Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz Wii Review

There was never going to be a game that was more suited to the Wii’s remote than Super Monkey Ball. Rolling a monkey-manned ball and essentially tilting the environment by twisting the remote in the necessary direction was always going to work well, and these new motion controls have effectively breathed new life into the simian series.

The Monkey Ball series is renowned for offering both a substantial single and multiplayer experience, but SEGA have managed to cram even more content into Banana Blitz, and whilst it may not be successful on every occasion, we give full marks to the development team for their obvious attempts.

The Monkey Ball experience that has frustrated and delighted many gamers since its arrival on the GameCube is still intact on the Wii, but we feel that the remote adds an additional level of satisfaction that just wasn’t found with an analog stick. The popular Marble Madness-like formula has even seen a few subtle enhancements, which makes this a sure contender for the best Monkey Ball ever, at least in single player anyway.

The added jumping ability means that many of the levels are completely different from the ones found in previous games in the series. Vaulting over obstacles and chasms in your path gives the game a fresher feel doubled up with the new controls. Jumping can be performed with a single button press or a single button press and a motion, although we can’t really understand the inclusion of the latter as it just makes things a little more difficult for yourself, but it’s still nice to be given the option all the same.

Bosses at the end of each world are also a welcome addition. These big guys have their obligatory weak spots, although on occasion the camera infuriates as stubbornly it never focuses on any of your surroundings other than the gigantic creature before you. In spite of this it’s another pleasing extra for the series that gives you a break from the trial-and-error puzzle levels.

It’s when it comes to multiplayer that the game isn’t quite as successful as we had hoped. There’s a massive increase in the number of mini games with an amazing 50 for you and up to three additional players to involve yourselves in. The problem being that a large number of these games are just too difficult to control and are not very enjoyable as a result. The Monkey Ball mini games are ordinarily a multiplayer dream, and whilst Banana Blitz does offer a handful of highlights that we‘d return to again and again, out of 50 we’d expect a little more, and also the absence of some old favourites is sure to irk some.

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz is still a successful attempt at making a promising home for the series on the Wii. We knew it was always going to work, and SEGA has proved that games like this play extraordinarily well on Nintendo’s new hardware.