Viva Pinata Preview
Main Entry: vi·va
Etymology: Italian & Spanish, long live, from 3d person singular present subjunctive of vivere to live.
Main Entry: pi·Ã±a·ta
Variant(s): or pi·na·ta
Etymology: Spanish piÃ±ata, literally, pot.
A decorated vessel (as a pottery jar) filled with candies, fruits, and gifts and hung from the ceiling to be broken with sticks by blindfolded persons as part of especially Latin-American festivities (as at Christmas or for a birthday party)
If you put those two words in one sentence, you come up with Viva PiÃ±ata of all things. No, before you say it, I am not having a bad case of cheese dreams, but I get the feeling that maybe RARE are having a few. When people think about UK Developer RARE they think N64 and Goldeneye or maybe Banjo Kazooie but one thing people know about RARE is that they are not shy when it comes to making odd but strangely addictive games. Many are still waiting for that old-school genius to appear on the 360 and even though Perfect Dark: Zero was good, it was lacking that Rare flare. This is where their next project comes in: Viva Pinata.
Going by the dictionary definition at the top, it does give you a rough idea of what this game will be about but those words do not even scrape the paper coated surface of Viva PiÃ±ata. While a game based around battering paper animals and feeding on their chocolate innards may not actually sound that great, RARE are taking a different route for this title. Come with me now into the world of Viva PiÃ±ata. Don’t forget your sticks.
Imagine a world full of PiÃ±ata’s. No, not just lifeless papier-mache animals waiting to be beaten to death by kids but real life PiÃ±ata’s (if there is such a thing) They live, breath and move like real animals. There are over 60 species of PiÃ±ata’s that inhabit this world, from ducks to mice, cows, bats, all manner of paper based animals but just playing a game where all the animals just move around would be a little dull. So RARE have thrown this mix of papier mache and Pokemon into a bowl, added some god sim and a touch of TV program (come to that later folks) and out comes Viva PiÃ±ata. RARE want players to craft a world to their own desires and tastes in order to attract different species of PiÃ±atas. Duck Pinata’s will want water and some grass, so if you build it, they will come! On the other hand, Fox PiÃ±ata’s are not that fussed about grass, they want to eat other things… like Mice PiÃ±ata’s, so you need to figure out how to attract Mice PiÃ±ata’s in order to satisfy your Fox ones. Players will have to tweak and construct their world in order to attract more PiÃ±ata’s and also to make sure they are all happy and contented. Now Viva PiÃ±ata plays like a god sim where you have to balance your animal races so you don’t make one variety extinct by attracting other types that eat them all. Sure you may love this idea but you have more than your own homicidal papier mache tendencies to worry about.
A world would not be a world without a small chunk of evil in it. In your PiÃ±ata world, you will spent hours crafting and nurturing your beasts, only for a wild PiÃ±ata to come around and start scoffing them down! Still got your stick? Time to reenact all your Whacking Day thoughts and go and bash the living choc out of those vile, if still cute evil PiÃ±atas. Hit them till their chocolate innards run through the streets! Ahem. Looking after your world will be a full time job as you craft the world to suit your needs, batter evil PiÃ±ata’s on the head to protect your own paper babies but you will also have to deal with other people coming to your world. Yes, Viva PiÃ±ata will make use of Xbox Live by letting your friends or enemies visit your world and see how it is done. RARE have yet to announce what visitors can do apart from looking at your world. Will they be able to attack your Pinata’s? Will it turn into a RTS game where each player controls a vast army of Pinata’s in order to meet out paper based justice? Maybe inflicting paper cuts or tooth rot could be special weapons but RARE is sure to bring something new to the mix. Rumours also abound that there will be a co-op mode which will allow friends to tend and nurture the world together! Sounds like Gardener’s World to me. With a Christmas 2006 release on the cards, there is still plenty of time for RARE to add their magical touch. More details are sure to come out at E3 but whatever they are, I am sure they will be great.
I mentioned the TV program earlier and this is where RARE, Microsoft and 4 Kids Entertainment are really turning on the magic. 4 Kids Entertainment were behind the likes of Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! as they introduced a vast amount of kids to these new cartoon heroes. They are hoping to release that magic formula once again by producing a Viva PiÃ±ata cartoon which will air roughly the same time as the game is launched. The idea behind this is that people who watch the cartoon series will get tips and ideas on how to attract certain types of PiÃ±ata’s to your world and this includes the stars of the Viva PiÃ±ata show. The show is bound to be followed by toys, lunchboxes, clothes all manner of Viva PiÃ±ata related goodies.
Even though the game does have a very cartoon look to it, there is no denying that it looks pretty amazing. For papier mache creatures, they are realistically detailed and the world looks stunning as well. What is odd though is that many of the players of this game may not actually be children. It may be the older gamers that may get into Viva PiÃ±ata because of the world building aspect, the nurturing of animals or the battering of those animals with stick. Which ever gamer you are, I am sure Viva PiÃ±ata will have a lot to offer games players. New, exciting and different is always good right? Keep an eye on this title and get ready to swing your stick when Christmas hits.
Originally Written By: Barrie Rogers