I never actually got to play the original Viva PiÃ±ata and because of the praise that the original got I was very excited to get my hands on the game second time around. To tell you the truth, I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean, how can one really enjoy building a garden and trying to entice paper-mache animals to take up residence in said garden. Quite a bit it seemsâ€¦ this game is addictive to say the least.
This time round Rare has giving you a reason to â€œcaptureâ€ and force-feed the lovable PiÃ±ata’s. In a failed attempt to steal the whole PiÃ±ata Island’s database of party animals, Prof. Pester and his dim-witted henchmen accidentally deleted the whole database. So it’s up to you, your garden & the very promiscuous PiÃ±atas to repopulate this database while stopping Prof. Pester & Co from destroying your garden and killing off your pets. The story however stays largely in the background.
The core gameplay is still the same but this time round Rare has tried to give players more incentive in capturing and feeding PiÃ±ata’s. They implemented a system of challenges, whereby you have to capture a PiÃ±ata and then send it off to a party. The challenges also usually have a secondary objective that you have to obtain before the animal can actually be sent off. This could be anything from maxing the animal’s candiosity to the PiÃ±ata being a baby. This helps as it gives you a definite objective opposed to just randomly building your garden.
Every time you do something new – like building a new plant, attracting a new specie of PiÃ±ata, getting a new resident – you earn experience points, this allows you to achieve ranks. As you achieve ranks, you gain more/better equipment and more and more land. The better equipment helps in maintaining your garden and obviously more land means more space for your garden, meaning more PiÃ±atas. In this iteration there are two new extra environments, the Dessert Desert & PiÃ±artic (both are non garden-able), where you can go to lay down traps and capture PiÃ±atas. Rare has also added 32 new species of paper animals for you to capture, train and overfeed.
Trouble in Paradise also includes four player co-op, both online and offline. Invite friends over to your garden, set permissions for what they can actually do and then share the workload. You can even send one of your friends to either of the other fields to go and trap a PiÃ±ata for the garden.
The graphics looks good. I experienced no noticeable clipping and the vivid colours of the PiÃ±ata’s are quite pretty. One thing that Rare did quite well is the PiÃ±ata’s themselves, they are just so damn cute and the introduction movie of each can only be called lovable. The voice acting on the other hand was a big disappointment. The helpers & shopkeepers can get quite irritating sometimes. I feel they could have used a lot less crappy jokes, especially since you hear the same few over and over.
Another addition to Trouble in Paradise is the PiÃ±ata Vision feature. By holding collectable cards up to your Xbox Live Vision Camera, you can import PiÃ±ata’s and items. I could not test this myself (as I don’t have a Vision Camera) but I believe that if this could pave the way for some great collectable content.
Viva PiÃ±ata: Trouble in Paradise is a very exciting and addictive game. The ability to play online with friends was one of the things fans wanted the most and will probably be the biggest selling point. If you were a fan of the original or someone that has not tried the Viva franchise yet, I highly recommend this game.
Gameplay: 8/10 [The addition of online play, the new areas & PiÃ±ata‘s makes this worth the buy]
Presentation: 9/10 [Damnâ€¦ but those PiÃ±ata‘s are cute]
Sound: 7/10 [The irritating voice acting spoiled this a bit]
Value: 9/10 [Can play hours and hours]
Overall: 8/10 [Quite addictive]
Last Updated: October 9, 2008