Samba De Amigo - hands on

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.