Viva Pinata

Wednesday 11 October 2006
A spot of green-fingered toil combined with a menagerie of cutesy papery pinatas. It's hardly the usual raw ingredients that go into a game but, if you're always on the lookout for fresh gaming experiences, Viva Pinata will surely have grabbed your gaze already. Of course, you might just be a sucker for donkeys with purple legs.

A recent demonstration of the game's opening section gave us the opportunity to see how Viva Pinata's garden and ecosystem grows together - how you tend and cultivate your patch directly determines the sort of sugar-filled fauna that will come wandering your way.

When players first arrive on Pinata Island, they're presented with a neglected plot and - as any welly-wearing allotment botherer will know - the first job is to battle the weeds and turn the soil.

Interacting with the game world is done using a simple cursor system and, once selected, the shovel magically appears on screen. It's then moved around the desired area and the earth can be worked over by pressing a button on the 360 controller.

Various requirements must be met before any of the 60+ pinata types will appear near a player's horticultural haven and making the soil nice and soft is just the job for luring in wiggly Whirlms. And as soon as these dirt-loving pinata show up, it prompts the appearance of a Sparrowmint, then a Syrupent is spotted nearby, and so the chain begins...