Friday, October 17, 2008

Viva Pinata continues with Trouble in Paradise

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"Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise," a Microsoft Xbox 360 exclusive, doesn't stray far from the core game play that made Microsoft's original "Viva Pinata" so popular. It is still an ecosystem simulation in which you care for animated pinatas that fill up with candy. You still plant seeds and tend to a garden to attract pinatas, just this time around the game mechanics have been streamlined and there's new content to create a richer experience. This version is even more family-friendly than the first, with an easy-to-use "Just for Fun" mode.

The story behind this game is that pesky Professor Pester tried to steal the database of all the pinatas, but he bungled the job and deleted all the vital information on these magical creatures. Your job is to plant gardens that will entice the 100 or so different pinatas to your garden. If you meet their needs, they will be happy and fill up with candy so that you can send them off to a party. By attending a party, that pinata's information is then replaced in the database.

There are two ways to play this game: in the standard mode or Just for Fun. In both modes, you plant seeds, water and fertilize seedlings, and then wait to see which animals will venture into your garden. The basic concept is that different plants entice different pinatas. Since this is an ecosystem, some pinatas will be attracted to your garden because they like to eat the other pinatas already there. You also have the ability to create different terrains, including ponds, sand and snow.

Caring for pinatas is at the heart of this game. Each pinata has "residence" requirements, which may be as simple as having three poppy plants. Once those requirements are met, a visiting pinata will become a resident in a visually exciting video where it turns from black and white into a colorful resident. In addition to residence requirements, each species has more demanding romancing requirements. You also need to make sure your pinatas are happy, a state represented by their candiosity meter. Candiosity can be earned by naming them, or leading them to their favorite food. But not all pinatas are compatible, so you may have fights if you don't separate incompatible pinatas.[Source: USA Today]

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