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Viva Piñata

Viva Piñata

The game that gave the world Horstachios, Buzzlegums and Fudgehogs. After four years in some form of development, what had initially been a humble game concept blossomed into something far bigger. Let's give the Xbox 360 demographic a good shake as we experience the joys of life on Piñata Island...

Viva Piñata

"What if there was a place where every Piñata was a living, breathing creature? What if YOU were given the land and the tools to build them a home? What if the box you hold in your hands right now was one of those tools? Welcome to Viva Piñata – they're waiting for you inside..."

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  • Platforms: Xbox 360, PC
  • Genre: Simulation
  • Developer: Rare
  • Released: 2006-11-09
  • Game Rating: US: E10 | EU: 3+
  • Players: 1
  • In-game Dolby Digital
  • HDTV 1080p
  • Content Downloads

Viva Piñata Media

  • Viva Pinata: E3 2008: Dessert Heat

    Viva Pinata: E3 2008: Dessert Heat
  • Viva Pinata - Smallholding

    Viva Pinata - Smallholding
  • Viva Pinata - Waterpark

    Viva Pinata - Waterpark
  • Viva Pinata

    Viva Pinata
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Viva Piñata Screenshots

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Explorer's Log 1

Name: Horace St. James Golightly
Profession: Explorer, Adventurer
Location: Piñata Island
Misson Brief: Investigate the island's legendary gardens,creatures, inhabitants and general goings-on

Explorer's Log #1: First Impressions

Well, here I am at the end of my first day on Piñata Island, and I have to admit I'm a bit shellshocked. Live Piñatas walking around, they said. Wild ones and domesticated ones, living in people's gardens and everything. Poppycock, I told them. Look, I said, I don't mind taking you up on your frankly second-rate offer, I don't mind that cousin Sabreman wouldn't come out of retirement again and you were a bit reluctant to settle for my own services, I mean, everyone's got to start somewhere, but let me do my job without spinning me some ludicrous fairy tale about paper animals coming to life.

   Good Lord, how wrong I was. As soon as I stepped off the boat, I almost trod on a worm. A bug-eyed Piñata worm. Before I could get my sketchbook out the little devil had disappeared underground to escape an alarmingly proportioned papery hedgehog, which in turn was frightened off by a sly-looking and similarly rustly fox. All in a matter of seconds. I don't mind telling you, I suspected I might be losing the plot.

   But before we go any further, let's get some background on what it is I've come to research. Here’s some marketing speak, as everyone loves marketing speak:

   "A brand new and original franchise from the core team behind the Banjo series, featuring all the Rare hallmarks of innovation, charm, gorgeous visuals and gameplay in spades. Viva Piñata is a game of creation, evolution, imagination and customisation, a fully Xbox LIVE-enabled slice of instantly appealing all-ages entertainment, backed up by the birth of a high-profile animated series from 4Kids Entertainment. We think you'll like it."

   Basically they're making a game about Piñata Island. Too good a story not to tell, they said. And so they sent me here to investigate, to get the lowdown on every little facet of island life so that all the potential visitors and players out there will have some idea of what to expect.

   They also need material for their 'design docs', and for the game instructions, and told me to keep a diary of my discoveries too. Said they'd put it in the whelk site or something. I'm not sure what that means, but it sounded as if they wanted to make my first-hand experiences available to other people, so presumably I need to make the effort if I want to get paid.

   So anyway, I've spent the hours since my arrival exploring as much of the island as possible, seeing for myself just how many frankly astounding gardens have been cultivated in this place. They're in various states of evolution, of course, some little more than weedy fields while others would put anything I've previously seen to shame. One thing they all have in common is a selection of those eye-popping Piñata inhabitants: in very basic terms, the secret to attracting them seems to lie in which seeds are planted, which features are introduced and which other species are already in residence.

   I managed to get a few sketches done along with basic notes on the creatures' behaviour, sitting on tree stumps and fences as I watched the Piñata interact within the confines of their own little worlds. No trespassing, of course, I was far too well brought up for that kind of tomfoolery. But as the day drew on I began to realise that there’s far too much here for me to chronicle alone – my pencil sharpener's already looking a bit worse for wear – so, having already observed human helpers performing services in and around the gardens, I visited the nearest village and asked about hiring an assistant.

   The result is my new associate Poncho, a stumpy little chap who seems to be permanently drowning in his huge patterned shawl, but despite the encumbrance turns out to be a dab hand with all this new-fangled recording equipment that busy academics such as myself simply don't have time to bother getting to grips with (as you can see from the image opposite, so far my one and only attempt to hijack his camera).

   My loyal sidekick seems to be a man of few words, but he loves to dance, I'll give him that. Often at inopportune moments, but nobody’s perfect. More importantly, he's a dab hand at taking photographs: I've posted some of his best work from today (before his spontaneous jiving scared the animals off) in the gallery above. Promising young fellow, don't you think? What's unfortunate is that he also has a knack for hand-drawn art and seems set on one-upping every sketch I produce, which could prove aggravating in the long run. My own initial etchings I'll keep within my Journal, with Poncho's 'improved' efforts shuffled over to the Sightings file alongside my observations on each species.

   It's jolly hard to tell just how smug Poncho is about his considerable talents, as like all the other islanders, he keeps a brightly coloured mask affixed to his face with seemingly no inclination to ever take it off. Not in my presence, at least. These quirky natives! I'll be sure to grill him about some of the hare-brained local customs when we get to know each other better.

   In future diary entries I intend to chronicle this place in far greater detail, hopefully describing visits to some of the landmarks I've seen from afar and heard people mention (I've said it before and I'll say it again, eavesdropping isn't bad manners as long as nobody catches you doing it). That odd-looking building in the distance seems like a prime candidate, for starters. Wonder if that's where they throw the parties that everyone keeps talking about? Impossible to tell just yet, but some of these Piñata beasts seem to spend a lot of time gazing in that direction with a rather peculiar gleam in their eyes.

   There will also be further entries under Sightings, as I've only scratched the surface of this place in terms of its Piñata species – for example, there seems to be a clear distinction between the monochrome ones inhabiting the wild areas and the vibrant varieties in the gardens, and I've also caught glimpses of fierce red-and-black things crashing through the undergrowth. While I ran in the opposite direction, of course. And old Sabreman thought he had trouble with one piffling blue dog? Wait till I tell him about this...

   There even seems to be individuality within each species, as once I could have sworn I saw a horse with sunglasses and a surfing bear in a wig. Although for the sake of disclosure I have to say I was very tired by that point and I may have been mistaken. I'd rather not be committed to some kind of simpletons' facility on my return to the mainland.

   Anyway, must be off as Poncho's got his dancing feet on again. Honestly, if the fellow can't keep a lid on his enthusiasm then we'll have those toothy red and black things making a beeline straight for our campsite. Until next time, enjoy your mundane daily lives, faithful readers!

   H. St. J. Golightly, Explorer & Adventurer

Explorer's Log 2

Name: Horace St. James Golightly
Profession: Explorer, Adventurer
Location: Piñata Island
Misson Brief: Investigate the island's legendary gardens,creatures, inhabitants and general goings-on

Explorer's Log #2: Moving Pictures

Salutations, followers! Apologies if I seem to have been lax with the journal updates, but I'm sure you can appreciate that the life of an explorer is a hectic one. And by cracky, you sluggards in your offices and schoolrooms don't know the half of it. Plunging through the treacherous undergrowth, racing after one startled Piñata or another with sketchbook in hand, skewering the locals with my own unique brand of interrogation, keeping a leash on young Poncho and his dancing feet... never a dull moment.

   I'm told there's some kind of trade event in progress on the mainland (the Electronically Attuned Eskimo, or some such malarkey) so my Employers have asked for some new material for their whelk site. Of course my sketchbook is full to bursting, but every time I try to put its quality into words, the person on the other end of the line inevitably starts coughing and forgets what I was saying by the time they recover.

   No, they seem far more interested in recorded material, and as my relationship with the camera has not improved since my arrival here, I continue to leave such things to Poncho. Some of his latest snapshots can be found on the page marked Images. Several of them have at least a suggestion of artistic merit, I'm forced to concede.

   As a bonus to you loyal readers of my exploits, we also present the first live footage from Piñata Island, courtesy of a video camera shipped in from my overzealous Employers (and the steady hand of Poncho – though, credit where it's due, he'd never have been able to capture it so well without my back to lean on). There are three films in total, each depicting a garden markedly different in growth and evolution. My Employers hinted that they'd be cunningly spacing them out over the three days of the show, so check back for exciting daily updates, or something.

   We've also thrown in a postcard which Poncho suggests could be used as 'wallpaper', by which I must assume he means something technical and not actual wallpaper, unless the young upstart has his fingers in the interior design pie too. Nothing would surprise me.

   Hopefully these little snippets of Island living will give you some idea of a gardener's lot in this place, what their way of life means to them and how it feels to experience all these wonderful sights and sounds day in and day out... but thankfully not what it's like to encounter a waist-high mountain of Elephanilla droppings during a high-speed flight from a particularly unruly specimen of Sour Piñata. Filthy, bad-natured brutes that they are. That was almost as bad as when I opened the wrong crate looking for the video camera, and – no, I remember I filed that as a 'Level 4 Bad Experience' and vowed not to even speak of it until the rash has faded.

   Anyway, with the reams of information, observation and heightened understanding that I've gained during my time here, and no immediate end to my assignment in sight, I hope to bring you plenty more from the frontline in the weeks ahead. Maybe I'll even detail my attempts to communicate with the Piñata creatures themselves, or post the brief interview I managed with that rather abrupt shopkeeper before she realised I had no money on my person. Such awful words to hear from a lady's mouth.

   And with that, I shall leave you folks to your viewing, and return to my dynamic explorer's existence. Until the next time I shower you with my sparkling pearls of wisdom – au revoir!

   H. St. J. Golightly, Explorer & Adventurer

Explorer's Log 3

Name: Horace St. James Golightly
Profession: Explorer, Adventurer
Location: Piñata Island
Misson Brief: Investigate the island's legendary gardens,creatures, inhabitants and general goings-on

Explorer's Log #3: Expert Knowledge

Mes amis! I expect you've been waiting with bated breath to hear of my latest escapades. Well, I could tell you all about them, but I'll let Poncho's latest photographic Images speak for themselves. As you can see, we've been following the progress of some rather ambitious gardens (even going so far as to take illicit snapshots of the gardeners' written records), and I continue to identify new species on a regular basis. As a result, my ledger of Sightings also continues to expand, so I've included another six excerpts for your enlightenment.

   In related developments, my employers are increasingly keen to promote understanding of Piñata Island life as the release of the official interactive product approaches, and so they have requested that I serve in some kind of agony aunt capacity and answer a round or two of questions from you, the general public.

   Dedicated as I am to receiving a full pay packet, I shall swallow my pride just this once and agree to their terms. Although I must point out that it certainly wasn't in the original contract. And neither was dressing up as a Bonboon to learn exactly what goes on inside one of those Piñata houses, but they insisted I do that too. I shan't forget. Rather strong medication was required that evening.

   But enough of my troubles – if you have a pressing query of some sort, direct it here and my employers will pass along the ones they think will be best served by my eloquent prose in the next update.

   For now, it's back to the wilderness, the glory of nature and prodding Poncho with a sharp stick until he makes the tea. Until next time, arrivederci, sicaru lache and do videnja!

   H. St. J. Golightly, Explorer & Adventurer

Explorer's Log 4

Name: Horace St. James Golightly
Profession: Explorer, Adventurer
Location: Piñata Island
Misson Brief: Investigate the island's legendary gardens,creatures, inhabitants and general goings-on

Explorer's Log #4: Ask Uncle Horace

Ah! It appears that pay day is finally on the horizon as my employers' interactive product begins to arrive at retail outlets. I can only say that it's been an honour for me to make its release possible by exerting my professional knowledge-gathering techniques here on the Piñata forefront.

   Just one thing left to do before I can claim recompense, and that's to answer this handful of letters passed along in the wake of last month's call for questions. Let's see...

   "What types of decisions must the player make as they build their garden? Is it possible to attract every species of Piñata into a single garden or will the presence of one species scare away another? How might a Piñata feel about being sold to a shop for chocolate coins, and what actually happens to them after that?"  Jim McQuillan

   Golightly: Good lord, you're an inquisitive fellow. Well, James, from what I've seen, building a successful garden involves almost too many decisions to count. Some of the local gardeners are so busy that they actually hide in the bushes when they see me coming, purely out of exhaustion. Broadly speaking it's all about making the best use of space, tools and seeds to cultivate a garden suitable for your favoured Piñatas, bearing in mind that one Piñata's paradise is another's worst nightmare, contrary beasts that they are.

   As for the sales question, can't say I'm exactly sure. That lady at the shop is so keen that the Piñatas rarely have a chance to protest before they're whisked away. One can only presume that they're sold on to other appreciative gardeners rather than, you know, made into soup or something.

   "Will you personally make an appearance in the interactive product?"  Paul Gasca

   Golightly: Bless you, old boy, but I've been too tied up with my crucial information-harvesting duties here on the frontline to spare any time for self-promotion. I'm sure my employers would have loved me to narrate or perhaps even host the game – no doubt their official request is lost in the post somewhere - but it simply wasn't to be. Such is the life of an altruistic globetrotting adventurer.

   "Good day to you, Golightly! I send as much appreciation as possible with my message for all the danger you have braved good sir, as Piñata Island has a reputation for a particularly nasty group of natives. I am referring to the Ruffians. Why has this bunch of brutes decided to be ultimately unfriendly? How would a poor soul rid themselves of such vile vandals? Stay safe, and keep the stun-gun at the ready! (Or use Poncho as a human shield, whatever's more convenient.)" – Zenek

   Golightly: It's true that the Ruffians themselves are fairly mindless brutes, but I've heard many a rumour suggesting some kind of mastermind behind their attacks. Never met the blighter myself, touch wood. All I can say for sure is that they don't show much interest in the work of unambitious or fledgling gardeners, so it seems their main motivation is greed. Maybe you can use that against them? Personally, in my monetarily challenged state, I must suffer the indignity of fleeing like a startled rodent every time they show up...

   Well, that's that done. As it happens I've decided to stay on at Piñata Island for a while longer, possibly even with this dancing fool Poncho in my continued employ. We have a substantial backlog of information and resources (as evidenced by the latest outpouring of Poncho's Images), so there may yet be further updates from the field. But for now, farewell and, er, 'stay frosty'! Is that right?

   H. St. J. Golightly, Explorer & Adventurer



A fine, upstanding citizen of the Piñata community, generally bigger and stronger than the other steeds. Once you've got a Horstachio, most would agree you're well on the way to earning your racing stripes.


Bees! Can't abide 'em. Thankfully the Piñata Island variety seems an easy-going one, churning out prized honey for anyone who offers the right incentives. Not to say it couldn't use that sting if provoked, mind.


Look at the little fella! Look at the ears! Bless. And observation suggests they're for more than just show, which is just as well because there's no shortage of other Piñatas itching to chase after the poor mite.


I've seen more than one flower bed razed by these docile bovines. But there's little choice for anyone wanting a regular supply of calcium goodness - there don't seem to be regular milk deliveries to Piñata Island...


With all those colours it's marvellous as an artist's subject, but not what you'd call a good choice of Piñata for anyone prone to headaches. The noisy little blighter just doesn't seem to know how to be quiet.


You don't get many of these to the pound! It may be a Piñata worth bragging about, but be prepared to pay the bills for a huge daily diet and regular property damage. Light on its feet the Elephanilla is not.


Another big clumsy species, far from the sharpest tool in the garden shed. But it's also about as laid-back as they come, and this combined with the 'big and cuddly' aspect seals the deal for many gardeners.


This early arrival is just my kind of Piata: quiet, unassuming and in no way likely to put you in any physical danger. Of course, such a timid demeanour does make it vulnerable to all manner of predators.


Some people have a very clear predefined reaction to snakes of any description, but rest assured the Syrupent is almost entirely harmless. I mean, look at its face - it just wants a quiet life. Don't we all?


Sort of an odd-looking beast, not built for speed and agility, so it's just as well that the island is free of busy roads. Still, it's an amiable enough Piata. Sensitive, too, so try not to chortle at its wobbly gait.


This foxy character has a bit of a reputation as a sneak and a menace, but it's not such a bad sort. There are certainly more demanding predators to have around than these bushy-tailed dusk-loving prowlers.


A rather more exotic species than the likes of the Whirlm, the Mousemallow or even the Syrupent from which it originates. It also has a doubly touchy nature, and is well known for arguing amongst itself.


Viva Piñata Design 1Viva Piñata Design 1

Available in the following resolutions:

1280 x 1024 (551k) | 1024 x 768 (359k) | 800 x 600 (254k)

Viva Piñata Design 2Viva Piñata Design 2

Available in the following resolutions:

1280 x 1024 (375k) | 1024 x 768 (262k) | 800 x 600 (196k)

Viva Piñata Design 3Viva Piñata Design 3

Available in the following resolutions:

1280 x 1024 (608k) | 1024 x 768 (428k) | 800 x 600 (303k)


The full list of (non-secret) Xbox 360 Achievements available in Viva Piñata.

Challenger (20G)
Successfully completed 5 Factory requests

Master Challenger (20G)
Successfully completed 20 Factory requests

Romancer (20G)
Become Master Romancer for 5 species

Master Romancer (20G)
Become Master Romancer for 20 species

Collector (20G)
Made 5 species resident

Master Collector (20G)

Made 50 species resident

Longevity (20G)
Played the game for 10 hours (real time)

Garden Value (20G)
Garden worth 25,000 chocolate coins
Garden Value Master (20G)
Garden worth 100,000 chocolate coins

Piñata Value (20G)
One Piñata worth 5,000 chocolate coins

Piñata Value Master (20G)
One Piñata worth 10,000 chocolate coins

Green Fingers (20G)
Grown 5 plants to maturity

Master Green Fingers (20G)
Grown 25 plants to maturity

Wealthy (20G)
Player has 25,000 chocolate coins

Label Designer (20G)
Made a Custom Label

Piñata Name Caller (20G)
Named a Piñata

Helper Name Caller (20G)
Named a Helper

Talent (20G)
Player has reached Level 10

Master Talent (20G)
Player has reached Level 50

Wealth Master (20G)
Player has 100,000 chocolate coins


"Rare has certainly recaptured its former glory here, and in producing one of the most misunderstood games of the year, it has also produced one of the finest in its history, and certainly one of the most intriguing on 360. To dismiss it as 'just for kids' would be foolish. You are not too cool to enjoy this game." – 1UP

"No two people will play Viva Piñata alike, even though all who enter will most assuredly become residents for as long as their 360 remains tethered to a wall socket. Never have I seen a concept so perfectly implemented that a relatively tiny patch of land has me utterly captivated." – Play Magazine

"This is one of those games that you should really experience for yourself. I'm over a dozen hours into the game, and I'm still finding all sorts of new tricks of the piñata-wrangling trade." – TeamXbox

"Viva Piñata, then, is a game that's difficult to dislike. It oozes charm and personality from its every papier-mâché-covered pore." – GameSpot

"A good primer for kids and adults alike who aspire to explore the greater world of god games. It moves at a nice pace, it is never confusing, and it does a great job of holding your hand and showing you what to do next." – Game Informer

"The English developer's elaborately woven and complex endeavor brings great depth to the normally pallid kid genre, and that's part of what makes Viva Piñata such a great game. Despite ample room for improvement, this is easily one of the best titles, if not the best, Rare game since Microsoft bought it in 2002." – IGN

"Underneath the garish but sumptuous design, clearly aimed at kids, there lurks a rich and rewarding gaming core with a very dark sense of humour. This is exactly what Rare used to do with great aplomb in such greats as Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country." – Xbox 360 Gamer

"If you're feeling a little genre-claustrophobia in the Xbox 360 camp, give Viva Piñata a try... it'll almost certainly surprise you." – Games Radar

"There is so much to unlock and achieve, and after some of Rare's recent sins this is a welcome return to form, and something into which I know I'll happily sink myself for many weekends to come." – Eurogamer

"It's easy to write off Viva Piñata as a childish, simplistic fantasy. Do so and you risk missing out on one of the 360's treasures... This is the stuff of addiction, and Piñata is likely to keep even the grown-ups awake past bedtime." – Yahoo! Video Games

"I had a great time playing Viva Piñata, and even now, with all the other excellent games available on this platform and on others, I can see myself playing it for months to come." – GameSpy

Top Quote
"If you were to puree all the babies within an Anne Geddes calendar, and then get a litter of kittens to lap up the resulting babyshake, you still wouldn't have the concentration of cuteness present in Viva Piñata." – IGN (preview)