Viva Piñata is a 2006 Xbox 360 life simulation game developed by Rare Ltd. and published by Microsoft. In November 2007 it was ported to the PC as a "Games for Windows" title by Climax Group. The game features bright and colorful visuals and is geared toward children and adults alike. Its open-ended gameplay allows players to set their own objectives and goals and complete them at their own pace.
The object of Viva Piñata is to transform your small, garbage ridden plot of land into a garden full of life. To do this, you must use the tools given to you and various items purchasable at the store to attract piñata to your garden. Every piñata has a specific need you must fulfill for them to first appear, visit and then finally choose to reside in your garden. You can usually fulfill their needs by having your garden customized in a certain way, but there are also other things they may need like having certain species of piñata already living in your garden or reaching a certain gardener level. There are a lot of ways to customize your garden including growing plants like flowers, trees, and vegetables, digging ponds, building houses for your piñata, and buying things like fences and paths at the store.
The player's first tool. The shovel is used in every aspect of gameplay and has a variety of uses, some of which must be unlocked as the player progresses through the game. Some things you can do with the shovel are:
- Dig holes for seeds
- Dig soil out for ponds
- Smash rocks
- Attack and kill piñata
- Poke piñata
- Cut grass
- Whack hard soil to make it fertile ground
- Shake trees and shrubs to make them drop their fruit
Essential for any aspiring gardener. Like the shovel, the watering can can be upgraded. The watering can isn't just used for the most obvious of reasons.
- Water vegetables, trees, bushes, etc.
- Sprinkle water on piñata that enjoy being sprinkled with water to make them happier
- Sprinkle water on piñata to distract them or deter them from performing a certain action
These are used to grow the various plants, flowers, and trees found in your garden. You are provided with a grass seed packet, which can be upgraded. In addition to grass you can purchase other types of seeds at the General Store.
There are over 60 different species of piñata, all based off real-life species or fictional animals like unicorns. Piñata all have candy related or junk food related names, for example the bee-like piñata is named Buzzlegum which sounds like bubblegum. Every piñata is different and they each have their own unique characteristics and needs.
There are also eight different sour piñata in the game which you must tame by meeting their different requirements. Sour piñata are bad piñata who are usually red and black in appearance and they try to harm your garden and the piñata in it. As you get deeper into the game, new sour piñata will show up so usually turning a sour piñata good is a high priority to keeping order in your garden. Turning a sour piñata will result in being awarded a piece of the tower of sour and not having to worry about that sour piñata anymore.
There are many ways you can interact with your piñata in your garden. One ability you have is being able to breed your piñata. This is called romancing in the game and each piñata has certain requirements you must meet before you can romance them. Along with filling these requirements you must also have at least two of the same species in your garden and the piñata house specific to them. When all this is done the piñata will have a heart appear over it, which means it's ready to romance. To start you must then select two piñata with hearts, after which a mini game will pop up. In the mini game you get to directly control the piñata, maneuvering it through a maze of bombs to reach it's mate on the other side. You have a set number of lives in the maze, the amount of which being dependant on how many of the species is in the garden, and you will lose a life if you hit a bomb. If you lose a life you exit the mini game and must try again later. If you complete the maze the piñata enter their house and do a romance dance which is a cutscene of the two piñata dancing. After the dance is over an egg is delivered and a new piñata will hatch.
Piñata can be customized with numerous clothes and accessories available at Petula's store in the village. Accessories can also have other uses, for example, buying a beekeepers hat for a Buzzlegum allows them to produce honey. Some piñata also have different color variations which you can change by reaching a certain requirement.
As the players level increases, new shops open up in the village that can be seen in the background of your garden. These shops are owned by shopkeepers who sell items and services like building pinãta houses or upgrades for your tools. These shops have to be unlocked and their inventory will increase as the players level rises.
Costolot's General Store
The multi-purpose shop where you'll spend the majority of your chocolate coins. Costolot sells fertilizer, seeds, fruit, vegetables, produce, candy, fences, seed packets, watering can upgrades, and garden decorations. These are most of the day-to-day items you will need to attract piñata and complete challenges.
This huntress is able to catch piñata who you once attracted to your garden. Once they've been spotted around your garden you can get her to catch one for you. You need to make sure you build the things the piñata needs or else it will get sad and leave after a while.
Ivor starts showing up around your garden when the player reaches level 12. His presence is annoying and you can make him go away by giving him a few chocolate coins. After he is given 1000 coins in total, he will start his own shop selling products he found while wandering around peoples gardens. He sells upgrades for your watering can and shovel. Other items he sells are quite expensive and usually have special powers.
Miss Petula's Paper Pets
Here you can purchase accesories for your piñata, and some piñata which can only be purchased through this store. She can also send purchased accessories to your friends over Xbox Live.
A contractor who can make houses for your piñata. He also makes special buildings like mines and sharing sheds for your helpers.
Viva Piñata had it's own TV series spin-off from the game. Produced by 4Kids Production, Viva Piñata featured the adventures of Hudson Horstachio and his friends.
Minimum System Requirements
- Microsoft® Windows® XP SP2/Vista®
- PC with 1.8 GHz equivalent or higher processor
- 1 GB of system RAM
- 10 GB available hard disk space
- NVIDIA 5900, ATI 9600 or above video card
- Sound card, speakers or headphones required for audio
- Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device
Xbox 360 Game Installation
Viva Piñata requires 5.0GB of space to install on an Xbox 360 HDD.