Review by Elranzer

Reviewed: 10/28/08

Viva Pinata On-the-Go!

Introduction

Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise is a nearly straight port of the original Xbox 360 title, with a few elements from the sequel (Trouble in Paradise) thrown in. Take the original game and cram it into the DS, change the controls to touch screen and you get this game.

Story [1/10]

Non-existent. So why bother commenting? The original game on the Xbox 360 at least had a sorta story, with an explanation for why Professor Pestor and the Sours exist, and the whole thing with Leafos (who is absent in this game) and the original gardener. The DS version is pretty much a straight up sandbox game. That could be a good thing, depending on your perspective of this game. If you played the original and hated skipping through all the cut scenes, you may welcome this change.

Graphics [9/10]

Wow, this looks great! The game of course does not look anything like the HD graphics of the 360 or PC version, but it’s one of the best looking DS games. Much like Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (which transitioned the Gamecube graphics excellently to DS), the Xbox 360 type graphics transition well to the DS, while adhering to the system’s limits. The FMVs look pretty bad though, as they’re very compressed and it shows.

Music [3/10]

There’s not much music in the game, and what exists is not the memorable. It’s not terrible, it’s just there. Probably not a soundtrack you would bother putting on your iPod. But this is not one of the main factors of this game anyway.

Gameplay [10/10]

The gameplay is the same as the original’s, just on the go (and with touch controls). Also, on the second screen, your encyclopedia is always open so you won’t have to keep switching back and forth between screens like the Xbox 360 version, a welcome addition to this game. For this game, DS style touch controls and second screen are not gimmicky but in fact an improvement over the original. The control change is especially welcome for those who bought the PC version, hoping they would employ mouse controls. While the game adds a few new species from Trouble in Paradise, it lacks many variations of the pinatas from the original (there is only one color variation now each, for example). If you’ve never played it before, your main goal is to raise and collect as many types of pinatas (along with plants and other stuff), basically to complete your encyclopedia. It’s the perfect game for obsessive compulsives! Think of it like a blended mix of SimCity and Pokemon.

Replay Value [?/10]

As a sandbox game that never “ends” per say, it is tough to rate this aspect. You could start over if you wish, or just keep playing your current garden. It really makes no difference. If you’ve completed your encyclopedia and want more, start a new game to fill it in again.

Conclusion

Much like Animal Crossing: Wild World, this game improves upon the original by adding the one thing it needed: the ability to take the game with you. While the graphics are inferior to the Xbox 360 version, and it has less variety in pinata mutations (though slightly more species in general), the addition of being portable makes it a must-have.

Final Verdict: 9/10

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise (US, 09/08/08)

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