The words of the immortal Gloria Estefan, “Come on shake your body baby do the Conga / I know you can’t control yourself any longer,” perfectly sums up my feelings on this game. Conga Master Party is a really unique party game with loose controls that is thrown off-step by its single-player modes.
Conga Party is, upon inspection, an odd game that defies categorization. I’m not going to pull any punches here and be direct: unless you’re on a mission to unlock all of the characters, outfits, and conga clubs, don’t even bother with the single player portion of the game.
That’s where I started, and I was in Conga Party Purgatory for at least an hour, stymied by waiters, banana peels, janitors, and pigs. They all harshed my groove. In desperation, I called a friend over to dive into the multiplayer and see if there was something there worthy of a Conga Master.
Just as dancing by yourself can be an exercise in futility, but adding a friend or two and all of a sudden you have a party, the multiplayer in Conga Party is an absolute treat, with a bunch of creative modes that make for a really fun party experience. Just browsing the menu, names like Mortal Conga, Command & Conga and Grand Theft Conga draw you in, signaling subtly that this is the meat of the game.
The controls for Conga Party are a little weird. Your dancer is always moving forward, and you guide their groove by using the L and R shoulder buttons. Occasionally in some game modes the joy-con motion capability is engaged, but it’s rare. This momentum-based control definitely took a little while to lock in, but after playing for several hours, it’s hard to imagine controlling this game any other way. It makes sense, if in an unorthodox way that’s initially a bit off-putting.
The 8-bit style leveraged by Conga Master Party is definitely appropriate to evoking that late 70s or early 80s vibe the game gives off. The pixelated avatars have a lot of personality despite their blockiness, with “Pelvis” the Elvis look-alike being a hilarious favorite. The clubs are well laid out, and the disco lighting is exciting.
Reinforcing that this is intended to be a party game, a few graphical details, like banana peels on the floor, are difficult to parse when in handheld mode on the Switch, but very legible on a TV in docked mode. It’s very possible to play in handheld on the go with a friend, but getting oriented to the game world on a TV first will greatly improve the experience.
Conga Master Party being is a game about dancing, and the developers did their work with the soundtrack. The conga tunes are catchy and really set a distinct tone for each music club. The songs never get old, which is aided by the bite-size level experiences.
The sound effects are hilarious, with zany sound cues and incidental exclamations by the people present in the clubs. Of note, the start of some multiplayer modes includes an amusing and appropriate audio call-out to Bubsy’s level intro catchphrases.
Conga Master Party is one of the most fun multiplayer party games on the Switch, surpassed only by Snipperclips (though that’s limited to 2 players). Despite the single player experience being aggravatingly difficult, and the odd control scheme, for the price, this is definitely a fantastic NintenDeal for anyone looking for a great party title.
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Rising Star Games
Price – $9.95
Genre – Party, Multiplayer
Charlie’s first attempts at gaming did not go well. Repeated, failed run-ins with the first Goomba in Super Mario Brothers 1 plagued his maiden gaming voyage. Undaunted, he would go on to become an avid gamer of all platforms, with Nintendo always sitting atop the highest pedestal. Except for that Halo 3 incident in 2007. We don’t talk about it. It never happened.
Currently, Charlie enjoys playing games on as many platforms as he can get his hands on, with current favorites being the Switch, 3DS and Neo Geo. When he’s not playing games, Charlie is a live sound engineer and manager for his production company, Clear Harmonies, based in Washington, D.C.
Charlie enjoys talking about games nearly as much as playing them, and loves meeting new people, so hit him up!
Plays: All of them games. Seriously.