Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise

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Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise
Viva Piñata Pocket Paradise Box Artwork.jpg
North American box art
Designer(s)Gary Richards
Joseph Humfrey
Paul Machacek
Artist(s)Dean Smith
Dermot Fanning
Chris Peil
Composer(s)David Wise[2]
SeriesViva Piñata
Platform(s)Nintendo DS
  • NA: September 8, 2008
  • EU: September 5, 2008
  • AU: September 25, 2008
Genre(s)Life simulation

Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise is a life simulation game developed by Rare, for the Nintendo DS video game console and based on Viva Piñata.

It was developed by Rare's handheld team, as opposed to Viva Piñata: Party Animals and the PC version of the original game, which were developed by separate third-party developers.


Main game view (info panel displaying the Garden Terrain % and the appearance of a Chocstrich)

Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise is, like its predecessor, a sandbox game that tasks the player with turning a neglected plot of land into a beautiful garden. The game retains the majority of features and all of the piñata from the original. As the game was built from the ground up for the DS, Rare's handheld team took the opportunity to add additional features and changes.


The most obvious difference between Pocket Paradise and the original is that the entire game is controlled using the stylus,[3] giving the player a very direct, intuitive method of interacting with their garden. It is now possible to simply ‘draw’ grass onto soil, or double tap a flower to remove its head.

The game also makes use of the two screens on the DS where, for the majority of the game, the main garden view is displayed in the lower screen of the DS. In the upper screen, there is a context sensitive information panel [4] that is unique to this version of the game. The information that is displayed dynamically changes to reflect what is currently selected - ranging from an individual piñata's romance requirements to a percentage breakdown of the garden's floor tiles. It is even possible to swap the screens around and interact with the information panel, to view a comprehensive piñata encyclopedia, a journal, an awards page and a piñata pyramid (amongst other things).

Unique features[edit]

Overhead map

Other than control changes, there is a handful of design changes that are unique to this version of the game. First off, it is no longer possible to buy fertiliser or romance sweets.[5] Fertiliser (which is now accessed via the main tools pallet) is only produced when a Taffly is made to interact with a piece of fruit - the colour of the fruit dictates the colour of the fertiliser. Romance sweets are now earned by completing Viva Piñata Central challenges, putting much more emphasis on what was originally a purely optional aspect of the game. Another major difference between the DS version and the original is the addition of an overhead map [6] that not only enables the player to view the whereabouts of their piñata instantly, but allows them to zoom in on any pinata by simply tapping their icon.

A new game mode has also been added that mirrors the "Just for fun"[7] mode in Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise, named “Playground”.[5] This is a no-pressure version of the main game (set on a beach) where young or inexperienced players can experiment without having to deal with the challenging aspects of the game, such as Dastardos or Ruffians, or having to pay for items.

Rare explains on their website that "you'll also be given free rein with an expanded selection of tools and tool actions, upgraded forms of the Journal and Encyclopedia... and Episodes (tying in more closely to the TV series and allowing fans of the show to spend quality time with familiar faces)." They also state that “DS wireless connectivity... lets you send prime Piñata specimens to your friends, making the act of parading your Doenut around in a humiliating pirate outfit easier than ever."[8]


Back in 2005, Electronic Gaming Monthly reported that Rare was hard at work on two projects for the Nintendo DS. Their first Nintendo DS game released was Diddy Kong Racing DS, so that game and Viva Piñata were most likely the two projects mentioned.[citation needed]

Viva Piñata for the Nintendo DS was first hinted at in an interview between Microsoft Game Studios and at the DICE 2007 Summit in Las Vegas.[citation needed]

The game was announced later at Comic-Con 2007[citation needed] and on May 13, 2008 THQ officially announced the release of Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise in the Fall of 2008.[9][10] On May 22, 2008 Rare opened a dedicated Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise section on their website.[11]

In a May 2008 interview with members from the team, the question "Was it always the plan to transfer Viva Piñata across to the DS, or did it take some prompting?" received the response "In discussions for a follow-on project for DKR DS it became a greater focal point, and in hindsight, seeing what we came up with, it's proven to be a complete no-brainer. We love it." from the game's producer, Paul Machacek.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Aggregate scores
Review scores
Nintendo World Report7/10[18]
IGN UK8.9/10[21]

Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise won the award for Best Simulation Game for the Nintendo DS from IGN in their 2008 video game awards.[22] Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise also received a pair of 2009 BAFTA nominations for Best Strategy Game at the Game Awards [23] and Best Video Game at the Children's Awards.[24]


  1. ^ "Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise is on the way to Nintendo DS". MundoRare. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  2. ^ "| Square Enix Music Online Interview with Steve Burke (September 2010)". Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  3. ^ "Exclusive: Rare Talks ''Viva Piñata'' DS". 2007-07-31. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  4. ^ Oli Welsh. "Viva Pińata: Pocket Paradise Hands On - DS - Page 2". Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  5. ^ a b Matt Wales IGN UK. "Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise UK Preview - Nintendo DS Preview at IGN". Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  6. ^ Matt Wales IGN UK (2008-06-10). "Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise UK Preview - Nintendo DS Preview at IGN". Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  7. ^ [1] Archived August 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "30/7/07: Handheld Horstachios". 2011-08-17. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  9. ^ "THQ Press Release". Archived from the original on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  10. ^ "THQ press release on Rare's website". 2011-08-17. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  11. ^ "Rare's VP:PP Homepage". 2011-08-17. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  12. ^ "May 2008 Interview". 2011-08-17. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  13. ^ "Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise - DS". GameRankings. Retrieved 2008-09-04.
  14. ^ "Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-09-04.
  15. ^ Bramwell, Tom. "Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2008-09-04.
  16. ^ P, Matthew (October 2008). "Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise Don't beat 'em, join 'em!". GamesMaster: 71.
  17. ^ Bozon, Mark (2008-09-02). "Viva Piñata Pocket Paradise Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-09-04.
  18. ^ "Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise review". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved 10 October 2008.
  19. ^ Dutton, Fred (August 29, 2008). "Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise Rare's green-fingered love-in hits the DS". Official Nintendo Magazine (34): 90–91.
  20. ^ "Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise". NGamer: 64. August 29, 2008.
  21. ^ Wales, Matt (2008-09-03). "Viva Piñata Pocket Paradise UK Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-09-04.
  22. ^ "IGN DS: Best Simulation Game 2008". 2008-12-15. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
  23. ^ "BAFTA: Best Strategy Game 2009 Nomination".
  24. ^ "BAFTA: Best Video Game 2009 Nomination". Archived from the original on 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2010-02-17.

External links[edit]