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Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise Review

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Developer: Rare Publisher: THQ
Release Date: September 8, 2008 Available On: Nintendo DS

The Xbox 360 is not exactly known for games that appeal to children. Perhaps that is why Viva Pinata, based on a Saturday morning cartoon, did not fare too well on the Xbox 360. Oddly enough there is a history of games from Rare (which is owned by Microsoft) releasing their properties on the Nintendo DS. Of course it was formerly owned by Nintendo and the titles are handheld games for which Microsoft lacks a competing product. Viva Pinata is exactly one of these franchises that found a home on Nintendo’s handheld.

If you have played the Xbox 360 predecessor to Viva Pinata Pocket Paradise then you have a good idea of what to expect. This game is not much different other than for the fact that it is on a handheld device and thus has toned down visuals. The idea behind Viva Pinata is fairly basic. Your goal is to create a garden and attract these pinata animals. If the venturing pinatas like your garden then they will settle down and build a house nearby.

The closest comparison I can make between Viva Pinata Pocket Paradise and another game would be Animal Crossing. This game is as much about community as it is about gardening. Unlike Animal Crossing, though, the residents of your garden can actually eat each other. So goes life. Worms fall prey to carnivores while bigger and stronger animals survive. Viva Pinata is a video game example of survival of the fittest. It also involves a good deal of breeding and evolution as well.

The game features a good number of different plants to choose from for your garden, as well as structures and pinatas that will eventually make their way into the game. You have a good amount of flexibility in where to build things, as well as the design of your gardens, housing and so on. You will, of course, need to water your plants to keep them thriving and feed your creatures to keep them happy, but the pace of play is almost entirely up to the person playing. While there are certain objectives that you need to reach, like Animal Crossing, Pocket Paradise gives you freedom to choose.

The graphics in this are quite good for a handheld title. The graphical style of Viva Pinata for the Xbox 360 is brought over for Pocket Paradise on the Nintendo DS. While they can not capture the splendor of that game, they do a good job with vibrant colors and a decent amount of detail. While they also include short little video clips from the cartoon, the quality of both the video and audio are lacking to say the least. They would have been better off leaving those out entirely.

Viva Pinata Pocket Paradise does what it sets out to do. Rare recreates the experience of the Xbox 360 title on the Nintendo DS within its hardware limitations. Fans of the original, as well as fans of games like Animal Crossing and even The Sims might find Viva Pinata Pocket Paradise a worthy investment. That being said, those that dislike these types of games will not find a change of heart by playing Pocket Paradise, either.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8
Written by Kyle Write a User Review