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Piñatas need love; burn some rubber

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Viva Piñata

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Platforms: Xbox 360

Rating: E — Everybody

Game type: Simulation

Rating: *** 1/2 (out of five)











• What’s the premise?


Across the sea there is a magical island where beautiful piñatas need your help by building them the perfect garden where they’ll be raised, fed and taken care of until it’s their turn to bring happiness to a child’s party — by getting smashed to bits with a bat. OK, so there’s kind of a mixed message here, but it’s actually a really innocuous game.





• This game is most similar to…?


Sticking The Sims and Pokemon in a blender.





• Can I let my kid/kid brother play it?


I’d suggest handing them the controller and going to fix a sandwich. This game is definitely aimed at him and not you.





• One player or more?


There is a “family mode” so that up to four people can tend the same piece of land, but only one at a time.





• The (not-so) secret to success is…?


It’s all about the romance. You need to create the perfect ambiance (home, food, etc.) for your piñatas to get it on so they’ll make more of their ilk. This takes patience, creativity and a little bling-bling.





• And in the end?


Viva Piñata is extremely unusual and oddly addictive. It’s a good fit for kids, but a tad slow for anyone older.









Cars

Publisher: THQ

Platforms: GameBoy Advance, Nintendo GameCube, Mac, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, PSP, Windows PC, Xbox, Xbox 360

Rating: E — Everybody

Game type: Racing/adventure

Rating: **** (out of five)











• What’s the premise?


Relive the action from Disney/Pixar’s red-hot animated feature Cars as you take to the streets of Radiator Springs for some free-wheelin’ fun and to the track to try and win the Piston Cup.





• This game is most similar to…?


Most racing games… but gentler.





• Can I let my kid/kid brother play it?


My three-year-old son can’t get enough of it. He wants to go tractor tipping with Mater at least once a day.





• One player or more?


You can burn rubber against one other live person, but no more.





• The (not-so) secret to success is…?


Take your time and explore the massive world of Radiator Springs. You’ll be surprised what you can find.





• And in the end?


With over a dozen characters to choose from (all voiced by Hollywood stars like Paul Newman and Owen Wilson), more than 30 different races and mini-games and a storyline that picks up right where the movie left off, Cars is a slick ride.




jonathan.kuehlein@metronews.ca

 
 
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