What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this animated series is effectively a commercial for the Xbox 360 video game of the same name that's targeted at grade-school students. Storylines are based on competitions and acquiring necessary pinata elements like "candiosity." The characters cheat during their competitions, regularly get whacked by baseball bats, and, frankly, are pretty boring.
What's the story?
VIVA PINATA, which is based on the same-named Xbox 360 title, looks like a video game. Scenes shift quickly, and characters -- including Hudson Horstachio (voiced by Dan Green), Paulie Pretztail (Brian Maillard), Franklink Fizzlybear (Marc Thompson), and Fergy Fudgehog (David Wills) -- move and spin. Episode storylines focus on competition and building up important pinata qualities like "candiosity."
Is it any good?
Viva Pinata has a lively 3D animation style that will be attractive to older kids but off-putting to kids who are used to slower-moving, less-flashy programs. Also, viewers won't find any of the pesky moral lessons that might accompany a program with such a strong competitive element -- the only positive examples come in the form of the occasional supportive friend (who might show that support by sabotaging another competitor).
It's an open question whether the world needs more kids' programming based on video games -- but even if it does, it needs to be better than this colorful but ultimately dull effort. Fans of the game may find it amusing, but Viva Pinata isn't likely to interest anyone on its own.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about whether a video game -- which might be fun on its own -- really needs a TV show to promote it. In those cases, does the show add anything to the enjoyment of the game?
If you've played the game, how do you think it compares to the show? How are they different? Do the show and the game have any similarities besides featuring pinata characters?