Friday, October 10, 2008

Viva Pinata

This week I'm borrowing Viva Pinata for the Xbox 360.

There is a very Zen beauty to this game. Not only is the attitude of the game colorful and fun, but the simple, repetitive actions are very soothing. If you don't know much about the game, it reminds me of Harvest Moon since you are essentially creating a garden and "raising" animals.

There are numerous elements to the game. First is just general land management, breaking up dry soil, planting grass, growing trees, creating a pond, putting up fence. There are plenty of options for creating a certain look and feel to your garden area that will make it aesthetically pleasing to your tastes. Some of the pinatas are attracted to certain elements, so by creating a mix of all the options available you will slowly pull together a large ecosystem of creatures.

The second element are the pinatas themselves. They are essentially animals, just in pinata form which makes the food chain more child friendly. They visit and then will reside in your garden if you meet certain requirements. Then you can find ways to "get them in the mood" and they will breed and an egg will be delivered that will hatch a new pinata of that type. There are some mini games associated with this, one that is like operation in that you have to guide one pinata to the other without hitting any of the bad guys that line the perimeter.

Third are the towns people. They offer advice and services that will benefit you as you create your garden. One runs a general shop, one will build homes for your pinatas, one will find pinatas in the wild for you, another hosts an Inn where you can hire laborers. There are more that provide a variety of other services as you continue to progress.

The game is more addictive than you'd think and I found myself saying, "I'll just do this one more thing before I stop playing..." over and over again. It appeals to the perfectionist inside of us who always sees more potential and another thing to do, giving us a garden filled with opportunity to craft and create to our own liking.

If you're looking for something playful and fun to kill some time, this is the game for you.

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