Viva Piata Review for PC

Viva Piata Review for PC

Violence Can Be Cute

Piñatas have long been a source of childhood glee. Their appearance at parties is typically associated with free candy and other goodies, yet little thought is often given to what their enjoyment entails. One after another, kids are blindfolded, spun around, and sent forth with a large stick to violently bludgeon and disembowel the colorful hanging animal creations in order to get at their deliciously sweet candy innards.

Viva Piñata screenshot

In reality it’s a fun and mostly harmless party game, but the tradition of breaking open piñatas would no doubt take on a significantly more disturbing tone if the treat-filled creatures were in fact alive. Such is the case in Viva Piñata, however, instead of focusing on how the adorable paper animals meet their explosive and untimely end, the game explores their lives in the wild in a charmingly engaging and bizarre open-ended garden management sim.

In this vibrant fantasy world piñatas not only live and breathe, but they actually look forward to being bashed apart. The experience isn’t fatal for the critters since they’re shipped back to Piñata Central where they can fatten themselves up with treats for more kids to enjoy. If you’ve ever wondered where piñatas might come from, the game’s story offers a fun explanation. The answer is Piñata Island of course: a land full of beautiful gardens and odd inhabitants where wild piñata thrive much like normal creatures. They seek out sources of candy to munch and slowly fill their gullets. Each piñata eagerly anticipates the day when it will be chosen by Piñata Central for shipment to a party where it can be sacrificed to entertain children. The concept may sound a bit off, and there are a few moments where things just get a little weird, but the exuberant production is an all-ages affair.

As the game gets rolling, players are granted a small plot of land on the island which once belonged to master gardener Jardiniero. He was said to have been able to summon nearly every piñata on the island and grow any plant in his soil. Since his reign as gardener extraordinaire waned, the once-fertile earth has turned to dust and is now littered with debris. With a gimpy shovel and a glimmer of hope, players set off to work the land in hopes of improving their own gardening skills and drawing in all manner of different piñata species. Your shovel is one of several useful tools initially at your disposal for shaping your garden. Digging beneath the dried ground reveals better soil which can be left as is or seeded with nice green grass. Before long, working the parched dirt, ridding the plot of garbage, and cleaning up the property alone will begin to make the site more palatable to some of the first few species of piñata who will likely take up residence there. Eventually you’ll be planting and watering seeds, landscaping, installing buildings, and much more.

Viva Piñata screenshot

Tending the garden plot will keep you amply busy, but what makes toiling under the sun in Viva Piñata a blast is the fact practically every bit of work you do has the potential to attract some a new type of piñata to your land. You’ll encounter over 60 unique piñatas with cute names such as “Syrupent,” “Buzzlegum,” “Doenut,” “Newtgat,” and “Chewnicorn,” among other witty combinations. Each species of piñata has a certain set of conditions you’re required to meet before it will visit your garden, another set must be met in order to entice them to take residence on your property, and a third set of conditions must be met to get them in the mood to mate. Some conditions are as simple as planting a specific type of flower, growing a tree, or constructing certain structures. In many cases, new piñatas will be drawn to your property by other piñata species currently living there. Changing the land itself, as you increase your gardening abilities and unlock new tools, will also pique the interest of other piñata species. Visitors will appear in gray and white forms, later turning colors when they choose to become permanent residents. A cute cutscene will signal the arrival of a new piñata and also explain what drew them to the garden.

Viva Piñata screenshot

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The piñatas are wildly adorable, they possess interesting personalities, and they add an element of unpredictability and excitement to the game. Once you’ve managed to attract piñatas and persuade them to take up residence in your garden, you can breed them to gain experience, boost your population, or even to sell for extra gardening funds. When mating conditions are met for a particular species, bringing the couple together will initiate a romancing mini-game where you will have to guide one piñata to the other through a brief maze filled with chocolate coins.

Viva Piñata screenshot

A successful courtship will cause the two to enter into their abode and perform an often hilarious mating dance unique to their species. Having different species in the same garden can yield unexpected results as well. Certain piñatas will not get along and start fights, while some will even kill other piñata species lower on the food chain and eat their candy. You may find yourself wielding the shovel from time-to-time against unruly piñata or invaders.

Much like other sandbox titles, Viva Piñata affords players a vast amount of freedom to experience the game as they see fit. The garden can be built up and customized in any way you see fit, and different piñatas will mosey on in as a result. As your garden grows and new piñata species prosper, you’ll gain experience and upgrades. Interacting with the other odd human inhabitants of the island allows you to deck out your piñata in goofy outfits, hire helpers to tend the garden for you, defend your turf from raiders, and purchase special buildings and items, among other things. It’s a deep game with lots to offer players.

The PC version of the game is essentially a straight port of the original Xbox 360 title released this time last year. The only major difference in the PC version is the keyboard and mouse controls. Players can use a special Windows Xbox 360 controller, but the mouse controls will be familiar and less cumbersome to many players. Dealing with most piñatas, items, or scenery elements involves simple point-and-click actions. Rotating and moving the camera around to the proper angle is problematic due to the sensitivity (which can be adjusted). Even with its quirks, this control scheme is superior to attempting the game with a controller.

Viva Piñata is set in a bright and colorful world full of mostly pleasant sights and sounds geared towards younger audiences. Even with its kid-appeal, the game actually seems more fitting a match for adult gamers. The complexity of micromanaging the land, meeting the needs social and mating needs of piñatas, and gaining experience for future upgrades may be too much for some kids to keep up with. Older gamers, on the other hand, will find the game greatly surpasses standard kid fare.


  • Getting to know and understand the personalities and requirements of your piñatas is essential if you want them to stay happy and thrive. Make your world their ideal paradise, and they’ll want to raise a family and expand your community.
  • Decide how much help you want from the local guides, shopkeepers, and work force. Go it alone or get them involved – you choose.
  • Discover the secrets of more than 60 different candy-filled piñata animals to see them grow, change, fight, and even dance!
  • Guide a constantly evolving, vibrant world to keep your piñata happy and protect them from dangers threatening to break them open.
  • It’s not just new piñata species that are drawn to your world – untamed sour piñatas with bad attitudes and troublemaking ruffians do their worst to spoil your creation and must be dealt with.
  • Maintaining harmony within a growing community isn’t always easy when rivalries, illness, injuries, and even candy-spilling fights occur. If you turn your back, who knows what their piñatas will do?
  • Customize your world and your piñata animals to reflect your style and create a pet paradise unlike any other.
  • Via Windows LIVE, contact other gamers to lend a hand, lay down a competitive challenge or trade items.

    Cute, colorful, and enticing to look at. 3.7 Control
    PC controls function easier than a controller, but still suffer from some imperfections. 3.3 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    The voice acting in the game can be pretty grating on the nerves if you’re not a younger gamer. Otherwise, it’s a good mix of pleasing sound effects and backing tracks. 4.5 Play Value
    Another deep game which holds up over a long time and gives you back double what your put into it. 4.2 Overall Rating – Great
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

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