Samba de Amigo

Originally created by Sonic Team, Samba de Amigo takes maraca shaking and makes it a bright & colourful experience for the Nintendo Wii.

There was a time when Sega created games that gamers loved. They were based off of original IP and had unique designs, control schemes, and were so creative that they made themselves a place in the heart of gamers who grew up with them.

Many of these titles were developed by a group at Sega known as Sonic Team, a game development house responsible for titles such as NiGHTS into Dreams, Feel the Magic XY/XX, Shining Force, and pretty much every Sonic the Hedgehog game that ever came out.

One of the games developed by Sonic Team was called Samba de Amigo, an early attempt at rhythm games featuring a maraca obsessed monkey-thing that shakes his rhythm sticks wildly making music for everyone to enjoy. Originally released into the arcades in 1999 and hitting the Sega Dreamcast in late 2000, Sega have decided to revive this classic for the Wii now that everyone has settled into the whole motion-control game.

Samba de Amigo has you grab either the Wiimote and Nunchuk or two Wiimotes and shake them up, down, left and right as well as holding poses in a rhythm game. You can put the Wiimotes into Wii-raca shells and jam along with actual shaking noises too but because Samba is a two player only game, make sure to have enough Wiimote and Nunchuk’s handy if you’re going to play.

You’ll be jamming along to songs that you didn’t know were hits like the “Macarena,” “The Ketchup Song,” as well as songs you did like “Tubthumping,” “Tequila,” “Take On Me”, “Smooth,” “Bamboleo,” and “Smooth”.

Levels are bright and colourful and the Wii looks like it’s the perfect platform to make the shift from a game that worked so well on the Dreamcast.

While Samba de Amigo is a lot of fun and a worthy conversion, there are some problems which seem to plague it.

I’ll just say that it is quite fun but sadly the songs run for too short a time. With levels peaking at anywhere between one and three minutes, songs tend to be a lot shorter than they normally would be and you find that the moment you start really enjoying yourself, the song ends. Aside for having some of the weaker recreations of songs, this time limit placed on songs really does strangle how much fun you’ll get out of Samba de Amigo especially if you start getting into the game.

Affecting the title worse than the time limit, however, is Samba’s sensitivity levels found in the controls: they’re just plain awful. Play the game in easy mode and you’ll have a fun time of it but stick it in any other difficulty and Samba de Amigo just becomes mindless trash. Moves don’t seem to be translated well or quickly enough and as a result, you’ll start losing the game (and the monkey’s fans) quicker than you can say “Arriba!”

Outside of the single-player, you can stick Samba de Amigo into a two player mode and go for your life, but the difficulty problem with controller issues is present there too. If you’re playing with friends, you’re both less likely to notice it because it can still be fun, but by yourself it becomes more of a yelling festival as you try and work out how Gearbox managed to get this thing through beta without seeing all of the problems.

And if you manage to grab the Wii-racas, just be aware that because the plastic thick and orange, your motion sensor won’t work at all when they’re inside the accessory (hint: next time they need to make them out of something a bit more clear).

Funnily enough, if you’ve got friends who hate video games or don’t exactly find a passion in them, they will probably love the craziness of Samba de Amigo regardless of its problems. A party in a box despite its flaws, Samba is a somewhat worthy remake for those days where you just need to samba.

Click to enlarge

Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: Sega
Classification: G
Formats: Nintendo Wii
URL: Samba de Amigo

Reviewed by Leigh D. Stark