With bated breath, I began a journey of sheer emotional drudgery. It seemed like forever before I could let myself love again and trust the one company that broke my heart….Sega. It has been since the death of the Dreamcast since I saw this lovely visage, staring back at me with such longing and allure. I slowly slid the disc into the drive and it was taken, my eyes glazed over with such tension that it seemed that a simple sound would shatter my very existence. No I was not playing the next great game….I was playing Samba De Amigo for the Nintendo Wii.
It has been eight long years since the last release of Samba De Amigo, bringing back the maraca shaking monkey into the glory of light. Although Sega has seemed to falter with the revival of it’s past franchises, it would seem that this new version of Samba De Amigo is a success. For those that do not know, Samba de Amigo is a rhythm game of old. Before the world of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, Japan dominated the genre with the most wacky and wild of styles with games like Gitaroo Man, Parappa the Rapper and Vib Ribbon. With the resurgence of the genre thanks to the modern American iterations, as well as the potential of the Nintendo Wii, it would only seem right for Samba to take it’ss place among the system’s library.
The rules of Samba De Amigo are simple, there are six circles located around the screen, represented as places around your body i.e. upper left, left, lower left, upper right, right, lower right. Blue balls span out from the center to different circles in rhythm to the music and you, as the player, are tasked with shaking your Wii Remote and Nunchuk (or two Wii Remotes), in the proper areas to earn points. Added to the mix are poses that you have to perform via onscreen commands and also motions back and forth between multiple points that really change the pace between the standard shakes. The most important question is, “Does this work?” Your answer is sometimes.
As we all know, the Nintendo Wii is not as accurate a system as we all thought it would be originally. Many games have shown the massive flaws in the controls by offering very shaky and uncontrollable motions. Samba de Amigo is a strange mixture between accurate and frustrating. With the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, there are far too many misses and inaccurate shakes due to the poor motion-sensing on the Nunchuk. The two Wii Remote controls seem to work much better, but there still were moments of missed shakes that should not have been. Hopefully this will be improved on in future version as this game really stands out as a fun and unique game.
What really makes this game stand out is not the controls, but instead, everything else. The game features a visual style like no other as you dance in the most unusual settings ever made like a flying circus, a psychedelic tunnel that spouts out imagery that will haunt your very existence and much much more. These environments change in accordance to your performance, the better you do, the more energetic and alive the environments become as you and your squad of dancing miis, cacti, butterfly girls and the like dance to their hearts content. Have poor performance and watch your team act sluggish and sad in a dimly lit and depressing locale. This brings the world of Samba De Amigo to life and gives the game a watchable factor for you and your friends.
Another great aspect is the soundtrack, featuring REAL samba music and other latin beats that fit right in with the theme unlike other rhythm games (I’m looking at you Taiko Drum Master and Donkey Konga). Other strange songs do make their appearance like the Rocky Theme Song and Mambo #5, but those don’t seem to really hurt the atmosphere. Add to this the downloadable song tracks to continue the longevity of the game and you have something that will last a long time.
And an even greater reason to play the game is the modes of play. There are tons that help refine the art of Samba like Whac-a-mole, Dance Dance Amigo, a strange Volley Ball Mini-Game, and various challenge modes that push you to continue on to unlock new songs, new maraca sounds and a plethora of different mysteries.
The real thing is that Samba de Amigo is meant to be played for fun. If you come into it with that in mind, the unpredictable controls will take a back stage to the great soundtrack, whacky visual styles and the fun that you would be having with friends as you dance the night away. If you play to be the best, you will be disappointed as the game will make it difficult to perfect the game-play. Just have fun, enjoy yourself and don’t disregard this amazing title for the Wii as it is fun, frenetic and full of life.
Final Score 7.9/10
Edited by The Colonel, 06 August 2009 - 10:19 PM.