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Sure, it's all smiles and cuteness now. But then comes the cannibalism and inbreeding...

Viva Piñata is a video game series developed by Rare. It is primarily a Mons farm Simulation Game. The player takes on the role of a Piñata Gardener on Piñata Island, a world of animated Piñatas all styled after various animals. The player is presented a ruined patch of dirt and tasked with terraforming and expanding it into a Piñata Garden, which is part zoo and part ranch. The player begins by attracting Whirlms, simple worm Piñatas. You breed them, sell some offspring and use others to feed to wild Piñatas 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 Piñatas, following a food chain. It's a sandbox game, but the ultimate goal is to attract all 60 (100 in later games) breeds of Piñata to your garden and become a Master Romancer (i.e., breed them like crazy), for every single species.

The series includes Viva Piñata (2006), Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise (2008) and Party Game Viva Piñata: Party Animals (2007) for the Xbox 360, as well as Viva Piñata: 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 actually lying to the player at points to mislead them. The original game was also launched with a tie-in animated series (featuring Talking Animal Piñatas 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 Piñatas killing each other and feasting on their candy innards being required to progress in the game.


This game provides examples of:

  • Absentee Actor: Leafos, Miss Petula, Fannie, Arfur, and most of the helpers, save the Sprinkling, are absent in Pocket Paradise. Gretchen Fetchem instead sells domestic pinatas and accessories and runs the Post Office, and Costolot runs the Inn, and the TV show cast does the tutorial, which is rather odd, considering Pinatas are non-sentient animals in the games, though considering Leafos' tendencies, this actually keeps the game more honest. Averted with Ivor in Trouble in Paradise. Despite not having a store, he still appears in the wishing well, and give you an egg for mythical pinata if you give him enough money.
  • Alien Blood: They're piñatas. They bleed candy.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Exaggerated Trope. Not only every resident Piñata 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. Piñatas actually shrink when entering them.
  • Boring, but Practical: Many "utility" Piñatas, 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! Piñatas 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.
  • Cheap Gold Coins: Golden Coins are worth as much as just ten bronze coins.
  • 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 Piñatas 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 piñatas of species you already own. However, romancing is essential for meeting the population requirements that some wild piñatas have.
  • Cue the Flying Pigs: Leafos says that you will be able to tame sour Mallowolves the day Rashberries fly. In order to tame them, you need at least one flying Pigxie, obtained by Romancing a Rashberry and a Swanana.
  • 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.
  • Darker and Edgier: Fighting in Pocket Paradise. In the PC and Console versions, the loser only gets sick. In Pocket Paradise, the winner eats the loser, regardless of the species of either.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: In order to tame a Sour Boonboon, you need to have it defeated by a snake Piñata.
  • Delivery Stork: Storkos, appropriately enough.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Many of the romance dances, especially Twingersnap and S'morepion.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": All unnamed Piñatas are called by their species' name and a number (e.g. Horstachio 3).
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Playing on Just For Fun mode in Trouble in Paradise makes catching Piñatas much easier, starts you off with infinite coins and removes all enemies from the game, but it also renders several high-level Piñatas like Tigermisu and Sarsgorilla completely unobtainable. If you want to catch any of those Piñatas, you'll have to play the Standard mode instead and transfer them over to the Just For Fun save.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The Choclodocus, even though, according to its in-game description, "it doesn't make sense to have dinosaur Piñatas. It's as if wanted to be cool without thinking about it properly."
  • Evil Minions: Ruffians are this to Professor Pester.
  • Faceless Mooks: The Ruffians are dressed with masks covering most of their bodies.
  • Fictional Currency: Chocolate coins.
  • 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!"
  • Gold–Silver–Copper Standard: Chocolate coins come in four variants with increasing size: bronze, silver, gold and large gold coins.
  • Good Costume Switch: Converted Sour Piñatas 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 Hoghurts.
  • G-Rated Sex: Piñatas 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 Piñatas will convert into their regular counterparts after their resident requirements are met.
  • Hermaphrodite: Piñatas are supposed to be genderless, but since breeding (excuse me, romancing) Piñatas is a major part of gameplay, this is probably a more accurate description.
  • 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: Piñatas eat candy. Piñatas are full of candy. If you break a Piñata open, you can feed its candy to another Piñata. Even if it's from a Piñata of the same species.
  • Interspecies Romance: It's possible to Romance a Rashberry with a Swanana to create a Pigxie.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: The clock simulates daily cycles. Diurnal and nocturnal Piñatas are awake at different times.
  • It Amused Me: Ruffians' main motivation.
  • King of Beasts: The Roario, which is the strongest and most valuable Piñata after the Dragonache.
  • Metamorphosis Monster:
    • Some Piñatas can evolve into others when certain conditions are met.
    • Sour Piñatas 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 Piñatas. In your garden, however, being broken open is the closest thing to death in the Piñata 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 Piñatas, 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.
  • Nerf: The Captain's Cutlass decoration got this in the transition to Trouble in Paradise; it used to be able to keep both the Ruffians and Professor Pester himself out of your garden, but Pester became immune to it in the sequel.
  • Noble Wolf: Tamed Mallowolves will help the player by scaring Ruffians off.
  • No Ending: Literally. The game remains an open sandbox once the final congratulation message is displayed without dealing with either Professor Pester or Dastardos, outside of being able to buy items to keep them out of your garden.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Piñatas 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 Piñata 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 - snow and sand.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The signature color of sour Piñatas, weeds and Ruffians.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: A great many Piñatas fall under this.
  • Savage Wolves: Sour Mallowolves.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: The Piñatas 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?
  • Shout-Out: The Sarsgorilla is an obvious one to Donkey Kong. One of its romance requirements requires it to wear a tie, it attacks other Piñatas with barrels, and the journal even makes a note of how similar they are. Unsurprising considering this game is made by the same company that developed the Donkey Kong Country games.
    Here we go again, another video game with a big ape in it. Can someone explain to me why the guys who write games are so fascinated with really big apes?
  • 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.
  • Smelly Skunk: A Smelba, a pink skunk piñata, from Trouble in Paradise can be commanded to scare Ruffians away, by breathing a dark green cloud of Visible Odor. A wild Smelba needs to eat three rotten garlics before becoming a resident of the garden, and a resident Smelba needs to eat two air fresheners and hold a romantic flower before it can romance. Also, the journal's description for the Gas Mask accessory mentions that most Piñatas use the Gas Mask when sharing a garden with Smelbas.
  • Spinventory
  • Take That!: The Pudgeon house is a statue of Professor Pester covered in poop.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: Most Piñatas need to eat certain food (or other Piñatas, 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 Caring Potential: You fill a once dead piece of land with life, treat your Piñatas and helper with care and respect.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: In addition to outright smashing and inbreeding your Piñatas, you can also beat them senseless, deliberately poison them by feeding them sour candy, toadstools, or nightshade berries, set them on fire with a tiki torch (this is actually required to evolve a Taffly into a Reddhott), or aggravate them into to getting into fights.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment:
    • If you beat up Seedos, he'll spread a bunch of weeds when he comes back.
    • Repeatedly hitting Leafos with your shovel or watering her with your watering can results in her temporarily taking the offending tool away from you.
  • Villainous Glutton: Upon smashing your most valuable piñata, Professor Pester will eat ALL the candy inside.
  • 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 Jardiniero.
  • You Bastard:
    • You get Reddhotts by setting Tafflies on fire and then dousing them.
      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?
    • Seedos calling you a bully for taking his seeds with force. Later Subverted, as Leafos says you are making Seedos stay fit by running away from your garden as fast as possible.

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