It's a fact that summer is now over, it's getting colder outside and the clocks are going back. However SEGA want to change all that, releasing Samba de Amigo we can cling onto that summer atmosphere allowing us all to samba all winter long.
Samba de Amigo is an incredibly sunny, happy, up beat Latin music game which gained a large fan base when it was originally released on the Dreamcast back in 2000.
Thanks to developers Gearbox it's back for another go, making Samba de Amigo the definitive version to own exclusively on Wii.
You'll instantly notice the psychedelic carnival style employed in the game, both music and graphics complement each other well to give you that samba feeling.
This comes as a welcome change from the current range of predominantly rock based music games, making this something different and probably targeted at a a slightly different audience.
Getting started is quick and easy, the essence of the game is very simple, following the on-screen beats you need to shake your maracas (Wiimote + Nunchuck) in time with the music to score points.
On screen you have 6 circles, upper left and right, middle left and right and bottom left and right. Depending on what's happening on screen you'll need to shake your left/right maraca holding it up, normal or down making up the 6 different combinations.
The basic controls are simple and work fairly well, however shaking the Wiimote isn't quite as simple as it sounds, often shaking needs to be controlled to avoid the game registering the wrong position (up, down, middle).
This is only a minor flaw, but fundamental to the game, of which adapting your play style should fix, it's a shame its not quite perfect pick-up-and-play.
The more notes you hit correctly during the song the better your score, you'll also get a count of your current chain of consecutive hits without error. At the end of the song you'll be given a rank, getting a C is usually good enough to move onto the next song/challenge.
The game is split into Career, Single Player, Multiplayer, Training and Records. The addition of the Career mode is obvious in meaning, it's designed to suit the solo player giving them a flavour of everything on offer.
This mode is unavoidable but could of been implemented better, it's extremely simple and straight forward, nothing too exciting. Split into different difficultly levels you'll progress through all the songs and unlock more on the way, Samba de Amigo has around 44 songs in total.
In addition to the standard "shaking" of the maracas, SEGA included a new "Hustle" mode which was included in the Japanese only, Samba de Amigo Ver 2000.
With this additional mode the player must still follow the dots on screen whilst shaking the maracas in the appropriate location, however the 'Pose' icon appears frequently. When a 'Post' icon is displayed the player needs to copy their static poses, until the game recognises it.
The pose man can either be in a static position or dancing, either way the player must copy what is displayed in the icon. Poses do complement the basic shaking and give a fuller feel to the control system.
Although there are a decent number of songs in the game the solo player will probably start to loose interest fairly soon, unless they are practising for competition with others.
The game's main attraction will be the multi player mode, like most music games. Competing against a friend is what this game is all about. With this in mind we feel the game will probably appeal to both the younger gamer, the family gamer and the non rocker - all people that probably don't fit the standard stereotype for video games.
Despite the slight control issues Gearbox have done a good job bringing this happy, bubbly, samba inspired, music-o-thon Dreamcast classic back to life on Wii, its a deserved release and isn't simply "just another port". Those who didn't have the Dreamcast original or hardcore fans of the original should both feel comfortable considering this as a purchase.