What is there to say about Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz that hasn’t already been said? This series is known the world over, is an instant classic, and is considered by many to be one of the most interesting and challenging games on the Nintendo Wii. As if that wasn’t enough, its development was led by the creator of Yakuza, one of the most beloved game franchises of all time. Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz HD is a remake of the Wii game of the same name. Unfortunately, I missed playing the original, which is why I jumped at the chance to review this. I am glad that I took the time to sit down and play it, because this game is a blast. It’s as fun as it is challenging, and by God, it is definitely a challenge. Read on to find out why!
Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz HD
Platform: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Steam (Winter 2019)
Release Date: October 29th, 2019
Super Monkey Ball feels like an arcade game you can play from the comfort of your bed. The heart of the game is relatively simplistic–you roll around on a single track with various obstacles. With your thumbstick, you control the map itself rather than the character you’re using.
For example, if you push the thumbstick forward, the map will tilt forward, causing your character to move along with it. This might sound easy, but let me be frank…I really suck at this game. It is definitely a title that is easy to pick up, but incredibly difficult to master.
No matter how much time I spent going back and forth on Super Monkey Ball, I felt like I never got better at it. Despite that, I was still seriously getting into the game, holding my breath as I had to make sharp turns or stop on a dime. These are the kinds of things that make Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz a treat.
While the game is available on multiple platforms, I feel like it was made with portability in mind. This, in my opinion, gives the Switch version a leg up over other platforms. There are multiple characters to play as from the get-go, and even characters to unlock, including Sonic the Hedgehog. All of them have different stats, such as better controls, handling, acceleration, etc.
Personally, I just stuck to the main man himself, AiAi, but there is no wrong way to play this game. And play you will, as there are 100 stages in the main game, as well as a handful of minigames to boot. Unfortunately, not every minigame from the original made its way into the remake.
There isn’t much story present in Super Monkey Ball, so I won’t dwell on it for too long. It can be summarized pretty effectively as, “All the characters want to get their little monkey paws on some awesome golden bananas, but they need to defeat bosses and clear many, many stages before they can do so.” That’s all there is to it! It’s a simple game from a simpler time.
The presentation of an HD re-release is, understandably, what most people want to know about. A lot of folks have already played through the original Super Monkey Ball, so their main concern is whether the game still retains its looks and performs as well as it should. Thankfully, whether you are playing in handheld mode or have the game docked, the game runs great with an awesome, smooth framerate.
It looks great, too. The awesome thing about highly-stylized graphics is that they age so much better, and only require some slight touch-ups in re-releases to get them in line with modern games. Though, I will say that the idea of a hyper realistic-looking Super Monkey Ball game is somewhat appealing (maybe it will be made in the Yakuza engine).
At the end of the day, though, I think I prefer the adorable characters as they are right now. The game just looks fun, and feels like it is filled to the brim with energy.
If you have never played through a Super Monkey Ball game before, I recommend that you pick this one up. It’s a fun, cheap, adorable, and challenging little experience, with something for just about everyone. The game’s portability with the Switch version is just the icing on the cake.
While I don’t believe that this is the first step in the revitalization of the franchise, and doubt we’ll see a new Super Monkey Ball game any time soon, it’s still awesome to see this game come back to life for people like myself who never got into the series back then.
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD was reviewed on Switch using a review copy provided by Sega. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.