Samba de Amigo
was a game originally released on the Dreamcast several years ago; complete with maraca peripherals made specifically for
the game, it was considered by many to be a classic and among one of the very best games for Sega's last video-game system.
Apart from the gameplay appearing in Sega Superstars for the PS2, this was the first time since then that people
were able to shake it to some groovy yet cheesy tunes.
The general idea of the game is to use either two Wii Remotes,
or Remote and Nunchuk, as maracas and shake it to the beat of the music. There are six circles on screen, with smaller blue
circles that approach them. As the blue circles approach the bigger circles, you're required to shake your controller in that
particular area, whether it be up, forward or down, depending on where and how you calibrate your controls. There are a variety
of different modes, including a career mode for the single player as well as general quick-play modes, and various modes for
multiplayer, including minigames.
From a first glance, the game looks amazing. Everything is so colourful and well-designed
and the music available, while somewhat cheesy, is still incredibly catchy and well-suited to such a game. There are a huge
variety of options and gameplay modes to choose from, ranging from battle mode to 'Love Love'. But then you get into the actual
game and you notice that the game isn't perfect and it's all down to one main thing - the controls.
The controls aren't
so bad that they make the game unplayable, not by a long shot, but they are still frustrating at times. Admittedly if you
play the game on Easy Mode you are less likely to notice the problems so you're more likely to just enjoy the game, but if
you try the game on the harder difficulties, the problems become more obvious (and if you intend to unlock all the songs via
Career Mode, you will need to at least tackle Hard Mode). The best way I can describe this is that there will be points when
you're expected to make an immediate transition from top to middle, or from middle to bottom, and the movement will just not
register on the game, meaning you will lose out on a combo. I'm not going to blame the game developers for this - the problem
supposedly lies in the functionality of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk - I will say, however, that the game could have benefitted
far more if it had been delayed and had MotionPlus adapted into it.
Minor niggles with the game are the minigames,
which mostly consist of shaking the remote as fast as possible and really aren't all that enjoyable to play and the Volleyball
minigame is pretty much unplayable. The Love Love Mode registers how in time you are with the other person you are playing
with and uses that information to see how long you will be together - the whole concept on that I consider to be rubbish.
But those minor niggles do not come close to the major problem that is the frustrating controls.
It's such a shame
really, because other than that and the minor niggles, this game gets everything else right. The graphics are beautiful, the
music is great and the whole concept works, and had the controls been a little better, this game would have easily gotten
a much higher score from me. Granted, the controls are not the most horrible thing in gaming and you can get used to them,
but for the most part it's better playing in the easier difficulties. I also recommend that for better controls that players
use two Wii Remotes if they have them and supposedly calibrating your controls so that the circle is larger works as well.
de Amigo is a game that seemed so appropriate for the Wii motion controls, but ultimately the final product did not turn
out as fantastic as what it should have done. Still, on the easier difficulties, the game can be enjoyed with little noticing
of the frustrating controls and it's especially fun if you have a friend you can play it with. So on the whole, it's a decent
experience, but approach with caution.