Off The Grid: Siesta Fiesta
Allison Winters hits Snooze on this one.
My initial reactions to Siesta Fiesta were that of joy. Its pleasant opening cinematic and tropical aesthetic invoked fond memories of Yoshi’s Island. Once it got going those feelings only intensified with the cutesy nonsense babble of the little creatures that help the protagonist, Siesta, get back to his lonely island. Siesta is a man so lazy that he can’t even be asked to wake up for anything less than a 5000 point combo, which perfectly compliments the lazy dream like atmosphere the game strives for. However, this is a game that puts style over substance, and those joyful feelings soon faded.
Atmosphere can make up for minor gameplay flaws and bad decisions if done correctly. Metroid Prime 2, for all its bad design choices, redeemed itself with a nasty and oppressive atmosphere. Though, Metroid‘s core gameplay still worked, the same can’t be said for Siesta Fiesta. The game has you use your bed to bounce Siesta around to break blocks and earn points. This is somehow the key to getting home, good thing Siesta is too busy snoozing to care about being a human pinball. The way you bounce on the bed affects the direction and distance you fly. However, the bouncing feels floaty and I could never quite get it to work the way I wished. Combined with the fact that the screen is constantly moving forward makes it all the more frustrating.
The music and level designs are bright and cheery, again lending to the lovely atmosphere. The game’s art seems to take notes from 1950’s American pop culture, Donkey Kong Country, and every Latino stereotype imaginable. Don’t get the wrong idea, the game doesn’t use the stereotypes in a hateful way – it’s more misguided than anything. Despite being bright and cheery, the levels do leave a bit to be desired as once you’ve seen one stage of an area you’ve seen them all. They do try to mix in power ups and gimmicks throughout the levels but that doesn’t change the fact that the core gameplay is still bad.
You can give a game a bright color palette and great music but that still won’t make up for how awkward it feels to play it. With better mechanics and level design, I would have said this was a better Yoshi’s Island sequel than any of the actual Yoshi’s Island sequels. As it stands it’s an experience that I don’t care to remember.