diana;;big red timemachine;;viva pinata;;2006;;time management;;happy;;garden;;rare;;microsoft;;pc;;xbox 360 one Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee


By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on May 6, 2016

Welcome readers, to a very special episode of the Big Red Timemachine. Seeing as how Ferry “Sadhonker” Adams is not here at the moment, I, Diana “DumeeGamer” Dumee will take you on this week’s trip through time. And what a fun time we will have, filled with colorful and happy Paper Mache animals. Yes, this is very unlike the dreary and dark games our Sadhonker likes to play, but trust me; it will be a lot of fun!

So, why is Ferry not here at the moment? Well, he got into a freak toenail cutting accident and is currently recuperating in a nearby mental hospital. We all hope he’s going to be his own slightly angry self soon and wish him all the best! Upon arriving here, I decided to send all his robotic workers home, since their incessant clicking and whirring was driving me absolutely bonkers! And what’s with the bunker-like HQ he’s got going on here? It seems I have my work cut out for me turning this tomb into a happy place to work. But first, we’ve got a game to find and play! So join me and my crew of glittering unicorns as we travel 10 years into the past and dive into the cute and cuddly world of Viva Piñata.

First released in 2006 for the Xbox 360 by Rare and Microsoft, Viva Piñata puts us squarely in the mud-stained boots of a Piñata farmer and lets us build our own candy-filled garden. When I first played this game, I immediately loved it to bits! A year after its initial release, Viva Piñata was also released for PC and now, through the magic of the Rare Replay collection, we can even play this beauty of a game on our Xbox One. I recommend you buy at least one of these versions! All those cute and colorful piñata’s to take care of and collect; it’s nothing short of amazing!

At the start of the game, you are given a small piece of land and it’s up to you to make the most out of it and create a garden. As soon as you do, curious piñata’s will come to check out and visit your garden. They want to see for themselves if they want to live with you or wait for you to bring your garden up to their standards.

There are over sixty kinds of piñata’s for you to collect. Some of them are easy to attract, like the Whirlm (a kind of worm-like creature). These small animals will visit and stay in your garden as soon as you put a bit of grass down, so they’re easy to please. Every piñata has its own requirements to visit your garden and become a resident. You don’t know in advance which requirements are needed for which piñata, so you’ll just have to try different things and hope for the best. So I encourage you to dig ponds, plant trees and place ornaments in your garden and catch them all. (wait, does that sounds familiar?)

Although Viva Piñata is all about having fun with these cute animals, it does have a sad side to it, at least for me. I really don’t like it and yes, it even made me cry at some point. Sometimes piñata’s need to eat other piñata’s in order to become a resident. Well, that’s not very nice! I was just so happy with my Newtgat, but then Badgesicle entered my garden and ate my Newtgat. So the great news is that I have a Badgesicle now, but I still miss my Newtgat. Oh well, that’s nature for you!

I soon discovered that, when you own two piñata’s of a particular species, no new specimens of that breed will enter your garden. So after two Badgesicles became residents, I thought I could attract new Newtgats and then they could all live happily ever after. Basically, my idea was to own a garden with two piñata’s of every species in it, but there are two problems with this idea. The space in your garden is limited and does not offer enough room for all the piñata’s to live. And as a result of a crowded garden, piñata’s will fight with each other, which made me even sadder. Can’t we all just get along?!

There is, however, a way to get more than two piñata’s of one particular species in your garden and that’s to have two piñata’s of the same species fall in love and mate. Don’t worry, there’s no explicit material here, just a small mini-game in which you’ll have to get one piñata across a field to another piñata. If you succeed in doing this, the two piñata’s will do a cool little dance and fall in love, ultimately resulting in the arrival of a baby piñata.

There are many different species of piñata’s to collect, all with their own demands and requirements. Beside the standard piñata’s, you can discover new species or variants. By feeding piñata’s vegetables, flowers or other foods, they could change into a brand new species or turn into another color. There’s is really a lot to discover and unlock, so don’t be afraid to try a million different things and see where your efforts lead.

The biggest challenge in this game is attract the larger varieties of piñata’s to come live in your garden, while maintaining the amount of living space for every creature in there. To this end, you can upgrade your garden and your trusty shovel and make the most out of the space you’ve been given. Luckily, you don’t have to do everything yourself. Not far from your garden is a town and as you progress in the game, new characters will appear. One will open a shop where you can buy stuff, while other can be hired to fetch piñata’s, water your plants or look after sick piñata’s. “Wait, sick piñata’s? How does that work?!”

Well, just like in real life, all this fun and happiness attracts a bunch of less-likeable characters. In Viva Piñata, these characters are called Sour Piñata’s; evil looking creatures that do all kinds of nasty stuff, like messing up your garden or leave sour candy behind. When one of your piñata’s eats some of this sour candy, they’ll become sick and possibly even die. Although these sour individuals are a right pain in the compost heap, a true Gardenmaster will find a way to tame them. When you eventually manage to tame a sour piñata, it will turn into a sweet piñata and live in your garden.

I’m so totally addicted to this game. I love it so much! All those cute and happy piñata’s in your garden and you can play with them, feed them and keep them happy. So I’m signing of now; I hope you liked reading this review as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it! But alas, I must be off now; I have some Piñata stuff and redecorating to do!!

Rare & Microsoft Studios
November 9, 2006 (First release)