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Author Topic: Review: Samba de Amigo (Wii)  (Read 1453 times)

Mark

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Review: Samba de Amigo (Wii)
« on: December 04, 2008, 05:58:43 PM »


The price of this game just dropped to $20, so Tina and I picked it up during our Black Friday spending spree.

First of all, if you happen to have the rare Dreamcast version with good maracas, don't throw them up on Ebay just yet. 

I was thinking of doing just that, but after playing the Wii version, I'll hang onto the classic. 

The biggest pain with the old Dreamcast version was that setting up the maracas was a bitch.  For each person that wanted to play, you had to set up the sensor bar, the mat (although it's sort of optional), and the maracas (which are each wired).  It's quite the mess with two players and can take several minutes just to put together and break down.

With the Wii all you need is a Wiimote and nunchuk for each person and you're good to go.  That's quite convenient. 

By the way, let me state that if you are thinking about getting the maraca husks for the Wiimotes, I have heard that they cover the sensor on the Wiimote, which makes navigating the menus a pain.  I've also heard some cover the Wiimote loosely and slide around while you are shaking, which can be very irritating.  Buyer beware.

The Good:

If you've never played Samba de Amigo, it's a music rhythm game with a Latin theme.  You use your arms and "shake" the maracas to the beat of the song as well as pose.  There are high, low, and mid targets for each arm (6 target points) that you will try to shake and pose to.  The game is very upbeat and can give you a pretty nice arm workout.

The Wii version incorporates your Miis into it, even if it isn't much more than your little face as an icon at the top of the screen.

Supposedly you can download new songs from the Wii Shop Channel (haven't tried it, but I assume you have to pay).

There is also a new "waving" feature that has you moving back and forth across two targets.  It is a small innovation, but adds just a bit more variety to the gameplay.

The Bad:

The biggest problem with the Wii game is the controls.  At first glance you would think that the Wiimotes are the ideal peripheral for such a game.  I don't know if it's a problem with the way the Wiimote senses or just bad programming, but the Wiimote does not sense actual height like the original maracas did.  It senses what direction you are pointing in.

Let me explain.  With the real *original* maraca peripheral, you held the maracas up high and it would sense it was high up and you could hit high notes.  Hold it low for low notes, etc.  Because of this, there was this whole dance dynamic of shaking maracas high and low (and mid) and it was terrific fun because your body would flow to the music as your arms flailed around like a crack monkey.

The Wiimote could stay the exact same height the whole time and you could just point up, down, neutral for it to register the corresponding notes.  This really saps a lot of fun, especially when you are holding it low but you realize that you aren't pointing down enough, so it's still registering it in the middle.  Also, the motion sense that determines a shake (which is how you "hit" the targets) is too sensitive.  So even if you try to play it right by moving high and low (while tilting) you get punished by fast notes that transition from one position to the other because the Wiimote will think that you are shaking while you are merely trying to get from high to low quickly.  Couple this with the fact that the act of shaking itself will often mean you are pointing the Wiimote all over the place.  On easy it's not so bad, but as you get more complicated notes, the frustration builds.

I can actually manage to get 100% (at least on easy) but I have to really concentrate on my Wiimote pointing which all but eats away at the fun of freely moving to the music.  You feel like a robot that is very restricted in the movement range you can perform.

Other bad stuff... well the song list is fairly niche so it's mostly love or hate.  Also, most of it is locked and has to be unlocked through the mission mode.  You can't play the mission mode in co-op.  So basically if you want to play all the tracks, you have to play it alone for a long time.

Co-op:

As just mentioned, you can't play the main mode in co-op and it is required to unlock most of the songs.  This bites big time.

That said, there are dedicated multiplayer modes and a couple can be played in co-op.

You can play the normal game together (just not with any mission/story/unlocks).  You can also play "love love" mode, which is just like the normal game except you also get special points for when you and your partner hit notes in synch with one another.  It's actually pretty cute and makes a funny noise every time you synch.  At the end, it gives you both a love rating and guesses how long you've been together.  Fun for couples.  Maybe not so fun for frat boys.

Conclusion:

Here you have what was a very good game remade with a flawed mechanic.  What came from the original is good and the song list is much larger.  But the Wii controls and missing co-op from the mission mode really detract a lot from what would otherwise be a solid 8.25 game.  On the single player scale, I give it a 6.5.  On the co-op scale, I give it a 6.75

If you already have it on Dreamcast I wouldn't bother.  If you've never experienced it before and are into funky rhythm games, it's probably worth your $20 to play around with.  Especially when you consider the cost of the alternatives (Dreamcast w/ game and peripherals or the full arcade machine).
« Last Edit: December 09, 2008, 06:24:56 PM by Mark »

 




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