20 Nov, 2007

Viva Piñata: Party Animals Review

360 Review | Not a party you will want to attend.
The first Viva Piñata was a brilliant game and one of Rare's finest in a long time. The game was a sort of garden / life simulator which required quite a bit of strategy. While the game was critically well received, commercially Viva Piñata was a flop and the game was ultimately lost in the Quarter 4 rush of 2006. With Rare now busy working on other projects Microsoft has decided to take another bite at the cherry, with a mini game compilation developed by Krome in Australia. But is this a party you'll want to attend or is it a party you'll be glad to avoid?

In an effort to make the game more appealing quite a lot has changed in the Viva Piñata universe and anyone who was a fan of the previous game will cringe at these changes. For starters, for some reason your piñatas have decided to party and play in several different games. Why? Well it seems the garden just wasn't that appealing anymore. There is however no real story to Party Animals and the main menu is quite bare, which is a complete paradox to the original Viva Piñata. From the main menu players can select to either play at home or play online.

At least the game still looks pretty.

At least the game still looks pretty.
After selecting an option players need to select the type of mini game tournament they want to play (either short, medium or long) and then you'll need to select a piñata to control. There are eight piñata's to choose from including favourites such as horstachio or fizzlybear. All mini games need to be played with four players, so if you play alone then the game will automatically select three computer controlled piñatas. After selecting your characters the game automatically jumps into a tournament.

The tournaments play out the same way every time. There is a mini game, then a race, then a mini game and so on. The mini games are random and the races are pretty much a carbon copy of Mario Kart, except nowhere near as entertaining. In the races you'll need to collect powerups while racing through some basic courses against other piñatas; there are speed pads and shortcuts to be found as well but with a wealth of powerups scattered throughout the courses, most people will just stick to collecting the powerups as they provide the biggest advantage for players.

Unfortunately it doesn't play so well though.

Unfortunately it doesn't play so well though.
Despite the bare bones options and the overall feeling that the series has sold out, the main problem with Party Animals is just how boring the mini games are. Most of them just end up feeling dull and more like a chore than a mini game. One of the mini games for example requires players to eat an apple, the only thing you'll need to do is use the left stick to move the apple and then press A to chomp at the apple, that's all there is to it. We understand Microsoft wanted to make the series a little bit more appealing, but the mini games are just far, far too basic.

One of the most redeeming features of Party Animals is the visuals. The piñatas still look the best but all of the mini game areas are bright and colourful. Sound-wise, hearing your piñatas talk will make most players cringe, and the commentary is pretty poor too. Achievement junkies will probably want to pick up Viva Piñata: Party Animals, at least for a few hours. Getting the full 1000 points isn't a challenge, in fact we scored 90 points in the very first minigame. While the game can be played online, finding players offline who will actually want to play Viva Piñata with you will be difficult after playing the one tournament.

Another mini game compilation that's less than memorable.

Another mini game compilation that's less than memorable.
When Fuzion Frenzy 2 was released earlier this year and was poor we weren't too phased as the original Fuzion Frenzy characters weren't all that memorable in the first place. But seeing horstachio getting up and dancing after winning a mini game will feel like a stab in the face for fans of the original Viva Piñata. Surely even Rare would be disheartened to see such an embarassingly bad mini game compilation tarnish the franchise. Even if you're just after a mini game compilation, the options in Party Animals are so bare bones that everyone is best advised to just look elsewhere.
The Score
Party Animals is one of the worst mini game compilations released in the past few years. The game is a sad moment for the franchise.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Viva Piñata: Party Animals Content

Viva Piñata: Party Animals demo released
21 Sep, 2007 Are you a party animal?
E3 2007: Krome working on Viva Piñata: Party Animals
11 Jul, 2007 Party game starring everyone’s favourite candy-stuffed beasts.
Viva Piñata: Party Animals demo released
21 Sep, 2007 Are you a party animal?
6 years ago
I wish Rare had made this.
6 years ago
El Taco wrote
I wish Rare had made this.
I'm glad Rare are working on other things.

Bring on Banjo-Threeie and Perfect Dark 2...
6 years ago
I'm glad Rare kept away from this so their already diminishing reputation isn't harmed any furthur.
6 years ago
Its essentially a licensed party game though (considering the playable characters are the Pinatas that feature in the TV series), so how was this unexpected?

And Rare better be off making Banjo super awesome.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  15/11/2007 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $69.95 AU
Year Made:

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