Generally favorable reviews - based on 65 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 63 out of 65
  2. Negative: 0 out of 65
Buy On
  1. The most surprising part about Viva Piñata is that once you've gained higher levels of experience, you keep them. Even if you start a new garden. Which means you carry over all you coins and all the items you've unlocked during the course of your previous gardens, so you don't have to start that all over again. Killer!
  2. 95
    Even though it might look like it's for kids, trust me it is for adults, too. Guys or Gals, everyone who is a gamer and enjoys games like Sims, and Harvest Moon should pick this one up. You won’t regret it.
  3. Play Magazine
    Never have I seen a concept so perfectly implemented that a relatively tiny patch of land has me utterly captivated. [Jan. 2007, p.60]
  4. It’s simply the best kid’s game that isn’t a kid’s game that has been released in years.
  5. The ultimate sandbox game. It gives players plenty of opportunities to experiment and explore, but it also has enough meat to really attract gamers interested in strategic play.
  6. The game is a lot of fun because it's not as tedious as games like Zoo Tycoon or as inane as raising a puppy on your Nintendo DS. The game strikes a good balance between managing your pets and making a buck and offers lots of fun activities along the way.
  7. An extremely impressive balance of considerable complexity, Viva Piñata provides an experience unlike any other on the Xbox 360.
  8. 90
    One of the most entertaining and fulfilling experiences available for the Xbox 360...There are countless ways you can design a garden, and countless ways to enjoy the game.
  9. 90
    Rare has certainly recaptured its former glory itself here, and in producing one of the most misunderstood games of the year, it has also produced on one of the finest in its history, and certainly one of the most intriguing on 360.
  10. Tired of chainsawing Locusts? Bored of sniping Nazis? Give Viva Pinata a shot. Experiencing a vibrant world full of animals that react to every decision you make in your garden is not a typical simulation videogame.
  11. The overriding feeling you'll get from Viva Piñata is one of depth. It's a far more involving and time consuming game than I expected.
  12. 90
    Add in the eye-catching, and retina burning graphics, the clever use of audio cues to alert you to events and problems, the elegant control and menu interface and a design philosophy that doesn't unfairly penalize you for mistakes, and you've got a recipe for fun that's simple and enchanting.
  13. 90
    RARE hasn’t showed as much promise on the Xbox platform as they had back in the Nintendo days, but the tide has turned, and Viva Piñata has become my sleeper hit of the year, and might very well be my personal game of the year.
  14. A brilliant unique game that has appeal stemming from every nook and cranny. Drop any preconceptions about a game that you may have from its box-art and visual style, Viva Pinata is one of the most rewarding, refreshing and important games to find its way onto the Xbox 360 this year.
  15. Once Viva Pinata grabs you then there is no way you can escape. A bright and vibrant world surrounds a game that is an essential purchase for everyone.
  16. Viva Piñata is more than just a game…it’s an experience.
  17. At the end of the day, if you’re willing to dismiss Viva Pinata on the basis that it looks a bit kiddy, then you’re kidding yourself out of a fantastic adventure that has already shaken Rare to its roots, thanks to the departure of two of its three founding members after poor sales of this game. Shame on you, shame on you.
  18. It may look like a kid's game, but Viva Piñata features more than enough action and strategy to keep even the biggest action gamer addicted for hours on end. Don't feel embarrassed buying it.
  19. To hear a paper deer making sounds was one of the highlights in my gaming world for a long, long time. This should tell you something about this game, which is entirely in a league of its own.
  20. There is no other game like it and probably never will be which is a shame. It’s perfectly simple to pick up and play but also has enough depth and wonderful energy to keep you interested too.
  21. Pelit (Finland)
    Like a breath of fresh air. The gardening and raising of piñatas is great fun and good pastime for the holiday season. [Jan 2007]
  22. It's obviously not for everyone, but you can't deny it's charm. This is definitely Rare's best release on any Microsoft platform, and it is a wonderful game to play.
  23. While odds are that your little sibling will enjoy some of the game’s charm more than you, the underlying gameplay is satisfying and challenging enough to engage older players as well.
  24. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    For something to tug on the heartstrings to the degree that Viva Pinata does is stunning. [Jan. 2007, p.97]
  25. There’s so much to do, so much to see and so many piñatas you can gently tap on the noggin with your mighty shovel it could keep anyone from 8 to 80 occupied until the moozipans come home.
  26. There are an insane amount of things to accomplish in the garden and a number of things that can be done whether to player focuses on breeding, gardening, farming, or all three.
  27. Children will get a kick out of the pinãtas cartoon antics, while the more mature gamer will enjoy the complete freedom to design and explore as they feel fit. Highly recommended.
  28. 85
    The characters are endearing and the abounding sense of discovery can't be denied.
  29. Vibrant and charming, Viva Pinata is family friendly fun that engages a child's imagination with its ever evolving gameplay. The more kids play, the more they will be drawn into Viva’s virtual world. Parents be warned though. Keep those ear plugs handy. The migraine-inducing theme song is enough to have you reaching for that bottle of Tequila.
  30. 85
    Viva Pinata reminds everyone how great a game can be with just a little imagination and the technical prowess to bring it to life. A truly excellent effort from Rare in all regards.
  31. Official Xbox Magazine
    Viva Pinata is a sandbox game in the vein of "The Sims" and "Zoo Tycoon". There's no real way to"win". Your reward for playing is increasing your level, unlocking new content, and, of course, earning achievements. [Jan. 2007, p.80]
  32. Though the game may be wrapped up in a brightly colored 'E' rated package, it is intended for any and all who love the micromanagement and collection heavy games. Whether you are putting together a pristine garden, collecting every species of piñata, protecting your critters from evil piñatas or even each other, it’s hard to get bored and even harder to put down the controller.
  33. It’s one of the most unique strategy/sim titles to appear on a console in recent memory, and fans of those genres should definitely consider giving it a look, however old they are.
  34. 85
    If you are looking for a gentle, charming distraction that can be picked up and put down with as much frequency as you like, I strongly recommend you give it a go. It's certainly one of the better looking titles about, and makes for a relaxing counterpoint after all the gritty realism in the likes of "Gears of War."
  35. It’s unique, perfect for gamers of all ages, and most important of all, it’s a lot of fun!
  36. The most interesting thing about Viva Pinata is the fact that it's actually better suited for adults than it is for children. Managing your resources (er, your pinatas) can be a lot of work, and I'm actually finding the game to be more challenging than many real-time strategy games.
  37. Rare has put together a deceptively deep gameplay formula that successfully pulls you back in time-after-time again. Cutesy characters shouldn't deter even the grisliest gamers from dropping anchor and exploring Pinata Island.
  38. It’s a great game with fantastic style and quality, no matter what age. Don’t miss out on it.
  39. Yes, Viva Piñata is primarily aimed at the same audience that might enjoy the animated TV show of the same name. However, like hitting things with sticks or eating candy, you're not too old for its appeal just because you can get into PG-13 movies, drive a car, or claim a pension.
  40. Not a bad first-effort at an oddball game for kids, Viva Pinata holds appeal to all ages, but not to all tastes, given the niche nature of the title and the too-frenetic pace in the early going.
  41. A Mallowolf in Goobaa's clothing; killer fun masquerading as a crappy cartoon tie-in.
  42. With addictive gameplay, varied achievements that despite a real lack of difficulty, help to keep the player engrossed in seeing more of the game, topped with unbeatable charm, Viva Piñata is definitely a fun title for people of all ages.
  43. Viva Piñata is a game that can be enjoyed by children, teenagers or adults. The universal appeal of this game lies with the fact that people generally like animals and nice gardens. What VP does is to combine these elements into an enjoyable experience.
  44. A terminally cute game, so while almost guaranteed to suck the kiddies in, it's a tough sell for the trigger-happy Halo crowd. It's also fairly short if your goal is getting every pinata in the game to become a resident in your garden.
  45. You just need to invest yourself. If you do, you'll discover Viva Piñata to be a subtle blend of resource management and Origin of Species (albeit mad, wackily named species with cute sound effects).
  46. 80
    A uniquely relaxing and immersive world that hides surprising depth -- building a thriving garden isn't a matter of slavishly adhering to rules or keeping up with the busywork, although those things play their part.
  47. 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.
  48. There’s always something to do on your plot of land, and it’ll be a long time before you encounter every species of Piñata and see everything this bright colourful world has to offer.
  49. Games Master UK
    It's an acquired taste but Rare have created something unique and massively fun. [Christmas 2006, p.82]
  50. Viva Piñata may frustrate and confuse at times, but never enough for you to give up on the game. There’s always something going on and sometimes maybe a little too much, but with simple menus to navigate and endless pointers and advice to turn to, playing the game almost becomes like second nature.
  51. The relaxed nature and slow pace of the game actually works well as you don’t need things to get overly complicated and if you are unfortunate enough to get into a situation where it becomes so then with careful and perhaps ruthless actions, players can get out of bad situations.
  52. If you can get into the bizarre and colorful candy-filled vibe, and you enjoy games that give you the freedom to play as you like, you’ll definitely be able to party with Viva Pinata.
  53. X-ONE Magazine UK
    With buckets of replayability and a big heart to match, Rare has finally come good and delivered a belter of a game. Wipes away rancid memories of "Perfect Dark" and makes you smile inside. [Issue 14, p.78]
  54. When it comes down to it, Viva Piñata is a pretty basic strategy game in some areas that expands the strategy concept in other areas - areas you may not traditionally expect a game of this genre to expand.
  55. 80
    Viva Pinata tackles Pokemon's cuteness, Animal Crossing's fun chores, and The Sims' relationships, and comes out tasting as sweet as the candy its main characters are filled with.
  56. It’s not super fast-paced (which could be regarded as a positive) and the gameplay might be a little too open-ended for those who like clear and specific goals. But for anyone who is looking for a game the whole family can play together, Viva Piñata will do very nicely, indeed.
  57. games(TM)
    Microsoft finally has the kind of property it has always sorely lacked – a game with a truly cross-generational appeal and striking originality. Buy it for the kids, and then don’t let them get near it. [Jan 2007, p.92]
  58. AceGamez
    No other place offers this kind of strategy, brimming with one of a kind characters and creatures, and the actual work you'll be doing is so different that we should get it patented!
  59. Old or young, if you're looking for a beautiful, goofy, moderately disturbing game that encourages experimentation and guarantees many hours of fun, Viva Pinata is a safe bet. It absolutely could have been better, but it's still a triumph in its own little way, and it's proof that for all the recent five-out-of-tens, Rare still has it where it counts.
  60. 80
    And finally we can write something at the end of a review that we’ve been longing to write for ages, that Rare are back on form.
  61. A game that can be enjoyed for its unique charm and accessibility. Viva Piñata is a friendly game with a startling amount of depth - you just have to take out your controller and take a whack at it.
  62. It seems like the kind of game a child could share with a parent, although there’s enough sugar here to please anyone with a sweet tooth, and a sour sense of humor.
  63. With menus that are pretty simple to figure out (after a while, my daughter was showing me how to do some things), the game is fairly accessible for kids to dive right into and enjoy. The over-the-top cutesy animations and sharp visuals are perfect to keep piñata herders of all ages engaged, too.
  64. Edge Magazine
    Rich with charm, ingenuity, artistry and genuine delight. [Jan 2007, p.77]
  65. netjak
    The premise behind Viva Piñata is solid, but irritating gameplay and sound issues hindered the overall execution. What could have been a true classic ends up being a remarkably average game.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 146 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 16 out of 146
  1. Jan 26, 2012
    Viva Pinata is possibly the best, if not one of the best, life simulation games of all times. Conjuring up cuteness that The Sims could neverViva Pinata is possibly the best, if not one of the best, life simulation games of all times. Conjuring up cuteness that The Sims could never handle, the graphics and animations are fluid and vibrant, and the mating dance is always a spectacle. The controls are simple and easy to use, but hard to master. Combine that with some helpful tips and a range of pinatas to bring into your garden, and you end up with a gem of a video game. If you're sick of all the shooters and hack-n-slash games, and you feel the need for some relaxing, full of depth gameplay, purchase this video game. Full Review »
  2. Sep 11, 2011
    I really laughed a lot after hearing that ViVa Pinata was getting a game adaptation .So yeah, I underestimated a game because of it's goofyI really laughed a lot after hearing that ViVa Pinata was getting a game adaptation .So yeah, I underestimated a game because of it's goofy concept. It turns out the game was quite addicting, everything to the charming graphics, cute animals and endearing world it's an instant victory for VP. Fun and addicting, nothing more defines this game . Full Review »
  3. Jan 22, 2018
    Original y estilo visual muy colorido. Es entretenido y engancha aunque no es un juego para todo tipo de jugadores.