Proof that ex-Nintendo second-party developers Rare are still alive and kicking, Viva Piñata stormed onto the Xbox 360 and captivated gmers hearts with a life sim that was both incredibly addictive, brightly coloured and easy to pick up and play. 2008's incarnation Pocket Paradise is less of a new game and more of a shrinking of the original for the DS and, considering the popularity of the latter and just how much fun it was to play, there's very little wrong with that.
A perfect stocking filler for kids and adults alike, you can now pick up a copy for just £5.99 from Play.com, saving you a couple of pounds from the nearest competitor (HMV - £7.99) and meaning you can indulge your sweet-filled gardening fantasies for little more than a fiver thanks to Play's free delivery.
Viva Piñata's charm is in its simplicity: you are tasked with turning an unsightly plot of land into a beautiful garden and thereby enticing candy-stuffed animals to set up home and spawn. It's all very relaxed and carefree with no strict objectives as such except for increasing the value of your organic real-estate and attracting more piñata inhabitants. There are little maze-driven mini-games for when the piñata get together to mate, and you'll spend time driving off wild rampaging Ruffians and sour piñata that attempt to make your garden's residents sick and sometimes eat them. You'll have to break up the odd neighbourly fight between residents and make sure that you're garden is adorned with the best flora and fauna to attract the rare species of piñata.
I own the Xbox 360 original and I have to say that I found to be an incredibly charming little game. The DS version is even better, thanks to a handful of new piñata thrown in from Trouble in Paradise, but more because the entire game is controlled via the stylus. Everything feels intuitive, from drawing grass to navigating the new overhead map. There's also a new mode entitled 'Playground' that's perfect for younger players as it simply removes the Ruffians and other obstacles from the game.
If you're looking for a game that offers a completely different experience to the grey-soaked, flash, bang, wallop big-budget games that seem to be flooding the market recently you'd do well to pick up a copy of this. It's one of the best games on the DS in my opinion, and at £5.99 it's an absolute steal.
Thanks to Rhys135 at HotUKDeals