Samba De Amigo Review
Samba de Amigo and its manically smiling monkey first appeared on the Dreamcast a number of years ago. What really set it apart from other games at the time (and would still set it apart today) was its specialized controllers that resembled a pair of maracas. Now, several years later, SEGA has realized that the Wii Remote and Nunchuck make passable substitutes for maracas and have released a new version of the rhythm game. You can add this one to the growing list of games that you really want to like but are sunk by the poor precision of the Wii's controls.
The mechanics of the game are pretty simple. You are given six targets to hit – three for each hand set high, to the side, and low. As the song plays, icons begin to appear at the center of the circle framed by the targets and move towards one or more of them. Your goal is to shake the controller like a maraca when an icon hits one of the targets, above your head for the high targets, to the side for the mid level targets, and down towards the floor for the bottom. You'll also be occasionally instructed to strike a pose by holding the controllers in the indicated positions or to make a dance move by waving the controllers between a pair of targets. It's a simple enough scheme that makes it easy for just about anyone to jump in and start playing. Unfortunately, a chronic lack of precision turns what should be a simple and enjoyable game into an exercise in frustration.
Samba de Amigo registers your motions based on these factors: shake, control tilt, and control height, and it can be difficult to get all three in alignment. Sometimes your motions will be registered on the wrong target and at other times not at all. On the easier songs and levels this can be occasionally annoying, but is something that you can work around. As the songs become more challenging, the need for precision becomes greater and the Wii is just not up to the task. Registering dance poses is completely random, but at least more often than not, you'll get credit for matching the pose. It's still odd though to get credit for a pose before you even do it or to be standing in what looks to be perfect alignment and be given a failure sign.
The game does do a great job in creating a gun party atmosphere. It comes packed with a great collection of fun sambas, rumbas, and other Latin styles. The graphics are bright and colorful, and as you play the screen background is filled with dancing animals and Miis. If only the controls were more precise, it would be easy to recommend as a fun party game. Still, if you have an easy-going group who would enjoy shaking around to some fun music without any concern for scoring or doing well as far as the game is concerned, then you'll probably manage to have plenty of fun with the game.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 66%. If only the Wii controls were as precise an instrument as maracas...