Nintendo DS Review: Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise

Piñatas invade the DS

Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise is coming to Nintendo DS! Based on the highly-rated Xbox 360 game, Pocket Paradise puts you in charge of a neglected garden on Piñata Island. Which you can then turn into a piñata paradise by tending to all aspects of cleaning the garden, growing and maintaining vegetation, caring for and breeding piñatas, as well as attracting new piñata species.

Viva Piñata Pocket Paradise for Nintendo DS Features:

  • Seven brand all-new piñata species, exclusive to Pocket Paradise. Each with new requirements, houses and unique cut scenes.
  • Intuitive control system that takes full advantage of the Nintendo DS touch screen and stylus, allowing you to interact with your piñata.
  • Tutorial videos featuring the stars of the Fox 4Kids Viva Piñata TV series. Including Hudson Horstashio, Fergy Fudgehog and Paulie Pretztail.
  • New Playground mode that allows you to create a lush garden full of exciting and exotic piñatas in a very short amount of time.
  • Trade rare piñatas with your friends by using the Nintendo DS local wireless connection.

    The Viva Piñata games on the 360 have been met a level of success, but the sales were never really reflective of that. Maybe because it was hard to judge who the game was meant to appeal to, the game is harder for kids to play but appeals to them because of the cute creatures while adults will enjoy the gameplay, yet probably not the Piñatas. The world of Piñata Island finally comes to the DS; will this be the one worth smashing to find candy?The game takes you by the hand to let you know how to play the game through a few tutorial missions; it’s helpful for those who have absolutely no idea what Viva Piñata is all about. Once you’ve done that you can jump into a new garden and begin enticing Piñatas into your garden. All the main features from the console games are here, you buy houses…plant seeds, dig holes and ponds, romancing and so on. The real difference in the game is how it handles.

    Pocket Paradise makes very good use of the touch screen; literally everything can be done in it. From moving the camera to selecting items and Piñatas, you can do it all with the trusty stylus. You can also use the d-pad to pan the screen while you do something like selecting, its upto you how you control it. It definitely feels more fluid and responsive than the other games, but it still feels very similar. The real problem is that those who have played every Viva Piñata title (excluding the awful Party Animals) know that they are basically the same and Pocket Paradise is no different. It offers a few new species of Piñatas and touch-screen support, but that’s it.

    Of course, not everyone owns a DS and an Xbox 360…so depending on which you own, you are sure to have some great fun with either title. Personally, I loved both versions but found that the DS version was much more fun due to the easier controls. It certainly won’t appeal to everyone out there, but those who are the slightest bit intrigued by Viva Piñata need to try this one out.

    The game makes good use of the dual-screens and visual power of the DS; it manages to add some videos into the tutorials for younger gamers. The garden and Piñata models are well detailed, the only thing that lets it down slightly are the icons that you select to get an item like a spade, they are very small and poorly designed. It’s probably the only thing that lets the presentation down though. The classic Piñata music is included, but it can sometimes be very quiet…so I’d suggest putting on some headphones so you hear it like it was intended.

    The Verdict

    Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise doesn’t differ from the console original or its sequel Trouble in Paradise, but those who have missed out on either and are looking for another great DS title should consider picking this gem up.