Viva Piñata
This page was last modified 2009-12-28 14:27:30 by Puchu.Net user Choco. (Show history)
Work in Progress
Please check back later. Thanks!

Viva Pinata

Go to: [ Game Mechanics and Controls | Good | Bad | Notes ]

Developer Rare
Web site
Platform Xbox 360
Cost $59.99
ESRB Rating EVERYONE. With comic mischief and mild cartoon violence.

Game Mechanics and Controls

  • Context-sensitive buttons, with actions carefully mapped out.
  • Shortcuts on digital pad to bring out frequently used tools: shovel, watering can, grass packets, and in-game messages.
  • Audio cue for several game elements, such as bad visitors or fertilizing plants.
  • As player levels up, more animals visit and more tools becomes available, which gives more experience as player accomplish tasks with them.

Excellent Ideas

  • Colorful rendering of characters and environment. The piñata art style fits the atmosphere of the game perfectly. The colors make all animals that much more interesting to look at, and serves to identify whether an animal is a resident or not (wild animals are black and white, and transforms with color once residency requirements are met).
  • Many variety of plants and animals are available in the game, with distinct features represented that little kids can recognize. This is a huge hit with my 3-year-old. Some of them also have variants, to add a little more variety.
  • Friend/foe relationship between animals, such as cats vs. dogs, bees vs. ants (because ants likes honey), etc.
  • Romancing animals presented in a mini-game with maze and evil in between the star-crossed piñatas. Hitting too many of the evil light-bulbs and romancing will fail. The number of chances decreases, as the number of animals of that particular species increase in the garden.
  • Accessories for animals. Some of them are required for romancing or to automatically visit produce processing facility. They can also increase value of animals.
  • Giving the beggar enough money and he becomes a merchant with some of the most essential tools and products. There is a lesson to be learned here.
  • Many animals will have affinity for specific types of food and habitat, and depending on the player it may be fun to reconfigure and reconstruct your garden to attract and romance new types of animals.
  • In-game hunter can help you retrieve animals quickly, if you order express. Useful because once you have one resident animal, this serves as a shortcut to get another one to start romancing.
  • Romance candy, similar to the hunter, will fulfill the romancing requirement once you romance the first two the complicated way. Considering that making baby animals is one of the main method of getting more experience and money, this is a good way to lower the amount of repetition in the game.
  • Animals get eaten, and they fight amongst themselves. However, everything is presented in a way that I don't have to explain to a kid. You can see them throwing stuff at each other, but such items are not weapons. When animals die they leave candies like a piñata.


  • There should be an option to turn off voice for vendors. If you spend hours playing the game, they really start to annoy with repetitive dialog. It doesn't help that some of them have annoying personality to start with.
  • Animals always in the way, sitting on candy, etc. You can send them away, but they come right back for whatever reason. Sectioning them off using fences some times work, but through some glitches they'll pop out once in a while. And there is an upper limit on how many fences you can buy.
  • Animals gets stuck and gets sick; often it will work without any problems, until that one moronic animal shows up and gets stuck all the time. He may not appear stuck either, so you keep on healing him until you realize what happens.
  • Always out of space. Extremely annoying because if you aren't paying attention, you may not know why your animals are not eating candy or romancing. The in-game free space diagram can show plenty of space left but the low-memory watermark isn't clear and appears to change all the time.
  • Romancing and residency requirements aren't revealed immediately. There is no advantage in showing them in parts? Listing everything up-front can help planning tremendously.

Other Notes

  • As much as my three-year-old likes this game, this is actually fairly complicated in game play and controls. It would be nice to have a different game mode for the kids to explore on their own, without having to worry about sour piñata invasion, etc.


Document is accessible from © 2002-2010 Sean Yang, Karen Yang, Don Yang and/or respective authors, all rights reserverd.

This material may contain (biased) opinions, inappropriate materials for numerous individuals, work of other authors from the internet, links that refer to other web documents and resources, or origial work that cannot be use for personal or commercial purposes. Please respect the work of original authors.

Creative Commons License
Powered By MediaWiki

© 2002-2010 Sean Yang, all rights reserved.