Viva Pinata: Party Animals is a giant collection of mini-games which can be played alone, but it is more suited for play among friends. Following the success of Viva Pinata, its sequel Party Animals has now been released on the Xbox 360.
Viva Pinata: Party Animals is essentially a game designed for the younger generations, however, it can still be enjoyed by older folk. Having said that, supporting four-player multiplayer on the one console or via Xbox Live! makes it a game that you would really only pull out while friends are over for an hour or so of fun. Playing alone will become rather dry after your second time around as there is no storyline or different game modes to tackle. Of the 50 mini-games on offer, they are all extremely straightforward and easy to pick up and most times are a lot of fun. The aim is to run through a series of mini-games and races earning "Candiosity" -- which essentially are points awarded for places earned in an event. The player with the most points at the end is considered the winner.
Games are organised with a set number of races and a number of mini-games in between. You can do short, medium and long events, or practice and customised modes. Races take place through big and colourful Viva Pinata circuits. Along the courses are power-ups which can be picked up and used to your advantage. Slowing down your fellow race opponents with rockets and sticky honey trails proves to be vital. You can take the lead with a pair of wings or speed boosts among various others tricks. Also along the course are jumps and points in which your character can run over in order to receive a speed boost. We found the races to be the most enjoyable events as they involved more direct competition and the race lead was able to shift fairly quickly thanks to the abundance of power-ups.
In between races are any of the 50 mini-games included. They are not all available from the get go and will need to be unlocked by completing events and winning mini-games. As mentioned before, they are straightforward and easy to pick up. Not a lot more is involved other than button tapping and moving your character about depending on the game you are playing. To give you a decent idea of what is involved, we will list a few examples. The majority involve collecting pieces of candy to tally up your score. These range from catching the falling candy pieces while remaining in the spotlight and nudging other Pinatas away to, digging for candy when your controller rumbles. Other games include Pin the Tail on the Donkey (or Zumbug as they call it) where you need to accurately pin the tail on spinning Zumbugs -- the more accurate you are, the better the points. Or As the Whirlm Turns -- where you need to eat an apple as fast as possible while trying to avoid biting the Whirlm that pops out at times. There are many more of different varieties, with some only slight variations of others.
The visual presentation of Viva Pinata: Party Animals is great and all the characters resemble are very distinct personalities. Franklin Fizzlybear, Fergy Fudgehog, Paulie Pretztail, Hudson Horstachio, Les Galagoogoo, and Ella Elephanilla are all playable characters and their in-game voices match the voiceover artists seen in the cartoon. Along with the Pinatas, the mini-games and race courses are vibrant and colourful. The incredibly repetitive and somewhat annoying Viva Pinata theme song loops in the game menus, which will more than likely result in the muting of your television.
Viva Pinata: Party Animals isn't much of a game to be enjoyed by yourself. Playing it alone won't prove to be much entertainment for long. It has a strong multiplayer focus which is why it is of course a party game, up to four-players can join in on or offline. The races are a lot of fun with your little Pinatas tearing around the track and a good majority of the mini-games are the same. The only downfall has to be the lack of any extra game modes for single play. Running events over a few times is more than enough, and you will likely be putting this game back on the shelf if you have no one else to play it with.