Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania Review: Roll Along, Lil’ Monkey
This game is a lot of fun, but it’s not perfect. There are some problems with the controls and some levels are too difficult to get through without help.
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is a game that was released on February 23, 2017. It is the sequel to the original game that was released in arcades back in 1993.
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is a fantasy game for anybody who enjoys placing tiny animals and people in plastic balls and sending them careening over cliffs at fast speeds. If you’re like most people and have never considered doing anything like this, you better start dreaming because Banana Mania is a lot of fun.
Banana Mania has all that is great about Monkey Ball, and it shows that the legendary series is still ripe after almost two decades, despite a few minor hiccups.
Roll Along, Lil’ Monkey in Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania!
It’s common to hear media characterized as a celebration of this or that franchise, but Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania can’t be described any other way. Hundreds of the greatest levels from Super Monkey Ball, Super Monkey Ball 2, and Super Monkey Ball Deluxe are repackaged in this game. Banana Mania also includes some of the series’ greatest mini-games, such as Monkey Target and Monkey Fight.
It’s basically a “best of” compilation, with a nod to those of us who like chaos (like me) and miss Banana Blitz’s jump function. You may get it by earning points by completing story mode and other challenges.
The levels themselves serve as a good reminder of why so many people recall the franchise’s early games fondly. The difficulty curve in Banana Mania is deceptively easy at first. You’ll spend four or five levels rolling ahead, gathering bananas, and feeling smart for avoiding sliding off the edges of some obscenely tiny paths.
Your comfort is thrown out the window and ran over by a bus in the second world. One of the first levels is “Gravity,” a downhill slope that becomes narrower and narrower until you’re racing along a razor’s edge at 300 km/h, praying to the heavenly banana, if such a thing exists, to prevent you from bouncing beyond the goal.
Banana Mania becomes more complicated and ridiculous from then on, with levels with spinning ribbon floors and deadly slides that send you into oblivion if you aren’t cautious. In a nutshell, catastrophes will happen.
But that’s all part of the fun, because Banana Mania is never unfair. Your failures are frequently funny due to the physics engine, such as one level in world three when a stone actually smashes you through the floor in an automated “Fallout.”
All of this is wrapped up in a loose narrative mode, in which our brave monkeys battle the evil Dr. Badboon while watching a comic book-style animation of themselves. The word “loose” is important here since there isn’t much of a link between the narrative and the puzzles, which is a pity because it’s a cute game.
Of course, not every puzzle is a winner. Some games depend too much on a cliched concept in which you spawn on a switch that accelerates obstacles and must roll backward to push a slow-down button.
Some of the backdrops seem to be a little out of date as well. Future Monkey Ball games might benefit from adopting a Tetris Effect approach to their tricky puzzles and placing them in more dynamic environments.
Every level has its own set of difficulties, ranging from completing with a certain amount of bananas to achieving the most difficult goal on stages with numerous goals.
The greatest part of it all isn’t being one of the monkeys. You may unlock more characters in Banana Mania using points gained through the narrative and challenge modes, such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Kazuma Kiryu from the Yakuza series.
The items and sound effects in each level are also updated as you choose them. It may seem little, but the pure pleasure of rolling around volcanic puzzles and collecting up Staminum beverages as a tiny Kiryu in a plastic ball cannot be overstated.
It’s a pity, however, that certain characters, like Morgana from Persona 5, are only available as expensive DLC. There’s no other purpose for it except to make more money, but I would have gladly paid more for the game if it meant it contained every possible character.
These are all small gripes, but there is one major issue: Banana Mania’s attitude to accessibility, which is to say, none. Every level includes a “helper mode” that doubles the amount of time you have available and slows everything down. However, there is little that can be done to assist with motion sensitivity, and helper mode frequently makes movement more difficult since it slows you down.
The Bottom Line in Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania
- Puzzles that are both enjoyable and difficult.
- There are so many of them, as well as party games!
- As the additional characters, it’s a lot of fun.
- Extra modes are available for even greater difficulty.
- If I want to, I can leap.
- There are no accessibility options available.
- Backgrounds that are dull
- The originals’ stale riddles are still stale.
- Some additional characters were arbitrarily locked behind paywalls.
Banana Mania is nearly precisely what I’m looking for in a compilation of Super Monkey Ball classics. The classic party games and brain-teasing riddles are still as entertaining as ever, and Banana Mania adds just enough new characters and difficulty levels to keep things interesting.
Future Monkey Ball games, on the other hand, will need to consider how to make this enjoyment accessible to a wider audience.
[Note: The copy of Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania used for this review was supplied by Sega.]
Super Monkey Ball Deluxe is a game that has been around for quite some time. It was released in 2005 and it is still one of the most popular games to this day. Reference: super monkey ball deluxe wiki.
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