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We love Viva Pinata at GamesRadar towers. It's just so serene, so adorable, so bright. But Viva Pinata's lack of success clearly highlights the tastes of the majority of 360 owners - alongside such manfests as GRAW2 and Gears of War, this light hearted, innocent game stuck out like a sore thumb at a fingers-only party. Shame on the ignorant, etc.
So, despite the troubles, we're excited to hear that Viva Pinata lives on. It'll be gracing Nintendo's handheld at some unconfirmed point in the future, and here are six reasons why we're convinced this zipped down version will be a smash hit...
Viva Pinata is, like, sooo Nintendo
Wonderful primary colors. Cute by the truck-load. Loveable characters with huge, blinking puppy-dog eyes. It might not have been created by Nintendo, but Viva Pinata is a Nintendo game - it's the nephew of Animal Crossing, it's Pokemon's second cousin.
We love Viva Pinata for the same reasons we love much of Nintendo's greatest hits, with their simple beauty and engrossing, addictive gameplay. Not to mention the nudge-nudge-wink-winkness giving the whole game its adult-entertaining mirthsome edge. With Viva Pinata DS, Rare is simply bringing Viva Pinata back to its spiritual home.
The DS stylus is always most successful when it's being used to bring us closer to the games we play. Think writing notes in Hotel Dusk, digging holes in Animal Crossing or mixing up Poffins in Pokemon. The interaction the stylus can bring will be perfect for enhancing Viva Pinata's gameplay, and making us feel more connected with the animated multi-colored sweet baskets we've spent all our time breeding.
It hardly needs much imagination to come up with some ideas, either. What about poking, preening, stroking or otherwise interfering with the animals? Or we could use the microphone to wake them up, blow on their faces, or imitate their noises back to them. It'll make guiding them across the garden much easier too.
As with the enhanced interaction, using the stylus will make actually playing Viva Pinata more natural and straightforward. Plotting out gardens and drawing paths will be a breeze. Almost any action in Viva Pinata on 360 requires a fair amount of menu-surfing, which can grow quickly tiresome and repetitive. It's unlikely that Viva Pinata on DS will suffer from the same problem.
You can take it anywhere
This is an obvious but crucial development for the series. Viva Pinata is, by design, a great pick-up-and-play game, and will be fantastic for those idle moments while waiting for buses or travelling on the train. But, like the best DS has to offer, it also offers long-term gaming rewards. You've a garden to tend, animals to raise and predators to repel, actions that take concentration and dedication to carry out, but give plenty of satisfaction too.
We probably wouldn't enjoy Animal Crossing, WarioWare or Nintendogs quite so much if we were tied down while playing them - though Nintendogs can be awkward on packed transport. Viva Pinata is cut from the same cloth as these hits, offering accessible gameplay that you can fiddle with for five minutes, or get really into for fifty minutes. It's perfect DS fodder.
The Romance Dance won't be so annoying
On 360, completing gaming's cutest euphemism - and so breeding a new generation of Pinatas - is a teeth-gnashingly fiddly pain. But the minigame ought to be a totally different matter on DS. Navigating the Romance Dance's mazes with the stylus should make Viva Pinata's worst flaw on Xbox 360 into a mildly amusing, natural-feeling sideshow on DS, improving the whole game as a result.
Viva Pinata will finally find its audience
Powersuit-loving shooter fans might not see the appeal of raising a garden full of brightly colorful pretend animals, but you can guarantee that the majority of DS owners will. Nintendo's cute handheld has a fantastically varied audience (unlike Microsoft's brutish console), and Rare's world is sure to spellbind fans of Animal Crossing, Pokemon and the rest.
Hopefully, Viva Pinata on DS will be a solid, enjoyable game - so that you don't have to be 12 years old to enjoy its innocent delights. But with Rare developing the game, and the many winning features of Nintendo's DS, we can't see Viva Pinata's touch-screen iteration being anything but a full-blown success.