Super Monkey Ball is celebrating its 20th Anniversary with the release of Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania – a faithful remaster of the beloved platform party game. With its simplistic gameplay and challenging courses, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio is hoping to recapture what made the original Super Monkey Ball so magical.
In an age where hyper-realistic and competitive multiplayer titles are constantly vying for players’ attention, it can be refreshing to go back to a time where games were a lot simpler in their premise, and that’s exactly what Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has provided with the release of Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania.
This 20th Anniversary collection bundles together hundreds of stages from the original Super Monkey Ball games, giving fans and newcomers alike the chance to dive back into their colorful collection of whacky courses. While none of the new features present in Banana Mania alter the gameplay of the original, the remaster does help bring the iconic platform party game to a new audience.
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania key details
- Price: £34.99/$39.99 (Standard Edition) $49.99/£44.99 (Deluxe Edition)
- Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
- Release Date: 5 Oct, 2021
- Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania trailer
Simple and satisfying gameplay
The premise of Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is simple. All you need to do is roll your primate-themed hamster ball by carefully tilting each stage with the left analog stick, reaching the goal in the allotted time limit. Sounds easy enough, right?
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While early courses will inevitably see you breeze through them faster than Sega’s iconic blue hedgehog, late-game stages can prove incredibly tricky to navigate. After all, a single mistake will send your furry friend reeling back to the very beginning of the course.
Failure can often come swiftly in Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania, but the fast load times paired with the simplistic nature of each stage ensure success is never out of your grasp for long.
Huge variety of courses
As with any good Super Monkey Ball title, the defining features are that of its colorful courses – an area Banana Mania is certainly not lacking. In fact, the 20th Anniversary title includes 300+ stages from the original Super Monkey Ball, Super, Monkey Ball 2, and Super Monkey Ball Deluxe. This makes it a great entry point for players looking to take the series for a spin.
While your mileage from Banana Mania will vary depending on your familiarity with previous Monkey Ball games, we found that the majority of levels still delivered that fun factor that made the original such a joy to play, and offered a nicely pitched difficulty curve.
Gingerly rolling across narrow pathways in Boiling Pot, hurtling through the skies via Amusement Park’s launchpads, and finding new shortcuts in Jungle Island makes for some nail-biting moments – especially when you manage to race to the goal just before the time limit expires.
There’s plenty of replayability as well, particularly for those that enjoy trying to find nifty shortcuts that shave off the precious seconds needed to score a top place ranking on the game’s online leaderboard.
Fun new features
Tired of playing through the game’s main story stages? Then put your skills to the test in Special Mode – a place where you can experience Super Monkey Ball with unique conditions. For example, Dark Banana Mode tasks you with carefully navigating each stage without collecting one of your five a day, while Reverse Mode switches the start and endpoint of the level.
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Aside from these added bonus modes, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has also introduced a number of unlockable characters from Sega’s superstar back-catalog. There’s Sonic the Hedgehog, Beat from Jet Set Radio, and even Kazuma Kiryu – the popular protagonist from the Yakuza series.
Super Monkey Ball’s main cast can also be customized with various in-game cosmetics, which enable you to adjust everything from their clothes to hamster ball design. While these unlockable features may not offer any gameplay advantages, they do give you something to spend your hard-earned points on.
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania packs all the manic mayhem the series is known for into a well-rounded package that is oozing with both nostalgia and charm. Whether you’re a fan or a newcomer to the series, Banana Mania delivers heaps of fun that players of all ages can enjoy. While its simplistic gameplay and new features may not push any boundaries, Sega’s primate platformer still proves that it can roll its way to the top all these years later.
Reviewed on PC