Viva Pinata DS hung for holidays

THQ bringing Rare's Pocket Paradise to Nintendo's portable later this year; redux original includes seven new critters, Playground mode.

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Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise
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As part of Microsoft's Gamers' Day event in San Francisco today, the publisher said that it has tapped wholly owned studio Rare for a new Xbox 360 installment in the outfit's papier-mache garden franchise, Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise. With that game scheduled to arrive this September, Rare is exhibiting busy candy-filled beaver qualities of its own right, as THQ said today that the Nintendo DS edition of Viva Pinata will also be coming later this year, sometime during the holiday season.

Initially revealed last July, the DS edition now sports the title Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise and will carry over its gameplay from the original Xbox 360 version of the game. Aspiring horticulturalists will build up their virtual gardens by creating an attractive living environment for wayward pinatas. The game will feature a redesigned interface and control scheme made more suitable for the DS.

Not a direct port, the DS edition of the game will offer a variety of tweaks to the 2006 original. Seven new pinatas have been added to the game, each with distinct environmental requirements and cutscene sequences, and Rare has also packed in 12 full-motion tutorial clips that tie into the Fox 4Kids TV series. Pocket Paradise also features a new game mode, Playground, where players can accelerate development of their gardens, and the DS edition will also feature local wireless functionality, where pinatas can be swapped between two separate systems.

While a Microsoft-owned studio releasing games for a competitor's platform via third-party publisher may initially sound odd, the arrangement isn't without precedent. While Microsoft picked up the UK-based outfit from Nintendo in 2002, Rare has released a fairly steady stream of games on the Nintendo's portables, most recently Diddy Kong Racing DS in 2006. Further, several of Rare's portable efforts since being acquired by Microsoft have been distributed by THQ, including Banjo-Pilot and It's Mr. Pants for the Game Boy Advance in 2005.

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