Samba De Amigo: Party Central
(currently available for Nintendo Switch only, VR version for MetaQuest in development)
Samba De Amigo, for those who don’t know, is an old Sega franchise for the Dreamcast era, which had also seen some release in arcades. The game is actually a pioneer for motion control, since you had maraca controls. This new entry keeps up that motion control tradition, but except for new maraca controls, you’ll be using the Joycon. It’s similar to those touch dance games that you see in Japanese arcades- there are six different panels to hit and you’re trying to get the right motion to the beat of the song.
Samba De Amigo also has a few instances where if you hit a certain note, it will shake things up: you could start a mini game of trying to hit a baseball for a home run to the beat of the song, or it could speed up or slow down the song for a short amount of time.
The game also comes with several customisation options for your Amigo as well as other online and offline multiplayer. You can also play the game with traditional controls, which comes in handy if you want to play it portably- which I don’t recommend playing it in portable mode whilst handheld, since I couldn’t really see where I needed to aim my controller. Also, if you try to do that on public transport, you’re going to look ridiculous.
I do give credit that the gameplay from the Dreamcast era is still there and that the online multiplayer options are expansive, particularly one that I’ll be talking about in the pros section. But Samba De Amigo doesn’t really nail it in several regards for me, and I think that it’s going to fall to the wayside compared to other similar titles on the market.
For one thing, there’s not that much single player content. There are a few mission structures but they’re not a huge part of the game and really acted as a time distracter.
● Battle Royale
Samba De Amigo comes with Battle Royale mode, and they also have a traditional multiplayer mode, but you can’t actually see them playing with you at the same time, and as a result I didn’t find that much fun.
The Battle Royale mode, however, was very enjoyable., You get weapons to fire at other players and you can see everyone at the same time. They can fire weapons that knock your character out so the motion controls won’t work for a second, or ones that eliminate two of the spots to hit, so you might want to aim for the top left one, but it’s gone missing.
The problem I have with this mode is that you can’t choose the song that you want as it’s chosen at random. It doesn’t matter how much you don’t want to play Macarena by Los Del Rio; it’s coming on and you have to play it! I wouldn’t mind if there was an update that allowed for a vote of songs, similar to what we got with Mario Kart 8 on the track selection.
I actually think that this is a very good-looking game. It does a good job of updating the original but maintains a lot of the Dreamcast original era quality it had. Samba De Amigo has a very distinctive art style so I’m happy they didn’t mess with it too much, you can even unlock one of the classic outfits from the Dreamcast era, which I would really recommend since that character design is amazing.
Some of the environments also look great but you’re mostly going to be so focused on hitting the notes that you won’t get much time to appreciate it. I did appreciate that for the Sonic music content that they recreated City Escape in a really cool way.
I put this in the Mixed section since it will vary based on your own personal taste, but in my opinion, I thought that the soundtrack was a really mixed bag, and I found myself only playing the same songs over and over again.
I bought the Deluxe version which meant that I got access to the extra Sonic songs, and there are a few extras from the Sonic games (mostly ones from Adventure onwards, even some from Sonic Frontiers). While these are the best songs of the game, they don’t really match the Party theme that the game is going for. I think they went a bit too far; the old games have a lot of Latin music mixed in with the pop songs, and I was expecting that to be the same here, but they went completely the other way, most of these are club anthems!
Some of them aren’t too bad of a choice, I completely understand why they would put a song like Just Dance by Lady Gaga in the mix, but under no circumstances would I be playing Tik Tok by Kesha. The Latin songs aren’t really a great selection, they can be quite predictable. I don’t mind the song La Bamba, but that and Macarena were really predictable choices, and it just kind of baffles me that they would steer away from the roots of the game so much.
The soundtrack will obviously depend on your own taste. If you enjoy those kinds of songs then there will be a lot there for you, but I think that they needed a better variety. Now, there are more songs coming to the game in the future, I know a K-pop selection featuring artists like BTS. But at this stage, they’ll need a really good music pack (probably including more from Sega’s past) to really get me into the soundtrack.
● Very Inconsistent Controls
I say inconsistent because of one particular motion. I will stress that the controls for the most part worked pretty well in most circumstances, but the Down motion on the other hand was inconsistent about whether I was going to hit it or not. Most times I felt like I was hitting it perfectly, only to find I missed it completely. A lot of people have the opinion that the Joycon doesn’t have motion controls fit for purpose and aren’t precise enough- it isn’t a Wii controller!
Obviously, this can be fixed in further updates, but I find it so annoying that I have to move my arm almost down to my hip in order to do a down motion. The up and side motion seem to not have as much issue!
You can overcome this by doing the Button controls with the analogue sticks. But man, it’s a boring way to play! It’s a good way to play the game on the move and at least that way if you’re playing it on the train, you won’t accidentally end up hitting someone! But I found that playing that way was really boring and missed the point. It’s not as good as playing the Button controls in games like Theatre Rhythm or Taiko No Tatsujin.
I won’t lie, Samba De Amigo is a fine game, and you can get some enjoyment out of it, but I personally didn’t feel like there was enough there to warrant the price tag, particularly in the Deluxe Edition. There is some cool stuff, but the soundtrack is rather mixed, and the controls leave a lot to be desired. It’s a fine enough game, particularly if you want to use it as an exercise game, and I think it does capture its Dreamcast past, but in a lot of ways it doesn’t live up to it.
FINAL SCORE: 6.5/10
Director of Axia ASD Ltd.
Self-proclaimed Nerd Consultant
and Head of Axia’s Film Society.
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