Siesta Fiesta is a game I bought without having a clue of its quality or how it would play, I read some reviews but gaming journalism has approached the point where I can’t tell the difference between a 4 and a 9 anymore when Splash or Crash gets good reviews. Everything is good or bad just because you should trust us. Anyway I had 2 motivations for diving into this mysterious fiesta. Firstly the price is great ($5.85AU) for an original 3DS game, and second is the fact that it was released here at all. Due to an inexcusably bad classifications system, a lot of small games skip Australia because developers simply can’t make the money back and I don’t blame them. I want to commend the effort of developer Mojo Bones for including Australia in their definition of “worldwide” when we perhaps don’t deserve it at the moment. OK that’s rubbish, everybody deserves videogames.
The first thing I want to tackle is the music, it’s awful. Absolutely unbearable, and the reason I’m talking about this first is because I’ve seen reviews list this as a strong point. I’m not sure why, because it’s there? I wish it wasn’t. It sounds like an unstable clown is pressing buttons on a novelty KORG synthesizer, with Rabbid-like creatures clinging onto his puffy clown pants as he swings his legs wildly in admiration of his own tune. It’s seriously unsettling to the point where I had to play with the volume off, have a look at this trailer for a sample. In a twisted way, it does fit the art style but perhaps a more listenable creepiness could have been achieved.
The gameplay is breakout-style ball cushioning with side scrolling levels. It sounds like the most boring thing on earth but luckily the level design and controls are extremely good. You can move the paddle with the touch screen or d-pad and I found the touch screen very satisfying. It’s both fast and precise and I almost never missed the ball for any reason other than too much going on in the screen. This is the first breakout-style game I’ve played where I actually felt like I could aim the ball where I wanted, the controls are so good it’s easy to stop the paddle with a firm stylus hold and hit those tricky angles.
The level design is extremely stimulating, and there’s a healthy variety of gameplay styles across 8 worlds. Blocks are accompanied by all sorts of other mechanisms like switches, arrows and Donkey Kong Country style barrels. The terrain gives you a lot to think about and I enjoyed the challenge of finding the right place to hit, with so many approaches there’s good incentive to replay for gold medals. There’s also some very creative boss fights which I didn’t expect to see at all in this type of game, but they’re very refreshing and fun.
The art style and graphics are a mixed bag of party poppers and party poopers. It’s very clean and sharp and runs smoothly, and there’s some good detail and variety in the backgrounds. Unfortunately this occasionally hinders the gameplay experience because there wasn’t much thought put into colour contrast. In some levels it’s hard to see the ball because the background is the same colour, most notably this sea level in the screen below. The ball isn’t a static colour, it animates with a few different shades of light blue and pink which helps it blend in with the background in certain places. It’s not a constant hindrance but enough to cause a quite a few scary moments.
Overall Siesta Fiesta isn’t something I’d recommend, but it certainly justifies the price and wont disappoint anyone looking for some solid arcade gaming. The presentation is questionable, but it’s highly playable and accessible with no bullshit in the way. Progression flows very quickly and the gameplay was good enough to hook me as I blazed through all 64 levels in a day. With a little adjustment to the art-style and some love put into the music, I think it could have been a huge hit. As it stands Siesta Fiesta is a fun game with no identity.