Viva Pinata - hands-on

The colorful, sickly sweet world of Viva Pinata may seem to be aimed squarely at the kiddies, but as we discovered in our hands-on time, you may not want to disregard this one. The concept is simple enough: you are charged with cultivating a small patch of landinto abeautiful garden where little candy-filled critters can laze about in saccharine leisure. It sounds like a piece of cake (pun intended, and for that we apologize), but if you're not at the top of your game, your garden can quickly spin off into a chaotic frenzy of pinata-eat-pinata madness.

See, some pinatas need to eat other pinatas in order to survive, so the gruesome circle of life is in full effect on Pinata Island. Your job, as the tender of these papier mache beasts, is to keep the pinatas happy, well-fed and under your complete totalitarian control. To accomplish this goal, you get an arsenal consisting of a shovel, a watering can, a pouch of grass seeds and an army of shopkeepers whose wares range from flower seeds to black market pinatas. Armed with these meager tools, we entered our own garden in the hopes of breeding some rare pinatas to earn the respect and admiration of our friends and colleagues.