Released last September on the PC, Conga Master has made its way to the console market and I got the chance to have a look thanks to the good people at Rising Star Games.
I had previously seen a couple of videos and thought to myself ‘ that looks a fun and quirky little game’. Well, I’m here to tell you that I was right, it’s also addictive, frustrating, funny and downright infuriating in equal measures.
I can honestly say (good job really as we are HonestGamingReviews) that I’ve never played anything like it in all my years of gaming (too many to count).
Graphically, Conga Master is in the 8-bit style which I’ve said in previous reviews that I don’t get. However in this title I totally do get it, the style fits perfectly with the simplicity of the game and adds to the charm. The soundtrack to each level is also damned catchy and although you will hear the songs a lot on later levels (due to a number of attempts you will have to make), I found that I didn’t get annoyed by them. They actually help in your gameplay, I did try to play without the sound (wife was in the room at the time) and found it really difficult. I also found myself humming the songs long after the Xbox was turned off.
So, ‘what do we have to do ‘? At the start of the game, you are presented with a choice of dancers to choose from. Each has different attributes to aid you in your goal of making a big conga line.
There are unlockable characters which will take the available roster to 30 dancers and they can only be unlocked via the bonus ‘Wheel of Fortune’ that is available at the end of each dancefloor that you clear.
After you choose your dancer you then begin your quest of making a conga line in the venue given. The doors swing open and your little 8-bit dude or dudette says ‘what can possibly go wrong’. Well, the answer to that is ‘quite a bit’ and we’ll get on to that shortly. You control your dancer using the left and right trigger buttons to determine which direction they conga. It’s really that simple, they are the only 2 buttons used in gameplay. A and B are used but only in the menus.
In the top left corner of the screen below, you will see 4 symbols, these symbols also appear above the head of the patrons of the club that you are trying to get to join your conga line. The ultimate aim to clear each level is to collect enough of each symbol to fill the meter. As you can see below our intrepid conga master has to get a couple more ‘light bulbs’ to fill the final meter. Upon the filling of all meters the doors to the club open and you get to lead your conga line out into the street to move to the next venue.
You will also notice at the bottom of the screen is a momentum bar. This bar is crucial if it empties then your conga line collapses and you have to start all over again. The key to building momentum is simple, just get people to join your conga. The longer your line though, the quicker the momentum bar depletes, so it’s vital to keep up the momentum by adding clubbers to your line and also to implement the combo which boosts your momentum hugely. To add some hazards to your quest there are things to avoid whilst dancing around. These include banana skins which send you skittering away across the dancefloor and also the cleaners who leave behind a slick floor that will do the same. In some later levels there are also bouncers who will punch you and waiters who will get in your way. If you hit people then it bumps them out of the way and resets any progress made in recruiting them to your line. I did find that bumping people into a more favourable position sometimes aided me though.
When you exit the club you are on the street and a UFO (weirdly) starts to abduct your conga line. You can run and jump over the pigs that are on the street and save up to 6 of your line which will then give you a head start in the next club that you visit.
On some of the levels, there are areas that you can’t get into unless your line is a certain length, these areas often contain bonuses and a nice knot of people together that will help you with your combos. I have only got to the fourth level but research tells me that there are seven in total.
The ONLY thing that lets Conga Master down for me is the lack of level selection. If you have had enough for the day and then go back to the game at a later time you would expect to be able to restart from your the last venue you reached…………………nope, all the way back to the start. This irks me somewhat and whilst some would see it as ‘yay, extra practice’, I see it as ‘REALLY…..FROM THE BEGINNING !!???’
There are multiplayer modes which I have yet to tackle but it’s local multiplayer only. The titles of the different modes are all plays on words of classic video games such as Mortal Conga, Grand Theft Conga and Command and Conga. As I only have one working controller though I can’t test them out yet.
So…….quirky, unique, addictive, infuriating. Should you buy this game? I’m going to say YES !!!!
Code for review provided by the publisher and as always we thank you.