Jeffrey Markiewicz On December 21, 2007 at 5:45 pm

Viva Piñata was the sleeper hit of 2006. It garnered a lot of critical acclaim, just not a lot of sales. Now leap forward a year and now we have Viva Piñata Party Animals at our doorstep. It’s not a sequel to our beloved game, but rather a party game choke-full of minigames for you to enjoy. Unfortunately the original developer Viva Piñata, Rare, is not at the helm of this title but rather Krome Studios. It seems that Microsoft has undertaken a philosophy similar to Disney. Use the best studio to make an excellent new property and then farm out the follow-ups to someone else.

This game boosts an impressive number of games, over 50 games and races. These range from pin the tail on the donkey to a burp boat race and traditional party game racing. While the minigames sound fun, largely they are fairly generic and not very fun. Most of the games don’t have enough depth to allow for a comeback, so one falter and you’re immediately out of first place. It’s understandable that every party game have its boring games but folks, there is no “twisted system” like in Fusion Frenzy that redeems the game. At least this is not the only component of the game, you also have racing. While it is pretty generic too, it’s actually fun. You can pick up a multitude of various powerups throughout the level which give you speed boosts or hinder your opponents. The only problem is that you only go around for a single lap, which significantly limits how long the race lasts. I would even go so far as to say that racing is the redeeming factor of this game except for one huge problem. This game only has one method of play, a randomized playlist of racing and minigames. This is the same whether you’re playing by yourself, a couple buddies on the same console, or online. Therefore there is no possible way to select your favorite racing track or minigame; you just have to hope it randomly comes up.

Viva Piñata Party Animals excels in one category. The graphics are beautiful. They are bright and colorful and really draw you into the game. If you played the original Viva Piñata you know what to expect from this title. The racing levels really shine throughout the game. The minigames don’t look as great but is understandable considering the nature of party games. Overall though, this is a beautiful game.

The sound is okay. Everything sounds like it should but nothing is stellar. The only thing that is a problem is the voiceovers. After playing the game for about 15 minutes, they’ll start to get repetitive. If you like the cartoon, it probably won’t be that bad but if you don’t, it might get annoying hearing the same thing over and over.

Every party game, by virtue will have awesome minigames, okay minigames, and bad minigames. It comes with the territory. Therefore people end up playing the best ones over and over but on Viva Piñata Party Animals this is not the case. First you don’t even have the option to choose the ones you want to play. Second none of the minigames fall into the category of awesome. While the racing isn’t the greatest thing ever, it’s pretty fun but sparsely littered through the randomized playlist. Overall the biggest problem with the game is just the lack of options; there is no way to get to your favorite things. There were no bugs to be found. It’s another technically good game that it just lacking in the fun department. Children who like Viva Piñata the cartoon will probably like this but if you just liked the original game, I would act like this game doesn’t exist just as Disney fans ignore their sequels. This might be an okay pickup for $20 or less but anything more you’d have to be a huge fan of the property to get your moneys worth.


The minigames are merely okay but get stale quickly. The racing can be fun but you have to trudge through the randomized playlist, which will eventually get stale and boring after the first playthrough.


The graphics are beautiful. The racetracks are nicely done and vibrant. The graphics unfortunately take a hit in the minigames.


The sounds are okay. Nothing spectacular. The announcers will get repetitive after the first couple games and eventually become annoying shortly thereafter.


If you’re a huge fan of Viva Piñata or thinking of getting the game for your child, wait for a price drop or rent it. The graphics are nice. The minigames are merely okay but get stale quickly. The racing can be fun with others. But unless you can get this game cheap, skip it.

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