• games
  • Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise
Mark Mazzei

wakalaka
  • System: Xbox 360
  • Publisher: Microsoft
  • Genre: Simulation
  • [extra data]

From the get-go, the original Viva Piñata held so much promise and joy to those 360 owners willing to shy away from the general demographic that's plagued the original Xbox since 2001. It was something new for Rare, and for the first time in a long time, the game found favor within the tough and sometimes rather unreasonable critics. Before the announcement of a sequel, however, there were already promises and claims of downloadable content to enhance the life of the game, much like Expert Mode in Kameo and the extra maps in Perfect Dark Zero.

However, as time passed and the downloadable content proposed near the game’s release turned out to be a bunch of hats that were locked within the disc, it was clear that the content planned for Viva Piñata post-release would never be met.

When prompted on what the VP team would work on next, all the comments in return were that they were working on something to satisfy fans of the game. With downloadable content out of the question, some fans logically assumed that Viva Piñata would get a sequel. In May 2008 Trouble in Paradise was officially revealed in conjunction with Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts.

Professor Pester with a group of ruffians and sour piñatas

You Won’t Find Cheeseburgers In This Paradise

This title is more story oriented than the first one. Professor Pester, disgusted by the maximum candiosity accrued from the former worn down garden that players tended from the first game, planned to steal the computer records from Piñata Island. Instead, he ended up deleting everything in typical bumbling villain style. The objective of the game is, through collecting more piñatas, to restore the records to Piñata Island.

One of the biggest aspirations for the new title is also one of Rare’s first(s) from a game of theirs. Trouble in Paradise works in conjunction with the 360’s Vision Camera and Vision Cards to upload piñatas, weather, toys, and items to the game. Relatively easy to use, you can scan a card at any time and it’ll appear in-game within a matter of time. To make things easier, there is no need for an actual physical card: as long as the code is on, say, an iPod, Zune, or even a printed piece of paper, the game will register whatever it is you decide to scan and implement it in-game. Very nifty.

In addition to the massively advertised Vision Camera, there are more features that are greatly welcomed in the sequel: Co-op, both online and off, is more interactive in this game compared to its predecessor. Not only that, but Co-op can be played with 4 players at most, whether it be on the couch, or friends from around the world. The host is responsible for varying levels of power for the other players. Depending on how trustworthy (or not) you deem your friends, you can give them three levels of access, which range from the simple and menial tasks to the more capable jobs of expert gardeners.

Some of the new species

New to Trouble in Paradise in-game is the option to travel to both sand and snow-themed areas. Unfortunately, while you can’t have gardens in said areas, you are able to trap whatever piñata you find thanks to the icons that show up on every piñata. They tell you what is required of them to be happy. Or in the foreign piñata’s cases, trapped. While it may make some of you sad to not have a snow or sand garden, you’re still able to “sow” snow or sand in the main garden to accustom your captured piñatas. After all, Pengums can only survive so long in a tropical environment.

There is also a new mode called “Just For Fun”, which as the title implies, lets you fool around with gardens and piñatas without worrying about the curving difficulty of the main mode and the money that comes alongside it. While not targeted for the core gamer, it’s sure to entertain many a young child before they take the tougher challenge that Trouble in Paradise is sure to show.

Add new tricks, new piñatas, and new music by the formerly Rare-employed Grant Kirkhope, this game aims to appeal to both fans of the original and newcomers. Set to release in conjunction with Pocket Paradise very soon, MundoRare will be sure to fill your reading fun with First Impressions and Reviews post-release. Until then, why not check out our exclusive E3 Impressions while you wait for the day when you can Romance Dance again?

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