Much like Dennis Quaid in Innerspace, this is a game that has been shrunk. Rare have basically taken their bizarre, colourful gardening sim and micro-sized it to make the jump from X360 to DS and it works fantastically.
If you've yet to check out Viva Pinata, you can currently do so for £7.99 by heading over to HMV. It's been cheaper, dipping by a couple of quid over the last six months or so, but it's also one of those games that certain retailers never seem to have in stock, so for now HMV remains your best bet, being nearly 32 cheaper than the nearest competitor.
Rare haven't made many must-have games in the last eight years since abandoning Nintendo's side for a spot in Microsoft's cheap motel, but Viva Pinata was a revelation. Giving you an unsightly patch of land and encouraging you to turn it into a lush and verdant garden paradise, the game's charm was in it's seemingly simply premise and cutesy presentation with the colourful critters' territorial behavioural patterns offering plenty of scope for Rare's more universal brand of light humour. However, all of this belied a deeply complex game that could steal time away from children and adults alike and delight both in equal measure.
I loved the game on the Xbox 360 and it works even better the second time around on the DS. The stylus is key here, offering an interface that's easy to use and incredibly intuitive, especially with the implementation of the new overhead map. On top of that, Rare have made the game more accessible to those youngsters who might have found the full game too overwhelming by including a 'Playground' mode that removes all of the garden's baddies and clears out a few of the obstacles to make tending to your little plot an enjoyable pleasure.
Bored of grey? Bored of realism and crushing over-seriousness? Well Rare might have the answer for you.