Conga Master Party could be familiar to some players, as the game has appeared on the PlayStation 4 but it’s now been given the Nintendo Switch treatment. This version features support for four players on one console, Amiibo support, ten brand new characters and two new stages. The Switch version also features two new multiplayer game modes which I will go into more detail about later in the review.
In terms of gameplay, Conga Master Party is a little similar to the mobile game Snake. You begin the first level as a lone party-goer, dancing your way around a dance floor, but instead of eating blocks to make yourself bigger, you have to pick people up to join your conga. You can only finish a level by filling four bars and leaving via the exit door.
Each person will have one of these four symbols above their head: a top hat, two love hearts, a cool face with sunglasses or a light bulb. The more you find people with these above their head to join your conga, the faster each corresponding bar will fill up. However, beware of pigs (not sure why), bouncers, banana skins and cleaners - as bumping into any of these will send you veering off course and losing momentum. The importance of momentum is crucial, because it acts as a time limit for each level, rising as you get more people to join your conga. If you acquire enough points during a level you can conga your way into a locked area to find new places to explore, all via the medium of dance.
Once you complete a level you will be greeted by a casino-style roulette wheel where you can get perks like momentum boosts or new characters. Also, a quite bizarre event occurs - upon finding the exit the game skips to a scene where you'll be running down a street while a UFO attempts to abduct your fellow conga friends in a 30 second time limit. Whatever number you have left at the end of this round will be the number you begin the next level with. It's a little bit odd and confusing, but doesn't detract too much away from the game.
Where this game shines through is in its multiplayer. There are eight different multiplayer modes on offer, but two of these are exclusive to the Switch. “1-2 Conga” - a play on words of the Switch game 1-2 Switch is a mode where when players collide they will compete in a game of rock, paper, scissors using the Joy-Con. The other exclusive multiplayer game mode is “Just Conga” where players strike poses with the Joy-Con. Both are great and it's yet another demonstration of how intuitive the controls on the Switch can be.
The accessibility of the game is great for beginners too, as you’ll only need to press two buttons to play. Using L or R on the Joy-Con, you can turn left or right and be able to do so with 360 degree movement. There are no clunky movements where you have to turn left before turning up, it can all be done in the same motion. Playing on multiplayer with a Joy-Con each, you use SL and SR to navigate your way around the dance floor. It couldn't be simpler, and it could be a fun little game to play with friends or relatives who aren't necessarily confident with videogames.
Each level has a cool soundtrack that fits the theme of the nightclub, with every theme feeling unique to the last. It adds so much to the game and I found myself humming and nodding along to it many times. The style of the game is really neat, with quirky graphics and vibrant colours bringing each club to life. Whether it's disco lights flashing or retro nightclubs oozing with colour, Conga Master Party is one of the best indie titles I've played where the theme is so expertly captured.
But, regardless of its visual and audible charm, if after a couple of minutes you find the game unenjoyable there would be little reason to stick around. The premise of the game carries on throughout and once you’ve seen one level there's an argument to say you've pretty much seen them all. I however really enjoyed the game, particularly as a ten minute time-passer. Picking up and playing the story mode with its nine levels and over 40 unlockable characters gave the game a rewarding progression system. And where the game lacks in longevity with its nine story mode levels, it makes up for it with its endless mode, which as it sounds is more about trying to beat your previous best score.
Conga Master (Reviewed on Nintendo Switch)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
Conga Master Party is a really fun game to play, particularly in multiplayer. It’s a real throwback to the primary mobile games, a time when Smartphones were non-existent. Full 360 degree movement, colourful graphics, a quirky soundtrack, and a good progression system make this game a solid entry for indie titles on the Switch.