What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this game is associated with the children's Viva Piñata TV show. Play is composed of piñata races and short, simple Mini games that are easy to learn and suitable for kids. However, the game supports online play with voice chat enabled, which means other players could be communicating words and ideas that might not be in accord with the game's E rating. Common Sense Media does not recommend online play for any child under age 12.
What's it about?
VIVA PIÑATA: PARTY ANIMALS is a follow-up to the Xbox 360 Viva Piñata video game, featuring the same characters that populate Fox's Viva Piñata television show. Party Animals is composed of competitions that involve as few as six and as many as 28 short Mini games and races. The formula is simple: Four characters compete in a race the results of which influence scoring in the Mini games that follow. If you do well in the race, you'll earn bonus points in the minigames.
Races adhere to the goofy party racing game rules established by the classic Mario Kart games. As players pilot their piñatas around various tracks they can grab power-ups that will allow them to do things like slime other players' windshields, set booby traps on the road to cause havoc for those lagging behind, and grow a set of wings for a boost of speed.
Is it any good?
Sadly, this game lacks the sort of inventive ideas that made the original so much fun. The Mini games are little more than thinly disguised copies of games that have existed for some time in the Mario Party series. That's not to say that these little challenges -- which involve activities like keeping your balance on a spinning platform and navigating snow-covered minefields -- aren't fun, but they score low points for originality.
Party Animals' one notable advantage over others in its genre is that it supports online play over Xbox Live. Party games are always at their best when played against human opponents, and while a room full of friends is the ideal, competing with others online isn't a bad substitute. Just take care that the opponents your kids are playing against aren't abusing the privilege of voice chat communication.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about sportsmanship. How can you be a gracious winner and noble loser? What is the nature of competition, and what does it mean to win or lose a game, sport, or contest? How do you feel when you win? How do you feel when you lose?