Nov 1, 2007
A delightful treat for those open-minded enough to give it a try, the original Viva Pinata surprised us with its addictive garden cultivating gameplay. Unfortunately, if you're looking for anything even remotely similiar in Viva Pinata: Party Animals, prepare to be surprised again. Although Party Animals retains its predecessor's visual appeal, the similarities between the two end there. In fact, Party Animals seems to be the opposite of the original Viva Pinata in just about every way. The original Viva Pinata is a serene, thoughtful, totally open-ended solo experience, while Party Animals is collection of past-paced one-note minigames that are best enjoyed with friends.
Up to four players compete in a series of party-style minigames and races, like Mario Party but without all the extra board-game nonsense. Each competition consists of a mixture of challenge events (minigames) and cartless cart-style races (Pinatas don't need carts to tear up a racetrack - they just hoof it). The challenge events are what you'd expect out of a collection of kids' minigames - candy collecting, hot potato, and dancing/rhythm games all make an appearance. The 40+ minigames are all certainly competent and are sure to please the kids, but quickly become stale for less casual gamers, even despite the commendable variety of challenges.