Samba de Amigo

Filed under: cheapo games — Tags: , — Will @ 7:00 am April 21, 2010

Game: Samba de Amigo
Purchased from: Toys ‘R’ Us
Price paid: $5.00
Platform: Wii

Samba de Amigo has a kind of convoluted history. It went from arcade game (that I could never find) to Dreamcast game (that I could never find), to re-released Dreamcast game (that I could never find), to Wii game (which I kind of forgot about). The manual to this game has a kind of a backstory, but it’s completely inconsequential. It stars a monkey that plays maracas, and that’s really all you need to know about that.

The premise is really simple. You hold either a Wii Remote and Nunchuk or two Wii Remotes kind of like you would hold maracas. Each ‘maraca’ has three positions, up, middle, and down, detected by which direction the Remote is pointing (ceiling, straight ahead, or floor). Each direction is indicated onscreen by a colored circle, and balls will flow from the middle of the display to the outside. When they’re in their respective circles, you give the ‘maracas’ a little shake. It’s one of those things that’s easier to show than it is to explain so…

And it’s really as simple as that. On the tougher difficulty levels you get alternating ups and downs, wacky dance moves you have to do, and that kind of thing, which is one of the big reasons I recommend playing with two Remotes instead of a Remote and a Nunchuk: that tether that keeps the two pieces together tended to get in my way and get snagged on things. Both could be detrimental to your experience.

The variety of songs in the game is actually pretty impressive, they run the gamut from the above ‘Papa Loves Mambo’ to ‘Low Rider’ to ‘Tubthumping’ to even ‘Pon de Replay’. 48 songs in all, which is a huge step from most of the other rhythm-based games that end up on Nintendo platforms, DDR Mario Mix had a paltry 29, Elite Beat Agents had 19. So that’s a plus.

I won’t lie, I looked around the Internet to find out what other people had to say about this game, and they all were pretty positive, but one issue kept coming up, so I should probably address it here: the accuracy of the motion detection.

This game came out before the Wii Motion Plus accessory did, and that really would have helped with the accuracy. But, by and large, it’s unnecessary. I only ran into problems with the controller not knowing which direction I was pointing in four specific situations:

  1. The batteries in my Wii Remote were running low
  2. I was sitting down instead of standing up (you really need to stand to get the full enjoyment out of this game)
  3. The action got fast and furious and I forgot that you have to orient the controller vertically to hit the ‘up’ beats and instead just raised my arms over my head, but kept the remote level and
  4. I tried to go from ‘Down’ to ‘Up’ too fast and the controller couldn’t keep up, this was usually in conjunction with #3

So, yeah, Wii Motion Plus would be nice, but not needed.

I should also note that there are three ‘download packs’ of songs available for this game, each containing three more songs. Each of the packs costs 500 Wii points, which at current exchange rates is $5, so I haven’t downloaded them. I have a mental block about paying triple the cost of the game to get all of the extra goodies (though, ‘The Rockefeller Skank’, ‘Mickey’, and ‘Love Shack’ should be fun songs to do).

It kind of makes me sad to buy an actual good game on the cheap, well, for this cheap. That usually means that the game didn’t sell very well to begin with for whatever reason. And that means that there probably won’t be any sequels, no remakes with the Wii Motion Plus, and no more song packs (the last one came out around 18 months ago). But on the flip side, it’s probably the best $5 I’ve spent in weeks.