Ads are gone. We're using Patreon to raise funds so we can grow. Please pledge support today!
Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All
Samba de Amigo (Wii) artwork

Samba de Amigo (Wii) review


"Samba de Amigo on Wii has the unenviable task of reinventing a cult classic. Rhythm games weren't exactly plentiful when the original Samba hit the Dreamcast in 2000, but its specially-designed maraca peripherals made it a wholly unique experience. This version keeps the same spirit, retaining the original soundtrack and an indomitable cast of characters, and its quick-fire Latin rhythms keep you shaking all about. But the Wii motion controls, even though they seem like a natura..."



Samba de Amigo on Wii has the unenviable task of reinventing a cult classic. Rhythm games weren't exactly plentiful when the original Samba hit the Dreamcast in 2000, but its specially-designed maraca peripherals made it a wholly unique experience. This version keeps the same spirit, retaining the original soundtrack and an indomitable cast of characters, and its quick-fire Latin rhythms keep you shaking all about. But the Wii motion controls, even though they seem like a natural fit, just miss providing the absolute accuracy required for a perfect resurrection.

If it could get by on volume of energy alone, Samba de Amigo would be an instant success. The dance party always starts with Amigo the monkey, toothy smile plastered on his face, sombrero on his head, and maracas clutched in hand. When his sister Amiga taps her tambourines, the buildings begin bouncing in time. As his showgirl butterfly arrives with flittering feet, people fill the street as her crew of backup dancers. Sega even trots out some fanservice treats. Amigo boards Space Channel 5 to boogie with Ulala and rolls into the Green Hill Zone to break it down with Sonic. The better you perform, the more it starts rocking; even the trees and rainbows will proceed to sway with enthusiasm. Constant camera rotation and quick cuts make sure there's always a new, brightly-colored detail in view.

Vibrant visuals put you in the mood. The music gets you moving. Samba de Amigo contains most all of the music from both the original Dreamcast release and its Japan-only Version 2000 follow-up. That dredges up songs you may want to forget, like the Macarena and Lou Bega's Mambo No. 5. But even if you dread the return of Ricky Martin, there's no denying he lays down a dance beat. Plus there are 23 new tunes, including releases from Santana and Rhianna. For the best music, though, turn to the unrecognizable tracks: the sambas, mambos, and cha chas that you might hear in a Mexican restaurant. These sounds are the heart of Samba's flavor, and they really distinguish this game from the deluge of contemporary rock 'n roll rhythm knockoffs. And if you really get tired of all the songs, more can be purchased through download.

Once you're in motion, it's just a matter of following the frantic pace. The basic controls utilize a circle of six targets on the screen. There's a high, middle, and low zone for each hand. Little spheres spawn out of the center of the ring and zip towards one of these destinations. You point and shake one, or both, of your hands towards the appropriate zone when the orb hits its target in time with the beat. For variety and general craziness, sometimes you'll have to quickly rattle within one zone for an extended period of time. There are also dance moves that involve quickly switching between areas and poses where you point and hold for a second.

'Point' is the operative word. It's easy to confuse the high, middle, and low positions on the screen for the altitude of the controller; that's how the original worked, after all. However, these actually designate direction. Holding the remote forward is the neutral middle stance; angling it up and down covers the other areas. While the controls are generally responsive, they're not absolutely crisp. Sometimes you'll mean to hit a beat but shake in such a way you switch zones instead. Or the other way around. A highlight surrounds the active area, and occasionally you just can't get it to shift fast enough. The nunchuk in particular has difficulty picking up your intended direction.

On the two easiest settings, this isn't much a problem. In addition to marking fewer notes, your hands generally work symmetrically, either directly in tandem or following up a rhythm with a mirrored response. The third setting breaks the easy patterns, peppering you with more notes and avoiding symmetry. It also utilizes more crossovers, where both controllers must simultaneously cover zones on the same side. It's here where the nunchuk's shortcomings really start hurting. For the highest level, using the alternate control scheme of two Wii remotes is virtually mandatory. The screen starts to look like a breakout of Bangai-O, and you'll need every bit of accuracy to navigate the mess of flying spheres. Clearing a stage is never a walk; it takes close to a 90% accuracy rating.

Perfection isn't impossible; videos floating on the Internet show players nailing superhard stages without missing beat. But it's too frustrating to feel that at times, it's the controls holding you back instead of ability. When you're playing with friends, though, those hard feeling sort of melt away. Love Love mode lets two players cooperate not just to navigate through a song, but to test their compatibility. Battle mode lets people compete head-to-head. It could've been called Hate Hate mode, but this title only spreads good feelings. Samba de Amigo is the type of game you can pull out anytime and have a lot of fun thrashing your arms around. It just won't quite satisfy hardcore rhythm enthusiasts.

Rating: 7/10

woodhouse's avatar
Community review by woodhouse (December 07, 2008)

A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.

More Reviews by woodhouse
Naruto Shippuden: Shinobi Rumble (DS) artwork
Naruto Shippuden: Shinobi Rumble (DS)

In practice, Shinobi Rumble doesn't deliver superior single-player combat. The fighting mechanics are technically simple, the computer's strategies are equally unsophisticated, and the story mode is simple shorthand. If you're going at this solo, the game will occupy a few hours and then be forgotten forever.
Heartwork (PC) artwork
Heartwork (PC)

He could still end up in a compromising position with a cold steel barrel up his butt. I consider it fitting payback for his other transgressions. Heartwork considers it the ultimate orgasm.
Madden NFL 11 (Wii) artwork
Madden NFL 11 (Wii)

All of these choices reinforce your self-image, plus they present more challenges than simply winning games and piling up stats. There are many ways in which the Wii version of Madden can't ever compete with its HD counterparts, but these changes to Franchise Mode define it as a desirable parallel.

Feedback

If you enjoyed this Samba de Amigo review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Info | Help | Privacy Policy | Contact | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Samba de Amigo is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Samba de Amigo, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.