 game on the market.
And even if you don’t have a 360 and aren’t interested in purchasing one just for this game, the game is being developed for the PC and Nintendo DS.
I give this game an A+ for general awesomeness and ability to keep me entertained for months. And I highly recommend it to anyone.