Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania Review

Nostalgia is interesting. It may be a sense of comfort, but it sometimes makes the past look better than it really is. Unfortunately, the latter is the case for Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania. It compiles over 300 levels from previous Super Monkey Ball games and updates for the latest consoles. I remember playing the GameCube version with my friends nearly 20 years ago, so I was hoping that banana enthusiasts would come back on a carefree night, rolling down an increasingly difficult course past the curfew. .. Sadly, rollin’isn’t as fun as it used to be.

As the name implies, Super Monkey Ball is a series of monkeys with the ball rolling on hundreds of stages and avoiding increasingly difficult obstacles. Yes, it’s as ridiculous as I thought. The graphics of the GameCube era have been redesigned, the art style of comics has become more vibrant than ever, and I found it difficult to avoid worrying about arcade theme music. rice field. It’s always refreshing to see games that take themselves less seriously in this era of increasingly realistic graphics and serious themes, and Super Monkey Ball is by no means serious.

Banana Mania is a mashup of some of the previous Super Monkey Ball games, so at first it looks like it has an almost overwhelming amount of content. There is a story mode first seen in Super Monkey Ball 2. This is a less cohesive campaign than about 100 levels in 10 worlds loosely stitched together with short, non-interactive animated cutscenes. You’ll also see the Challenge modes of the first two Super Monkey Ball games, but the separate modes have some surprisingly similar courses. And, of course, Challenge mode doesn’t feel very different from Story mode in terms of gameplay. The only twist is that you can’t resume where you left off. You have to go through all the challenge stages at once. So it’s an endurance challenge above all else.

The problem is that after 30 or 40 levels it starts to feel like a slog.


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The problem with both story mode and challenge mode is that after 30 or 40 levels, both start to feel like a slogan. The difficulty of story mode actually rises around the midpoint, moving from light and refreshing to failed and frustrating exercises very quickly. At early levels, you may be required to roam the winding roads and maintain enough momentum to fill the gap. Later, you’ll even have the opportunity to be pushed into the air by a spring-loaded platform, failing the level, and then adjusting the camera to see the dangers you didn’t know came from that direction.

That’s exactly what happened at one of the levels I wanted to pull out: before I stood, a towering theme park ride consisting of a platform connected to a pole in the middle stood. Until now, I could only tilt the camera up, so I didn’t know where the finish line was. Instead, he rolled on a platform on the ground that pushed the ball upwards and tried to figure it out in the air. For the first time, I was thrown directly into the connecting pole and bounced off the map before moving. The other attempt ended after I landed on one of the higher platforms and bounced off immediately. When I finally landed in the right place and was able to stay in place, I didn’t feel like I had mastered that particular level of disability. It was like a lucky run that I didn’t know if I could duplicate it. If you have few levels designed this way, it’s easier to dismiss that feeling, but after the midpoint, most levels start to feel this way.

The environment and background may be fun and colorful, but many of the playable level designs are repetitive and uninspired. The more I played past a certain point, the more it felt like a chore. Especially exhausting is the lack of a satisfying adrenaline rush to overcome challenges after completing particularly difficult levels. It’s just a sense of security that it’s finally over. Super Monkey Ball could have learned one or two things from Pegle about the distribution of serotonin.

It tells us that the developers actually included some ways to deal with the toughest levels. There is a helper mode that doubles the time limit and provides a visual path to the goal. This is useful, but it usually doesn’t deny a big problem. Understanding where the ultimate goal is is usually not a problem. The problem is getting there by overcoming trial and error and bad luck. I can’t tell you how many times I blindly rolled forward as soon as possible, hoping it would bring me closer to the end, as all other strategies have failed. You also have the option to skip the stage altogether. This is especially useful to avoid staying at one frustrating level for long periods of time, assuming you don’t run out of points to pay.

Super Monkey Ball could have learned one or two things from Pegle about the distribution of serotonin.


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You can earn points in a variety of ways, but most notably, you simply break the level and complete certain challenges, such as collecting all the bananas on stage. The Point Shop will use these to unlock new characters and add them to the roster of the first 6 characters in AiAi and his monkey zoo. (All characters play the same, but at least look different.) Some non-monkeys from other Sega games, such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Jet Set Radio Beats, and Yakuza Kazuma Kiryu. You can also unlock the character. One of them changes bananas at each level into items for each game. Sonic ring, beet spray paint can. Conversely, these special characters cannot be customized with new outfits like monkeys, but it’s a thoughtful touch.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania-Opening Night Live

Looking back on my personal experience, Super Monkey Ball games have always been the best party games, and that’s also true for banana enthusiasts. There are 12 mini-games in party mode, most of which are really fun and have amazing depth when played against other humans. For example, a Mario Kart-style monkey racing game has 12 tracks and multiple gameplay modes, and Monkey Golf has variations of regular golf and mini golf. Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania is one of the few games that offers multiplayer on the same system when almost everything is online only, making party mode the most easily available quality.

But as a solo experience, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania will level off. Many times, I wondered why I liked these games so much when they were first released. I was playing on a PS5 and tried to recreate the magic of the early Wii game Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz with motion control turned on, but it was a complete catastrophe. In the simplest tilt of the DualSense controller, the stage moved to the left or right and the monkey’s ball flew. It’s a pity that Banana Mania couldn’t live up to the experience of Super Monkey Ball in my memory, but times have changed. It may be when this series evolved by touching the strange black obelisk.