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Viva Pinata: Party Animals

2 Ratings: 3.0
Simulation and Television Shows video game for the Xbox 360

It's party time! Control the fame, fortune, and destiny of all your favorite Viva Pinata characters. With more than 40 mini games and a dozen foot races, this game is a blast with special bonuses in all sorts of exotic and hazard-filled locations. … see full wiki

Console: Xbox 360
Genre: Party
Release Date: 2006
1 review about Viva Pinata: Party Animals

Viva Pinata Party Animals - Party with your favorite Pinata Characters!

  • Nov 8, 2007
Rating:
+4
Pros: Lots and lots of minigames, kids will love to play their favorite characters

Cons: The games are varied, but a little repetitive

The Bottom Line: Viva Pinata Party Animals is a surprisingly fun party game for kids and adults of all ages

The first Viva Pinata game was released to rave reviews, but somehow didn’t connect with the target demographic as much as Rare would have liked. What was originally mean to be a kids’ game, ended up being a fairly complex sandbox game that appealed to adults more than kids. So this year, Viva Pinata Party Animals is out to change that. Developer Krome has been given the task of taking the IP and making a kid-friendly party game. Did they stay true to the characters? Is it is fun for kids?

Read on, dear reader....

•• Story ••
There really isn’t much of a story here. On the colorful Piñata Island, the piñatas are having an Olympics of wacky events. It’s simply a fun and friendly competition presented like a televised sporting event, complete with annoying parrot announcer.

•• Gameplay ••
VP:PA is really a bunch of minigames, like almost all party games out there. While it can be played solo, it’s much more fun to play with someone else. My particular play companion is my son, a trigger happy 8 year old who, honestly, is not very skilled at video games. So getting him to have fun with any game is a challenge indeed.

When you first start the game, you have your choice of short, medium or long contests. Obviously the length of the contest will dictate how many minigames you play. But contest’s minigames are divided up by races. These are third party view races that decide the minigames’ bonuses. So the person who wins the race will get an extra bonus at the end that end of each minigame afterward. So if you do well in races, but not so well in the minigames afterward, you may still come out on top due to race bonuses alone.

Each match has at least 3 races with a few minigames in between. Longer matches have more races and more minigames. The game is total has over 55 matches and races. That is a heck of a large amount of things to do with the kids.

However, it becomes clear as you progress, some of the games are close duplicates of other games. So while in one game, you may need to shoot the tails onto stuffed zebras on a carousel, another game may have you shoot tails on stuffed zebras that are floating in space. Same idea, same execution, different setting.

What sets this game apart from other generic party games (Fuzion Frenzy, anyone?) is the sheer goofiness of it all. Not only are you controlling animated Pinatas, but the games consist of picking up candy, knocking each other around and using the power of burping to sail boats. But as funky as some of the minigames get, they are all based in some sort of game mechanics that most gamers are familiar with. There’s the dance-dance revolution style of hitting buttons as they fall on the screen, target shooting, rapid button pattern hitting, running on circular plates picking up candy, and many others. So while the games themselves may seem familiar, the sheer fun of the characters makes it feel fresh.

One of the complaints of the first Viva Pinata was that you couldn’t control the characters. And since Viva Pinata is a very successful Saturday morning cartoon, that’s all the kids wanted to do. And now they can. You can choose to be one of 8 characters from the show, either male or female. Devotees of the show will instantly be familiar with these guys and gals. As far a controls go, the game is fairly easy to pick up and play. Each minigame has instructions at the beginning, so the kids should be able to pick up and play. My son often forgot the goal of the game and had more fun shoving daddy’s character around than picking up the candy that would have led him to victory.

So far, my kids and I have racked up many hours playing this game and the enthusiasm doesn’t seem to be letting up. Part of that is because the minigames are trickled out. As you progress through the game, more minigames are unlocked. This is a great way to give the game legs. Whenever the little ticker appears saying we’ve unlocked a new challenge, the kids get really excited to see what new thing they get to do. I wonder how long we’ll have to play the game for all the minigames to be unlocked.

•• Graphics ••
The original Viva Pinata had excellent graphics, vivid and colorful. With VP:PA, we also get the same color scheme and vivaciousness, but on a much smaller scale. Since the game needs to hold 4 players on the screen at any one time, the camera is very far away so it’s tough to see how well the characters are detailed. The races give you a closer look and show that the graphics are OK, but not great. The environments are still lush and colorful and there is always an abundance of effects. So the graphics do the job, but it won’t give Gears of War a graphical run for it’s money.

•• Sound ••
Aurally, this game is an interactive cartoon. Not only do we have the theme song from the show, we have the cast from the show reprising their respective roles. But the game really shows it’s stuff during the games. There is a really crazy landscape of sound. Not only is the music high energy, but the speakers are filled with the noise, grunts, clicks, and whirs that you’d come to expect from a video game based on a cartoon. Add in a color announcer and you’ve got some fun sounds.

•• Multiplayer ••
This is the only party game I know that allows for online multiplayer over Live. This is a real win for players and the Live experience mirrors the same-console experience. You can play matches with others online, get points, and compete for who is the coolest piñata on the island. I didn’t play a tremendous amount of online gameplay, but I did hit it enough to see that the performance was just fine and there was no complaining of lag. While online gameplay won’t get many people to buy it, it certainly will give it legs. As a nice touch, the manual has a large amount of information for parents about keeping their kids safe while playing online.

•• Parents Should Know ••
This game is rated E for everyone and is completely appropriate for kids and adults of all ages, unless you are mortally offended by burping.

•• Conclusion ••
Viva Pinata Party Animals is a surprisingly fun party game for kids and adults of all ages


Recommended:
Yes

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