Samba De Amigo - hands on

The original "shake your controller like a lunatic" game returns - is its infectious magic still intact?

Why do you think people love Jimmy Buffet? Or Led Zeppelin? Or reggae or house or the blues or any other kind of music? Because they evoke a mood; it makes them feel a certain way. However, very few games have this ability. Luckily, Samba De Amigo is one of those games, and the mood it evokes is, “Hey! Let’s have a crazy, possibly booze-fueled, dance party in the streets RIGHT NOW!”

The sombrero-wearing monkey leading the onscreen parade is partying so hard that he is, quite literally, a little scary. His eyes are the size of dinner plates, he’s got a grin so big his head’s about to split, and he’s shaking his maracas with such a sense of passionate, violent purpose, you’re pretty sure they’d explode into anti-matter if he accidentally brushed one against the other. But all the dancing girls and other freaks in Mardi Gras-style costume jumping around don’t seem to mind a bit.

Figuring you should try to fit in, you grab two remotes. Or even just a remote and Nunchuk. As a Ricky Martin song blares excitedly from the TV, you begin shaking your remote and nunchuk in time to the beat, as if they were maracas. You notice that the blue and red circles onscreen tell you when to shake – right at the moment the balls fall into the different holes onscreen – and that the holes correspond to the height and angle at which you’re holding the “maracas”. You loosen up, and start shaking your body to the beat as well. This is actually kind of okay...

And that’s when the game has you.


I was the founding Executive Editor/Editor in Chief here at GR, charged with making sure we published great stories every day without burning down the building or getting sued. Which isn't nearly as easy as you might imagine. I don't work for GR any longer, but I still come here - why wouldn't I? It's awesome. I'm a fairly average person who has nursed an above average love of video games since I first played Pong just over 30 years ago. I entered the games journalism world as a freelancer and have since been on staff at the magazines Next Generation and PSM before coming over to GamesRadar. Outside of gaming, I also love music (especially classic metal and hard rock), my lovely wife, my pet pig Bacon, Japanese monster movies, and my dented, now dearly departed '89 Ranger pickup truck. I pray sincerely. I cheer for the Bears, Bulls, and White Sox. And behind Tyler Nagata, I am probably the GR staffer least likely to get arrested... again.
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