Samba De Amigo: Party Central took me back in time. It took me to a simpler place where just shaking the controller was enough to get by while the cute mascot strutted his stuff across the screen. But he’s not 2006 anymore. Even if he’s a little over an hour into this rhythm game revival, it doesn’t take long for the basic mechanics to get old. There’s some charm here with instantly compelling characters and good song choices, but its simplicity means Party Central isn’t always up to the task.
Amigo ditched its traditional roots since the Nintendo GameCube and stumbled upon a Spotify playlist that distills some of the most iconic pop bangers of the last decade, and has been out for just as long. Kesha, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Lina Sawayama are just a few of the icons available across the expanded tracklist, and these modern hits have a decent level of It also comes with some cheesy classics and game tracks. From “I Really Like You” to the ear-bleeding rock number of “Sonic Adventure,” I got severe whiplash. It’s silly, but a lot of the fun in the game comes from there.
Gameplay is simple, but requires a great deal of wuggling. You can opt for controller and button prompts, but then you lose the fun of shaking your Joy-Cons like glorious maracas. Three sets of two circles appear, each representing the direction you need to swing your controller to the beat. Depending on the song you want, you can hit notes that fade out quickly, sustain the beat, or even match a specific speed or pressure. I played most of the preview on the default difficulty setting, which offered a good amount of challenge and a blast of cool gimmicks that shook up the predictable pace.
You also need to pull off classic dance poses that no one should take seriously, from walker hand movements to literal backflips. Moving your hands to the beat, or being asked to perform certain actions abruptly with each song is also common, making Party Central more of a featherweight mini-game than a strict rhythm game. Feels like a collection. However, such options are for the undemanding hardcore player. Purebred beet.
Modifiers are introduced randomly several times per song, determined by something like a slot machine, and can slow down incoming notes or decorate maracas with two objects linked to incoming notes. You will have to use your right hand or you will lose points. These are cool ideas and worked great in just my short preview session, but when you’re rushing through a campaign alone, you can see them getting old. Especially if the effect itself is of inconsistent quality. It can be a little difficult to judge yourself. Just finishing a song with 100% accuracy and an ‘S’ rank felt like missing a note or not keeping a streak. A modest 69 percent on the first try, but very good results. But from there I worked my way up and never looked back. I question the longevity of Party Central when the whole game is this easy and modifiers only get more and more boring.
You’ll find some quirky party games that put the usual rhythm gameplay in new contexts, but they feel more like one-off endeavors rather than addictive every time you play them. My personal favorites are romantic themed songs with a twist that you and your partner should perform together, making sure your reaction times are the same. Doing so will bring the broken heart in the center of the screen closer until you finally score extra points. At the other end of the spectrum is his mini-game, an awful batting cage that basically swings a Joy-Con around like an idiot until it hits different targets.
There’s no skill here, and even with two players it’s hard to tell who’s in control. This sucks and reminds me of forgettable shovelware better suited for the Wii than the Switch. Maybe Amigo is better than this, or maybe bringing him back serves as a reminder to us that it really wasn’t. Hardcore Sega fans will have a lot to love about Party Central’s extensive customization, sprinkled with awesome costumes and delicious Easter eggs. But this surface-level fan service also points to in-game currency that you need to earn as soon as possible. It is unknown if microtransactions will be involved in the full release. I elicited a few smiles while scrolling, but part of my mind, like most of this game, was either that the complete package couldn’t grab my attention, or that it was just I’m afraid it’s not worth the asking price.
Samba De Amigo: Party Central is a capable revival of a long-forgotten gaming mascot that appears to satisfy aficionados, but anything more leaves something to be desired. increase. Even an hour of co-op was enough to understand how the whole game unfolded, without the difficulty and variety that rhythm games tend to have.
Next: I can’t get up and play games like I used to