Viva Piñata

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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 pinatas, 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 Ninja Butterfly 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.

Tropes used in Viva Piñata include:
  • A Winner Is You: The closest thing the game has to an ending is a congratulatory message which resolves none of the story you've been accumulating throughout the course of the game.
  • Awesome Yet Practical: Some of the high-level, fancy pinatas are genuinely useful--such as the Chewnicorn being able to heal sick pinatas for free, and the Dragonache scaring off... basically everything.
  • Biological Mashup: Romancing a Rashberry with a Swanana will result in a Pigxie. That'll make you think twice about saying "when pigs fly".
  • Boring but Practical: Many "utility" pinatas, 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.
  • 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 (eg. the way she claims certain pinatas transform is impossible), and some of the things she decries as ridiculous are true.
  • Cultural Cross-Reference: The Ponocky gets its Punny Name from the popular Japanese snack food Pocky. (The series is British, by the way.)
  • Dan Green: He's a magical pinata.
  • Delivery Stork: Storkos, appropriately enough.
  • Demonic Spider: Professor Pester will show up in your garden from time to time for the sole purpose of smashing your most prized Pinata. In the original, there's no way to stop the bastard once he shows up, and the only thing that will actually keep him out comes into play too late for the player not to have put up with him at least once. However, the DS sequel gives you a "Dastardos Shovel" that lets you stop him somewhat.
    • There actually is a way to stop him - and at the same time, the Ruffians - from entering your garden. Once you reach a certain level, you can buy the item 'Captain's Cutlass' from Costalot's store. It's a little pricey, but as long as it's in your garden, you don't have to worry about him. The same applies for Dastardos, as buying the Mumbo Jumbo statue will keep him out should one of your Piñatas get ill.
      • Buying decoy Piñatas, available much earlier than the Captain's Cutlass, will distract Professor Pester. You'll have to buy a new one afterward, but it beats losing a rare Piñata. Or you can just bribe him (which is cheaper than the decoy, but requires you to get to him fast.)
      • And remember that in the Updated Rerelease Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise, Prof. Pester is not stopped by the Cutlass, but owning a Dragonache, a Choclodocus or even a Limeocerous will keep him at bay.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Piñatas are supposed to be genderless, but since breeding (excuse me, romancing) Pinatas 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.
  • Fridge Horror: Some Ruffians have brown-colored tattoos on their hands and feet. At first they seem to simply add to their nastiness, until you realize what Ruffians probably do to captured piñatas filled with chocolate.
  • Gluttonous Pig: The Rashberry species. In order to romance them, they need to eat items that have gone rotten. If they eat a hunk of cheesecake, they transform into warthogs.
  • G-Rated Sex: Pinatas dance with each other, which causes eggs to be dropped of by Storkos.
  • 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.
    • 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!
  • Informed Ability: The Pigxies are supposedly hideous, deformed mutants who are forever scorned by the other Pinatas for their horrible appearances. Their in-game description openly scolds you for bringing about this freak of nature. Compare that to their actual appearance. [dead link] D'aaaaw! Don't you want one a couple a dozen an entire flock of them?
    • Their faces are twisted to one side and their wings don't match, giving them a gimpy flight pattern. Definitely Ugly Cute though.
  • Low Speed Chase: There's a chase on really slow moving forklifts.
  • 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.
  • No Ending: Literally. The game remains an open sandbox once the final congratulation message is displayed, without dealing with either Professor Pester or Dastardos.
  • Non-Lethal KO: 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.
  • Patchwork Map: Trouble in Paradise has two new terrain options that can be placed wherever the player chooses - tundra and desert.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: A great many Piñatas fall under this.
  • 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.
  • Spinventory
  • Stop Helping Me!: Leafos.
    • Made all the worse, because she often lies to you. Such an example would be 'Pretztails evolve into Mallowolves if they eat a Doenut'.
      • To be fair, you have to talk to her on purpose for that to happen.
      • It also should be mentioned that in the sequel Leafos tips off her lies by coughing before she speaks.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Summed up nicely by the VG Cats comic linked in the YMMV tab.
  • You Bastard: The Pigxie and Reddhott descriptions.

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.