I first heard about Rare’s new Xbox 360 game Viva PiÃ±ata (read the IGN review) several months ago. The quick description of Viva PiÃ±ata is you are the master of a garden which you must tend. Having a good garden will attract wild PiÃ±atas (both good and bad). It is your job to attract the good ones, repel the bad ones, and make the ones who come to live in your garden happy. You must also “romance” your PiÃ±atas (to make baby PiÃ±atas). You can also experiment with them to make them different colors (or entirely new types). You can finally send them off to parties and even sell to earn “chocolate coins” to make a better garden and to buy them homes.
At the time I when I first heard about the game I was very skeptical. Rare has a hit (or slightly miss) track record with games, but, I have not been a huge fan of god-sim games. Sure, I nearly tanked a semester of final exams because Sim City can out at entirely the wrong time of year, but, since the original Sim City I haven’t been a big fan of the game type. I couldn’t get into Sim City 2 through 79. I didn’t really like The Sims. I don’t have Nintendogs (or Nintencats). I never bought a Tamaguchi. I did send some time with Rollercoaster Tycoon, but, this really isn’t my gaming genre. Even after Viva PiÃ±ata came out and started getting good reviews, I was skeptical. Even after all the gaming podcasts changed their tune from (pre-release) “it will be a stupid kids game” to (released) “wow, I am totally hooked, what a great game”. Finally, a friend got it and told me how fun it was, I decided to give it a try. Well, it has now been about 10 days and the missus and I are totally hooked – what a fun game. I have (something like) a level 23 garden, tons of Xbox Achievements, etc. This is a really fun game. Sure, it has a few problems – sometimes it isn’t obvious what a “hint” sound effect means, the “sales clerks” are annoyingly repetitive, and while I hardly ever plant grass but am constantly going to the store, I have a quick shortcut for grass and not one for the store. Oh well. On the whole I would agree it is a 9 points out of 10 game. Lots of fun with a ton of replay-ability.