Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz
Reviewed by Danielle Riendeau
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2007-01-16 Wii Action E (Everyone) SEGA

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz has quite a pedigree to live up to. The very first Monkey Ball game was one of the best launch games for Nintendo's gamecube back in 2001, and the series has been very well received ever since, (save for the questionable Super Monkey Ball Adventure). Fans of the simple yet challenging games should have no fear, since Banana Blitz delivers everything, and the innovative control scheme suits the gameplay perfectly.

The game proper is divided into the main quest and the whopping collection of 50 minigames. In the one player mode, players progress through a series of 8 worlds (with 2 unlockable) by guiding their little simian friend through increasingly elaborate mazes. As with all previous Monkey Ball titles, the player controls the level itself, tipping it in all directions to get to the goal at the end, collecting bananas along the way. The controls are the biggest departure from older games in the series, as you use the wii remote to tip, turn, or jump through all the obstacles. Controls are responsive and intuitive, as the wii-mote is absolutely perfect for this style of play. It does require a bit getting used to (and a steady hand) but the results are wonderful.

The mini-games are fun, full of variety, and perfect for multiplayer mayhem. In fact, some of the games are so deep that they're almost enough to be full blown games unto themselves. Others don't fare as well, but the sheer variety and breadth of the selection make up it. It's clear that developer Sega wanted to create a competent party game with Banana Blitz, and they've certainly succeeded.

The controls for the minigames are incredibly varied; monkey race even has the player holding the wii-mote by its sides (like a more traditional controller) and steering in the air, while monkey target uses the wii-mote like a light gun; every game has its own respective set-up, and they all work well.

The graphics and music are bright, arcade-y, and cheery almost to a fault. If you aren't a fan of cute, colorful things (or monkeys!) then this isn't your game. But the atmosphere suits the zany gameplay as perfectly as the controls do, and the graphics themselves are simple and clean. Youll be so busy trying not to fall off of the levels to notice that it looks extremely similar to a gamecube game.

Which brings us to the issue of falling off; this game certainly packs a challenge. Prepare to fling your Wii-mote at the screen after getting knocked off of one of the seemingly impossible obstacle-crazy later stages. However, the game is difficult in the best "hardcore" way, it keeps you coming back for more.

As a launch game, Banana Blitz is a great showcase for the versatility of the wii controller, and a testament to the kind of solid, "easy to pick up but tough to master gameplay" that Nintendo and Sega seem to excel at delivering.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz is a fantastic launch game, showing off the new system's capabilities (especially in the control department) while offering both a long, challenging one-player quest and a plethora of entertaining minigames. Despite the minor faults (difficulty, some lackluster minigames), there is so much game here that it's almost a crime to complain. Sega has stuffed this title to the brim with fun and engaging gameplay. Like it's 2001 predecessor, Banana Blitz proves again that monkeys in balls spell success for new Nintendo consoles.