|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Rare Ltd.||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 9, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
While the tutorials and Playground mode are great additions, it is this game's controls that really make it stand out. The stylus is used for everything in the game and is a major improvement over using a traditional controller. Players can move the camera around their garden by using the D-pad, dragging the stylus, or by touching a set of arrows found in the corner of the screen.
Touching a piñata will bring up its vital information on the top screen, making it much easier to attend to all their needs. Dragging your stylus around the screen to clear rubble or sprinkle grass seeds is very satisfying and definitely speeds up the process of renovating your garden. There is also something to be said about how much fun it is to touch a misbehaving piñata, delivering a disciplinary whack with your shovel. Additionally, all the game's items and stores are never more than a few stylus taps away with its well set up and easy to navigate menus.
Although the controls are exceptional in Pocket Paradise, there are a few problems that tend to arise from time to time. Since the game makes use of a three-quarters overhead view, some objects can become completely obscured by other objects in the garden. If you plant a tree behind a piñata's home, you will likely not be able to utilize its fruit. When the game starts off, your garden is also fairly claustrophobic, with very little area not being used for piñatas' homes. This limited space only further aggravates this problem and even causes another. It is sometimes difficult to touch exactly what you want when objects/piñatas happen to overlap. When you have several piñatas standing on top of each other or on plants, touching the screen may not select what you are actually trying to target. However, these are minor complaints, as your garden continues to grow in size and you can always build fences to help separate your piñatas from each other and your plants.
For players looking for a way to play Viva Piñata on the go, look no further. Pocket Paradise succeeds in condensing a console experience into a portable game without many sacrifices and even some improvements. Newcomers to the series will also find themselves right at home, learning the basics through the game's helpful episodes or by just experimenting in the game's Playground mode. There is a lot to like here, making Pocket Paradise an excellent addition to almost anyone's DS library.
CCC Staff Contributor