I have played some.. Avant-garde titles, as of late.
In the past 6 or 7 months, I’ve played some of the weirdest titles to ever grace my systems. Mr. Pumpkin Adventure, Sylvio, The Town of Light, 6180 The Moon, Crypt of The Serpent King, to name a few. Every single one of these games have left me in a bewildered state of mind, and forced me to ponder the age-old question as to whether or not video games are art. But today? I don’t know, I think we went too far.
Conga Master is a game of rhythm. To submit yourself to the audible forces of dance and infect everyone with the same cosmic force that controls your shaking hips. Developed by Spanish team Undercoders, who have worked on nothing but flash games for their entire existence, with Sad Ronaldo and Vuvuzela VS Zombies Xtreme being the least cringey titles in their catalog.
The premise of Conga Master is deceptively simple. Make the longest, most culturally diverse conga line the discos have ever seen. Nerds, bikers, femme fatales, punks, pigs, cats, James Bond and Marty McFly all want a piece of this conga cake, this dancing dessert, the rhythm rum, the di— Okay, I’ll stop.
But not everyone wants to see this slippery snake on the dance floor. Bodybuilders, UFOs, janitors and waiters are sick of your antics, and would like to see nothing more than you to fail and chuckle at your mortification. So you’ve got to groove to the moves and get your conga line to flex around the obstacles, making sure that you prove those naysayers and bullies wrong!
Upon first starting up Conga Master, I don’t know what I expected. From screenshots and gameplay, I assumed it was going to be Snake but with a conga line. But to meet with a man busting through the doors of a roller disco, and jiggle his hips to the attraction of the spectators around them, in the hopes that they join this world record attempt? I just broke down in tears.
I’m going to be honest, I have not laughed as hard at anything like I did at the concept of this game. The music, the look, the feel, all of it created a perfect storm of comedy for me, and I giggled for a solid hour as I shook my rump across the wooden floor. But as the laughter subsided, and the tears were swept off of my face, the game set in to the joke and it unfortunately became incredibly tedious.
One thing that turns me off is the difficulty of it. I’m not expecting a salsa slide to be a cake walk but at the same time, I’m also not expecting precise ballet that is ruined because of the luck of the draw. Your conga leader can have different stats in how quick you can attract other party-goers, how fast you can rotate the line and so on. However, all of this is entirely negligible since all of it based on the placement of the dancers.
However, you could go tactical. For example, the attraction of the party recipients is reset if you bump into them, so you could always bump them into an area and slither your money maker along a path where you can make a bunch of dancers catch the disco fever. But this is an almost impossible tactic to master, as the momentum bar on the bottom of your screen fades fast, and messing around like that will more than likely result in failure.
Beyond that, there’s not much more to say. The graphics are simplistic yet lack the life of the party it’s trying to convey. The music is incredibly lackluster after a while, with later tracks being so grating on the ears that you just want to throw your TV out of the window; And the levels don’t really vary visually and or physically as it always focuses on the bizarre, which stops being bizarre when everything else is bizarre.
We live in a world where mainstream originality is threadbare, franchises losing the number because they’re ashamed that Call of Duty is at number 57, so we look to the world of indie development for that spark that EA lost years ago. And when that spark arrives, it usually begins a chain reaction of ideas where the marketplace of gaming is thriving with potential. Titles like Conga Master are things that I want to see succeed, but with a bit more effort placed in areas where its needed. In this case, the music definitely needed to be more infectious and booming.
But, at the same time, I must say that if you’re looking for something different, and an experience so silly it’s comical, then pick up Conga Master. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind adventure through the absurd, and its cheap price is good for anyone looking for that short burst of intentional comedy that is needed in gaming. However, if you’re looking for something a bit more meaty, or you’re so nihilistic that you don’t believe a video game can bring you happiness, then what are you doing here?
In the mean time, I gotta get groovy. I gotta get down, brother.
This review of Conga Masters is based on the Xbox One version of the game.
A game that offers a few service chuckles before being a dead horse of comedic relief
Owner of the largest collection of indie games in the Western Hemisphere, and TimeSplitters’ biggest fanboy.