Xbox 360 Review: Viva Piñata 2 – Trouble in Paradise

Can Rare make you want to visit Piñata Island once more?

The original team behind “Viva Piñata” has reunited to bring gamers “Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise,” the newest Piñata adventure that invites gamers to return to magical Piñata Island.

Unfortunately, not all is well on the island, as Professor Pester along with his gang of Ruffians have wiped out Piñata Central’s computer records, which poses a threat to parties everywhere. To help Piñata Central, players must gradually rebuild the computer database by sending Piñatas at full candiosity to parties all around the world. While thwarting Professor Pester’s evil plot, players still build and maintain Piñata gardens – using their creativity and imagination to attract, trap, protect, train and manage more than 100 different Piñata species.

Available exclusively on Xbox 360, “Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise” reinvigorates a colorful and engaging gaming experience on the Xbox 360 platform. Now with full cooperative and online gameplay modes, the “Viva Piñata” franchise opens its doors even wider with a new game that provides hours of fun for gamers of all ages, fans of the animated series and animal lovers alike.

The first Viva Piñata was a great game; it was one of my guilty pleasures of last year. I know I shouldn’t like things that are cute and cuddly, but VP had a charm to it that was hard to deny for even the most hardcore gamer. The sequel adds more to the experience such as cards that can drop Piñatas into the game by holding it upto the Live Vision camera, there are other areas to explore like a desert and a snowfield.

Where “Trouble in Paradise” falters is that it feels more of the same game, I mean that more than anything. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed my time with VP: TIP, but it felt all too familiar instead of feeling like a totally new game. You still romance Piñatas by reaching standards in the encyclopaedia such as making them eat a turnip, build them a house and get them together…then complete the mini-game to make them successfully do the romance dance. The mini-game to do it is a bit different, but the goal ultimately remains the same.

All the shops are back; you can still buy and sell many items. The garden begins to get bigger around Level 10; at first…it’s tiny and becomes overcrowded quickly. Luckily you can block certain Piñatas coming into your garden, which comes in handy if you are trying to build together a family of a specific breed that won’t get taken out by another Piñata anymore. It’s a nice touch and gives a helping hand to us gardeners.

Pester can block some Piñatas coming into your garden, but you can destroy the barricades…although that won’t stop him, he always seems to have something up his sleeve. Then there’s the ruffians who litter everywhere and try to kill your Piñatas, it can be annoying but it’s manageable if you know what you are doing. Online functionality is a much needed addition and makes the package all the more enjoyable. Swapping Piñatas with friends is a good way of adding some real value and online co-op helps take the weight of your shoulders as keeping track of all the Piñatas can be troublesome.

The game doesn’t really look any different from the original; the animals are still as “adorable” as ever and will please fans of the franchise. The music feels similar also, but it’s catchy and may stay in your head for a while. Voice-acting can be irritating but it hardly takes away the fact that Trouble in Paradise is a good game.

The Verdict

Viva Piñata 2: Trouble in Paradise is a great improvement upon the original game, but it doesn’t add enough new content to make it a must-have for veterans. If you missed out on the first, then pick up this instead and have a brilliant experience on Piñata Island.