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Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise DS Review

11/05/2009 Family Eclectic Gamer Review
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Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise DS

Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise

Format:
DS

Genre:
Strategy

Buy/Support:
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Other GamePeople columnists have reviewed this from their perspective - huh?:
Family Guide Gamer (DS)
Teen Gamer (360)

After Animal Crossing Gamecube there wasn't really anything to fill the game gap for me.

Mario Galaxy Wii was good, but after 75 stars or so it got too hard and I gave up. I played My Sims Wii obsessively for a month or so, then had almost completed it when my game crashed and I couldn't save. I'd got bored by then anyway, it was just too repetitive.

However, when I noticed that Viva Pinata was coming to DS, my ears pricked up and I had to have it. Viva Pinata 360 is the only other game that I nearly bought a console for, but restrained myself as it really is a bit of an extravagance (I bought the game for my brother's 360 instead and had to make do with his reports!), but I really really wanted to play it.

So I splashed out on Pocket Paradise the other day and have very much enjoyed it from the start. Firstly I was pleased to see that you can have three gardens on one game card - great for me as the children always like playing these sorts of games too, but I like to have my own file! When the game starts you have a couple of tutorials led by different Pinata characters, who teach you the basics about moving around and tending your garden.

Viva Pinata 360 is the only other game that I nearly bought a console for.

Then it's down to you to create ideal conditions for different Pinatas to arrive, evolve, and romance one another. Some of them have special functions, too - for example the Moozipan (cows!) produce milk, which can then be made into cheese, etc.

There are characters in the garden who help you out along the way, from the shopkeeper to the house-builder, to the lady who comes and waters all your plants, among others.

As you progress through the game, you are occasionally taken into extra tutorial chapters which teach you extra skills at different stages - some of these I'd discovered for myself, but others were useful in order to get to the next level. I have unlocked the communication part of the game, so if a friend came over who also had a Pocket Paradise we could send Pinatas to one another using the DS to DS communication - that sounds fun but I haven't tried it yet, and it doesn't seem to be essential in completing the game.

Viva Pinata 360 is the only other game that I nearly bought a console for.

There is a useful in-game encyclopedia which has a lot of information about all the different Pinatas, and you can easily see which things you've achieved and which you still need to work on. There isn't too much skill needed to actually complete the game, it seems (I'm still in the middle of it), but, similarly to Animal Crossing: Wild World DS, you get the most out of it if you are well informed and know what each section of the game does, and which Pinata will appear under which conditions. For example, so that you can take a methodical approach and work through the game systematically.

So, anyway, although you can have three saves on one game file, the children haven't had a look in yet. Once I've completed it I might let them have a go too!

Written by Clare Sharpe

You can support Clare by buying Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise



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Clare Sharpe writes the Eclectic Gamer column.

"I think it's probably true that most of us have grown up with computer games - I have a dark and distant memory of some sort of black box with two controllers that allowed us to play an extremely primitive and pixelated game of tennis."


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