Sure, it's all smiles and cuteness now. But then comes the cannibalism and inbreeding...Viva Piņata
is a video game series developed by Rare
. It is primarily a Mons
farm Simulation Game
. The player takes on the role of a Piņata Gardener on Piņata Island, a world of animated Piņatas all styled after various animals. The player is presented a ruined patch of dirt and tasked with terraforming
and expanding it into a Piņata Garden, which is part zoo and part ranch. The player begins by attracting Whirlms, simple worm Piņatas. You breed them, sell some offspring and use others to feed to wild Piņatas to attract new types to your garden, or send them off to parties to make money. This gives you cash to improve your garden further, which unlocks more options and attracts more Piņatas, following a food chain. It's a sandbox game, but the ultimate goal is to attract all 60 (100 in later games) breeds of Piņata to your garden and become a Master Romancer (i.e., breed them like crazy), for every single species.
The series includes Viva Piņata
(2006), Viva Piņata: Trouble in Paradise
(2008) and Party Game Viva Piņata: Party Animals
(2007) for the Xbox 360, as well as Viva Piņata: Pocket Paradise
(2008) for the Nintendo DS.
The series was a Sleeper Hit
on the Xbox 360. Microsoft wanted the game to be its answer to Pokémon
, but it didn't work out. Why? Well, the game looked
like a children's game but actually comprised challenging Sim management tasks that kids just couldn't handle. At times, the games dip into Nintendo Hard
or Guide Dang It
, with the in-game Exposition Fairy
to the player at points to mislead them. The original game was also launched with a tie-in animated series
(featuring Talking Animal
Piņatas throwing parties) that wasn't even slightly representative of how the games actually play (although occasionally a reference to a game mechanic is made, and is even the main plot point of a few episodes). The game was also much more morbid than it seemed at first appearance, with a food chain of Piņatas killing each other and feasting on their candy innards being required to progress in the game.
This game provides examples of:
- Alien Blood: They're piņatas. They bleed candy.
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Exaggerated Trope. Not only every resident Piņata is extremely colourful, but each species has three colour variants obtainable by feeding them specific items.
- Animals Lack Attributes: Averted only with Moozipans' cow udders.
- Bears Are Bad News: Averted with Fizzlybears, shy, inoffensive creatures.
- Big Bad: Professor Pester.
- Bigger on the Inside: All houses. Piņatas actually shrink when entering them.
- Boring but Practical: Many "utility" Piņatas, though not flashy, provide valuable services to your garden. Things such as the Taffly's ability to make fertilizer, the Cluckles' ability to quickly hatch eggs, and the Buzzlegum/Goobaa/Moozipan providing a steady stream of income (if properly accessorized) are useful, if not fancy.
- Brother-Sister Incest and Parental Incest: Piņatas will romance with anyone regardless of family boundaries.
- Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": The Newtgat isn't based on the Newt, but rather on the Axolotl.
- The Cameo: Banjo, Kazooie, Mumbo and Captain Blackeye appear as statues.
- Com Mons: Whirlms. They only require there to be dirt in your garden. They're followed by Sparrowmints, which only need Whirlms. If you leave your game sitting for a while and there's enough room left, you'll eventually have two of both in your garden.
- The Computer Is A Lying Bastard: Many of the things Leafos says when selected are false (e.g. the way she claims certain Piņatas transform is impossible), and some of the things she decries as ridiculous are true.
- Creature Breeding Mechanic: One of the main points is its "romancing" system. Outside of one very specific case, romancing is only useful for producing more piņatas of species you already own. However, romancing is essential for meeting the population requirements that some wild piņatas have.
- Cue the Flying Pigs: Leafos that you will be able to tame sour Mallowolves the day Rashberries fly. In order to tame them, you need exactly a flying Rashberry.
- Cultural Cross-Reference: The Ponocky gets its Punny Name from the popular Japanese snack food Pocky (the series is British, by the way.)
- Curb-Stomp Battle: In a predator-prey battle, you'd better stop the predator quick. The prey doesn't even stand a chance.
- Dan Green: He's a magical Piņata.
- Defeat Means Friendship: In order to tame a Sour Boonboon, you need to have it defeated by a snake Piņata.
- Delivery Stork: Storkos, appropriately enough.
- Disney Acid Sequence: Many of the romance dances, especially Twingersnap and S'morepion.
- A Dog Named Dog and You Are Number Six: All unnamed Piņatas are called by their species' name and a number (e.g. Horstachio 3).
- Everyone Is Bi: Piņatas are supposed to be genderless, but since breeding (excuse me, romancing) Piņatas is a major part of gameplay, this is probably a more accurate description.
- Considering that you can breed an offspring with either parent, they're either hermaphrodites or they're really just dancing and receiving an egg from Storkos.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The Choclodocus, even though, according to its in-game description, "it doesn't make sense to have dinosaur Piņatas. It's as if wanted to be cool without thinking about it properly."
- Evil Minions: Ruffians are this to Professor Pester.
- Fictional Currency: Chocolate coins.
- GoldSilverCopper Standard: They come in four variants with increasing size: bronze, silver, gold and large gold coins.
- Cheap Gold Coins: Golden Coins are as worth as just ten bronze coins. Justified as the chocolate inside is the real currency.
- Fiery Salamander: Salamango are associated with fire - or better, chili.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- Leafos claims that "Bart has a soft spot for Fannie." Younger players assume that Bart has a crush on the post office girl. However, the game was made in Britain, where "fanny" has a completely different meaning...
- Pocket Paradise had a little fun with the stylus and shopkeepers. "Don't touch what you can't afford, my friend!"
- One episode Paulie Preztail causes several distractions, one of which he dresses as a balloon stripper for a few seconds. Seriously!
- Good Costume Switch: Converted Sour Piņatas assume a far friendlier look.
- Gluttonous Pig: The Rashberry species. In order to romance them, they need to eat several items that have gone rotten. If they eat a hunk of cheesecake, they transform into warthogs.
- G-Rated Sex: Piņatas dance with each other, which causes eggs to be dropped off by Storkos.
- Griefer: Ruffians will smash your possessions, cough up toxic candies, fill your ponds with dirt and run off with your gardening staff just for the sake of it. They will go away if you give them money, thought.
- A Head at Each End: Twingersnap and Fourheads.
- Heel-Face Turn: Sour Piņatas will convert into their regular counterparts after their resident requirements are met.
- Honest John's Dealership: Costalot, to an extent. While she's definitely greedy, she isn't quite at the "Sell her own grandma to make a quick buck" level some Honest Johns are. She does occasionally slip and call you a "money bag" and say other things that are vaguely insulting, though.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Piņatas eat candy. Piņatas are full of candy. If you break a Piņata open, you can feed its candy to another Piņata. Even if it's from a Piņata of the same species.
- Or their parents, as shown by the VG Cats comic linked in the article's YMMV tab...
- Their INBRED parents. They'll dance with anyone!
- In-Universe Game Clock: The clock simulates daily cycles. Diurnal and nocturnal Piņatas are awake at different times.
- It Amused Me: Ruffians' main motivation.
- King of Beasts: The Roario, which is the strongest and most valuable Piņata after the Dragonache.
- Metamorphosis Monster: Some Piņatas can evolve into others when certain conditions are met.
- Sour Piņatas converting into their good counterparts counts as well.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Romancing a Rashberry with a Swanana will result in a Pigxie. That'll make you think twice about saying "when pigs fly".
- Moral Dissonance: According to the game's manual, being broken open at a birthday party is some kind of life-fulfilling orgasmic experience for Piņatas. In your garden, however, being broken open is the closest thing to death in the Piņata kingdom. This is not helped by the fact that one ad for the game began with a disclaimer for "disturbing imagery" only to show smashed Piņatas, and the Rare logo displayed when the game starts may randomly show a Fudgehog panicking in the face of a baseball bat before being whacked.
- Multiple Head Case: Twingersnaps, whose waiting animation involves the heads attacking each other.
- No Ending: Literally. The game remains an open sandbox once the final congratulation message is displayed, without dealing with either Professor Pester or Dastardos.
- Late in the game you are able to buy items which keep Dastardos and Professor Pester away from your garden, thought.
- Non-Lethal K.O.: Piņatas never die, technically. When they're broken open, they re-form in their original monochrome appearance outside your garden's borders. They're still as good as dead to you, though.
- Palette Swap: Each Piņata has three color variants obtainable by feeding them a certain object.
- Patchwork Map: Trouble in Paradise has two new terrain options that can be placed wherever the player chooses - tundra and desert.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: The signature color of sour Piņatas, weeds and Ruffians.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: A great many Piņatas fall under this.
- Savage Wolves: Sour Mallowolves.
- Noble Wolf: Tamed Mallowolves will help the player by scaring Ruffians off.
- Seldom Seen Species: The Piņatas are based on real or well-known mythical creatures. Most of them are fairly well known, but what the heck is a Galagoogoo based on? What is this thing?
- Simulation Game: The garden is yours to rebuild and repopulate. The sky's not quite the limit, but it's fun up until you start hitting the game's boundaries.
- Sleep Mode Size: You can return the Dragonache to an egg at any time, turning it back into its more small and cuddly baby form.
- Take That: The Pudgeon house is a statue of Professor Pester covered in poop.
- Tastes Like Friendship: Most Piņatas need to eat certain food (or other Piņatas, in case of predators) to join your garden.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: In Professor Pester's introduction cinematic, he hits the screen, the view falls to the ground and the screen goes black as if it were a camera.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Summed up nicely by the VG Cats comic linked in the YMMV tab.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Later in the game you are able to ward Dastardos and Professor Pester off your garden, but that's as far as their resolution goes.
- A Winner Is You: The closest thing the game has to an ending is a congratulatory message from the old gardener.
- You Bastard: The Reddhott description.
Imagine scorching the furniture when you sit on it. Imagine having to move every few seconds because if you don`t, the ground underneath you sets alight. What kind of life is that? Who is responsible for this?
- You get Reddhotts by setting Tafflies on fire and then dousing them.
- Seedos calling you a bully for taking his seeds with force. Later Subverted Trope, as Leafos says you are making Seedos stay fit by running away from your garden as fast as possible.