Super Monkey Ball is an interesting game from Sega where you must guide a monkey in a plastic ball through a maze to the goal, picking up bananas on the way. Why do this? Who knows, but it is surprisingly fun, and all the mini-games add lots of play value.
Graphically the game isn't mindblowing, but everything is very clear and colorful. The framerate is high and flawless. The backgrounds are interesting as well. Definitely nothing to complain about.
The music is very happy and upbeat. Nothing too memorable, although the smooth jazz on the Monkey Billiards level was pretty nice. The sound effects are well done too.
The control is incredibly simple. In the main game you only have to use the control stick to tilt the board and make the monkey move. The only problem I have is that the controls are related to the position of the camera. While this makes sense, it can be troublesome if you're trying to go straight on a narrow passage and the camera isn't lined up just right. You use the other buttons in other game modes, and the functions are different according to the game.
This game has SO many things to do. It takes many elements from other games and puts them into mini-games. There is the main game, 3 'party games' and 3 'mini-games' Here are brief descriptions:
This is the biggest part of the game. You must guide your monkey through maze-like levels. There are Beginner, Advanced, and Expert levels (and Master levels that can be unlocked). Some levels are VERY hard and can be frustrating. Do not play this game if you have bad nerves or high blood pressure. You will go insane!! You can also collect bananas for points.
Monkey race: Race against friends or the computer on different tracks. There are also item pick-ups like in Mario Kart.
Monkey Fight: Here your ball has a boxing glove attached to it, and your goal is to knock your opponents off the platform.
Monkey Target: Here you go down a ski jump style ramp, then open up your ball into a set of 'wings'. You must then try to land on a target for points.
Monkey Billiards: My favorite of the mini-games, a game of 9-ball pool.
Monkey Bowling: Either a normal game of bowling, or knock out certain pin configurations in as few tries as possible.
Monkey Golf: 18 holes of mini-golf with wacky monkey ball levels.
Although I did not try it, all games have multiplayer options, and in some cases you can even take turns with one controller. This would make a great party game.
All the game modes make for a lot of play value. Some of the mini-games could get old quickly though. There are around 100 levels in the main game and to unlock the Master levels, I believe you have to complete all the expert levels without using a continue (a VERY hard task). So that will keep you busy for a while.
E for Everyone. Very family friendly with cute little monkeys.
This game is pretty popular, as a sequel is already in the works, with more levels and more mini-games. Definitely something to look forward to. As far as this game, I would absolutely recommend it as a rental, and maybe even a buy if you like party games like this, or have the infinite patience required to finish the main game.
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