In general, things just flow much better this time around. You now start with some structures and pinata to work with, the game seems more generous early on with seeds, shops and facilities, and the weeds and sour pinata that come along to make your hard work harder don’t appear until a little later in the game. As a result, you have time to get used to the rhythm of planting, watering, digging, building and pinata wrangling before things get hairy. In other words, there’s less to get in the way of you getting hooked right in.
And if you (or your kids) find even this more gentle learning curve too tricky, the game has other ways around it. First, there’s a ‘Just for Fun’ mode with all the nasty bits removed and an inexhaustible supply of cash with which to try out the game’s critters, buildings and objects. Secondly, Trouble in Paradise allows another player to step in and help out. The second player’s view is constrained by the position of the first player’s cursor, but they can help handle most of the general gardening and pinata-handling tasks. Being helpful in this way fills a gauge, and when this is full the second player can then pull off a special magic power, such as healing a sick pinata or filling a pinata’s candiosity or happiness meter. It’s a great way for experienced Viva Pinata players to help those who are still finding their welly-booted feet.
Those experienced players also gain a few new features of their own. Obviously there are over thirty new pinata to deal with, each with their own needs, demands and difficulties – particularly where getting on (or staying alive) with other pinata is concerned. The biggie, however, is the introduction of the new desert and arctic areas, each of which plays host to some special pinata that have evolved for that particular climate. Truth be told, you won’t spend an awful lot of time in these, as they’re really just areas where you can trap the new pinata before sending them back to your central garden; there are no options to alter the new environments themselves. All the same, baiting and trapping adds a new layer to the game, not least because getting the right creature into your trap while fending off any unwanted pinata or sour pinata can be a task in itself.