Game Review – Viva Pinata: Trouble In Paradise

Make no mistake, I liked the first Viva Pinata. I felt the game filled a gap in the XBox 360 library, providing a title that appealed to hardcore, casual, and young players… and you got to facilitate pinata cruelty.

As much as I liked it, there were some glaring shortcomings, and I hoped a sequel would provide some solutions.

Find out if things have gotten better inside.

For those of you who missed the first game, Viva Pinata places you in the role of a rancher/groundskeeper in a fantastical land populated by pinatas.

It’s your mission to create a garden that is attractive to native creatures, breed these creatures, then sell them off so they can be brutally murdered with a stick at a child’s party.

Fortunately for younger audiences, the murder is not shown, however you DO get to watch pinata ‘romance dances,’ the equivalent of pinata foreplay. The game has some dark undercurrents that are thankfully not obvious to young children, however, adults may appreciate these things.

Trouble In Paradise has been marketed as a full-blown sequel to Viva Pinanta, but it’s more of an incremental improvement. Think of it as an expansion pack, or possibly a version 1.5.

Gameplay has not changed much, with the notable exception of a streamlined toolset, allowing for easier access to purchasing seeds, tools, and for interacting with your pinatas.

 A more robust co-operative mode has been added, allowing two players to share a garden and split groundskeeping chores. Definitely a good addition for parents looking for a game to play with their young children.

On the darker side, also adding more content to the game, players now have the ability to leave their gardens, traveling to an arctic or desert area to trap unwitting pinatas with a big wooden trap, watch the pinata struggle pitifully, then catapulting them to the nearest party… where they will (presumably) be brutally murdered with a stick.

All of the original ‘too-cute’ creatures make an appearance, as well as a new menagerie of critters (30 in all), and for those who aren’t thrilled with time-based micromanagement, a new ‘just for fun’ mode is available. This allows players to have unlimited resources, no predators, and all the time in the world to build your perfect garden.

Trouble In Paradise is a budget title, clocking in at a reasonable $40. If you were a fan of the original, you probably pre-ordered the title. If you disliked Viva Pinata, there’s nothing here to change your mind… move along, nothing to see here.

Matt says: RENT IT

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