Review Viva Pinata Pocket Paradise for DS (Nov. 2009)

Most of you probably know Viva Piñata from the children’s’ television series. But this time the colorful beasties came to the DS. The game originally was available on the XBox, but in pocket size it fits the DS wonderfully. You would think this game was just for kids, but my daughter was bored with it very quickly. While I couldn’t stop playing!

You start off with a little plot of land, a weed infested patch with a lot of rubble lying around. After some instruction you learn to scrape the land clean, and to sow some grass. There, that looks a lot nicer.
In no time at all, the first Piñata arrives, a Whirlm (you know, the piñata name for a worm). This Whirlm is striped orange, and it doesn’t require much to be happy in your garden. Just a partner and a little house are required to produce some offspring. Lucky for you Willie the Builder can build a Whirlm house for a little money (chocolate coins in fact! I’d like them too!!) The Whirlms immediately go into romantic mode, and the next morning the stork delivers a little egg.

Having all those happy Whirlms in your garden is irresistible to the Sparrowmint, who likes nothing better than a little Whirlm snack. To be honest, the “snacking” part was difficult for me at first: the Sparrowmint has to eat a Whirlm in order to be happy, and at first I paused at that, I kind of felt sorry for the happy little Whirlm…(it gets easier after a time..) To settle into your garden it will need a house too. In this fashion you attract all kinds of Piñatas to your hideaway, the higher your gardening skills are judged, the more intricate the species will be. They all need a house, some need special flowers in the garden, or a little pond to be persuaded to stay. In a drop down menu at the side you can click on the shop to get your seeds and other stuff you’ll need.

Aside from the colorful animals, the wonderfully detailed garden, trees and houses it’s a great game for those who like to collect. There are 87 species to collect, and all kinds of level achievements to get. You get a ribbon for every collected animal, for every animal who’s had offspring and every animal will turn a different color after having eaten one special item (like a flower or fruit). Some animals can even be manipulated into a different species altogether!

I can play this game straight for weeks, and then I put it aside for a while. It might be months later that I pick it up again, forever striving for that higher level. It’s a relaxed game most of the time, and a great one for those of us who want to be in control without time-pressure.
The only thing that is missing in this game is wifi. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to exchange Piñata gifts with your friends all over the world!

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