Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise

Not that the powers that be (or, more importantly, will do the sequel) will actually see this, but,…

The entire family loved Viva Pinata. Yes, it’s fun for kids, but beneath it is a fairly sophisticated resource management game. I got sucked in for a week or so. Son has at least three dragonaches. Husband, usually a fan of first person shooters or resource management games that include shooting, had a decent garden going. Daughter, age 7, has her own garden and can follow enough of the advice that she enjoys playing. (Just don’t let son in the same room — he’s convinced she’s not doing things right. She enjoys wandering around, planting seeds and watering pinata. She’s not interested in challenges.)

I’m less of a fan of the latest installment, Trouble in Paradise.

The font is too small and doesn’t always contrast enough with the background. The encyclopedia is probably as good as the first one (absolutely aweseome — the info you need, when you need it) but I wouldn’t know.

The tutorial challenges aren’t clear. One early challenge is to send a baby pinata. Based on the first game, I went ahead and romanced two whirlms and tried to send the baby. The game expected me to follow the step-by-step tutorial and send a baby biscottie, and wouldn’t accept the whirlm.

Especially in the beginning, you often earn several things at once. The cut scenes seem endless. First you sight a whirlm. Then Seedos comes. Then the whirlm decides to enter the garden. Then something else. Meanwhile, I’m trying to do remember what I want to do next.

The B button changes function annoyingly. Most of the time it’s “back up a menu”, but sometimes it’s “sell whatever the cursor’s on”. You can imagine the frustration

The first game was really good about explaining each item and ability as you earned it. This one, you get more up front, but less explanation. I’m talking a new garden in tutorial mode, not a free-play garden. Yes, Leafos got annoying by the end, but she was useful.

Son says it has some really great additions, but I didn’t stick with it long enough to find out for myself.

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