CGRundertow VIVA PINATA: PARTY ANIMALS for Xbox 360 Video Game Review
A few weeks ago, I reviewed the original Viva
Piñata, and it was one of the best games I had played in a while. From the colorful
visuals to the interesting yet simple simulation gameplay, it showed that creativity in game
development does still exist. However, after the game spawned a whole franchise, it was
inevitable that a party game would be created with the name. However, unlike other series
that try to create a party game to cash in on the success of the franchise, this one
is actually really good. It’s Viva Piñata: Party Animals for the Xbox 360.
Viva Piñata: Party Animals plays out in a game show type of format. With four contestants
consisting of either online opponents, your friends, or just you against the computer,
the goal is to get as much candy as possible by the end of the game. Now, unlike games
such as Mario Party, there is no game board in Party Animals. Instead, you race from point
A to point B in order to gain extra points for each challenge event, their word for mini-games.
The races are a lot of fun, similar in style to Mario Kart, with power-ups and weapons
to use along the way. Some of these do almost feel like cheating, but I guess that’s kind
of like Mario Kart, too. There’s no blue shell, though, and I think we can all agree
that’s a very good thing. Now, the mini-games are a little bit different.
Most of them are a ton of fun and simple enough to learn quickly, like shooting targets or
stomping bug piñatas to get candy. Some of these also have you attacking the other piñatas
so they can’t score points. However, there are a few that seem to be based on luck, and
these can be pretty frustrating. The game does control very well, however, and it doesn’t
really ever feel like you lost because of a flaw in the game or any sort of bug or glitch.
Luck maybe, but not a flaw in the game. Party Animals’ real selling point, however,
is its tone. The game has a friendly yet humorous vibe that can suck in people of all ages.
Think of shows like Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends or Jimmy Neutron. There isn’t anything
that kids won’t understand, but the humor is pretty ageless. Characters also have, well,
character. It’s cool to see a series like this really working to let people know how
different it is from other games. Party Animals is also one of the best looking
games on the 360. Now, it doesn’t have incredibly character models or environments, but its
style is still just beautiful. It’s full of color, everything has personality, and
the framerate is perfect, in contrast to the occasionally sluggish framerate of the original
Viva Piñata. Voice acting is over-the-top, but it doesn’t sound bad, and the style
works well in a game like this. The banter between the two broadcasters is pretty funny,
and there are some lines I really didn’t see coming.
I wasn’t really sure how a party game using the Viva Piñata license would be, but this
is a fantastic game that really showed me how versatile this series is. This would definitely
be a good choice to play if you have some friends coming over.