#419 Samba de Amigo

Posted: 15th September 2018 by Jeroen in Games
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724th played so far

Genre: Music
Platform: Dreamcast
Year of Release: 1999
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega

The Dreamcast era really was one for weird peripherals. We saw this with Sega Bass Fishing (although I avoided it there by playing the PC version) and a few years later with the massive setup that came with Steel Battalion. Another peripheral were maraca controllers to play Samba de Amigo with.

Luckily, this game got a Wii rerelease and so instead of tracking down weird controllers, I just get to use the Wiimote, which feels like it should be a natural fit.

Our Thoughts

Do they work? Maybe not quite, but to explain that it needs some context on how the game works.

Obviously, shaking maracas to a rhythm doesn’t make for a great game on its own, so the game has you pointing instead as well. Up left and right, left and right, or down left and right – either both maracas the same way, or both in different directions. It’s a neat idea, but has its issues in the Wii edition because the nunchuk doesn’t have great motion detection. It means you need to twist it while you point, which is easy to get wrong when you get in the game, and the game seemed to mostly leave it to higher difficulties to really double down on it to avoid those issues.

The other part of the rhytm game is less rhythm based but more fun – there are several dance moves you’ll need to perform – waving your hands in the air or to the side. While they would be fairly arbitrary distractins in other places, they fit in well here. The game creates a lot of elements that require you to stand up and dance and these exercises really double down on them.

All of this also means that there are no weird buttons or other oddities to try to remember. You can follow along with the on screen prompts and, with some practice, just have to make sure you follow the instructions. That’s not as easy as it sounds, but it feels almost the purest, a game that fits the music it’s portraying most.

The music selection helps as much, with a number of samba classics that are delightful to dance to, and some odd choices that the game makes work incredibly well – Tubthumping is probably the first weird thing I came across, and it consists mostly of dance moves, but somehow it sort of works. Not as well as the others, but it’s a good break.

Final Thoughts

While the Guitar Hero series really created the plastic instrument genre with its guitars, I could see how Samba de Amigo would have been just as engaging while transfering a lot better to the Wii as well. It’s probably the best rhythm game I’ve played so far.