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Viva Piñata Preview for Nintendo DS
         
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Viva Piñata 

Preview for Nintendo DS


- Alan Ham, " mastacheef ", Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 01, 2007 

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Title:
Viva Piñata
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System:
Nintendo DS
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Genre:
Virtual Life
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Publisher:
Microsoft Game Studios
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Developer:
Rare
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Release:

..............................................
Online:
No
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ESRB:
Everyone (E)
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Viva Piñata Screenshot Gallery

Viva Piñata Screenshot Gallery

Viva Piñata Screenshot Gallery

Admit it. You are intrigued by Viva Piñata, that is, if you haven't played it already. Don't be ashamed, embrace it! It was a fun and well thought out game aimed for kids, but still playable for the older folks. While not as great (arguably) as Pokémon, it did have its moments and has now spawned a few spin-offs and sequels. And heck, even a TV show; doesn’t that tell you something about its popularity? It simply has those drawing powers – that balance between simplicity and depth – that weird but somehow familiar art and design. That "je ne sais quoi" that has you playing a game full of cute looking animals filled with candy. Because of all this, it's really a no-brainer that Rare would bring the game over to the most popular handheld platform: the Nintendo DS.

Developed in-house by Rare's handheld squad, the game is, at its core, the same game as it was on the Xbox 360. The entire list of creatures that appeared on the 360 version is all back, along with a few more goodies thrown into the mix. Of course, the gameplay will be altered a bit to accommodate the DS' unique features.

First off, the view has a changed a bit and is a little more top-down than the original. That's not to say that you are looking straight down however, and from the looks of the initial screenshot, it will be a lot like the views that most RTSs have today and will fit well with the DS.

The upper screen, judging by the released screenshot, shows a breakdown of your overall garden terrain, as well as any announcements (achievements or new piñata visitors). On the upper right corner of the screen is your clock, money, and other stats.

The stylus is reported to play a huge role in the gameplay, something a lot of DS titles have been lacking lately. From what has been said so far, it appears that all the gardening options such as digging, watering and planting will all involve the stylus. Also, the piñata commands seem to be through the stylus as well. Overall the actions performed in the game could be much smoother and easier with the stylus, which makes the game on the handheld console a perfect match.

The aforementioned goodies will include new tools, upgraded journals and encyclopedias, a sandbox mode and Episodes, which will tie the TV series with the game. The DS Wi-Fi service will also be employed so you can show off you Piñata’s to others online.

Graphically (and this is judging from one screenshot!), the game keeps all of its colorful, vibrant charm. The layout is fantastic and very functional to the point where the handheld game could very well be easier to control than its home console counterpart. This is no knock on the original, which already was pretty smooth, however when one thinks of how well a stylus would work for this type of game, it is completely conceivable that it could happen.

Rare has really righted its ship after a couple of years of mediocrity. Many wondered if the company could return to the success it had during the N64 days, and in many ways it has. In any book, the decision to create this game for the DS, (barring a complete disaster); will be viewed as one of the best Rare has ever made. Obviously in the Xbox 360's case, there was not enough of an audience for this type of game, however, on the DS there is. Quite possibly everyone with a DS will want this, all 47 million+ of them. And judging by the way the game plays, and the DS functions, the crossover will be seamless. Truly a perfect match if the port goes well.



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