Analysis of Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD. Nice monkeys, AiAi and mini-games

Super Monkey Ball
Written by Kamran Haider

It was time for Sega to remember one of the most beloved and endearing sagas of his wonderful universe: Super Monkey Ball. After a long time of silence, we can finally enjoy once more the presence of AiAi and his colleagues. Analysis of Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD.

When someone thinks of Sega, probably the first thing that comes to mind is Sonic, Mega Drive, Golden Ax, Daytona USA, Streets of Rage, Virtua Tennis, Dreamcast and other well-known “assets” that are part of this great company. The history and legacy of Sega are magnificent, to the point that it has beloved and tremendously revered sagas that, however, sometimes go unnoticed like this by boat soon. And one of these cases is Super Monkey Ball, a franchise that was quite popular many years ago and that its last appearance on a console (separate phones) was nothing less than Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz, an exclusive title for PlayStation Vita. And that was in 2012!

It has taken seven years for the Japanese company to recover (in a way) its venerated saga starring really nice monkeys led by AiAi. And I say “in a certain way” because in reality this delivery for all current gaming systems (although the PC edition seems to appear somewhat later) is a remastering in HD of the same title that made us enjoy quite a bit on Wii. A game that has the same virtues and characteristics that were part of this production for the Nintendo desktop machine to which a couple of small additions have been added … and certain aspects that I will comment on in a moment have been eliminated.

Skill and fun in the company of adorable apes

Anyone who has ever tried any delivery of this fantastic series already knows what awaits him in Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD. The main proposal is as simple as it is very enjoyable, and it is necessary to guide the different monkeys in their respective balls through convoluted design scenarios until reaching the goal. And all this within a certain time limit. It’s that simple … but with many nuances.

At the outset and despite the fact that in the first levels things make them really easy, as we move forward the composition of the routes we have to overcome is quite complicated and filled with obstacles, jumps, ramps, adversaries and other elements that make it difficult, and much, our task. In fact, in the last phases, we will see how we lose one life after another trying to overcome some truly complex sections. A delight Therefore do not be fooled by its childish and colorful appearance because we are facing a rather challenging title.

It is also necessary and highly recommended to collect as many bananas as possible, objects that provide us with an extra (very precious) life for every twenty of these fruits we obtain. But the most important thing is that at the end of each of the ten words that are part of the main mode a final boss will be waiting for us. Some clashes that in some cases are really magnificent (especially the most advanced) and test our reflexes and skill level. And to this are added the special bonus levels that allow us to amass obscene amounts of bananas to monopolize extra lives. In total, a hundred levels have also been grouped in scenarios clearly differentiated from classic jungles to deserts, icy areas, and other exotic locations.adorable apes

Do not be fooled by its childish and colorful appearance because we are facing a rather challenging title.

All these scenarios we can go through with the monkeys on duty … more than any other special character that we must unlock, including our revered Sonic. And far from being different skins of the same character, each one has certain specific characteristics (speed, jump, etc.) that make them more or less able to overcome according to what levels, thus adding more grace to each game.

And how are these monkey balls controlled? The truth is that really well … although I can not fail to mention how much I have missed the integration of an optional control method that recognized our movements with the command, and that I am not very fan of this type of management. If you remember, the original Wii delivery made use of this control through the Wiimote motion sensor (although not sufficiently precise, everything must be said), this being just one of its fundamental characteristics, something that in this edition is has omitted completely. And it is a pity because I consider that at least in the versions of Switch (Joy-Con) and PS4 (DualShock 4) this handling (reiterated, which was optional and complementary to normal) would have been very well received. But having said that, it is fair to say that the control that this edition in HD has is much more precise than that which was embodied in the original title precisely because of changing format, and guiding the balls through the meandering scenarios is a pleasure.

Another novelty of Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD is found in its game modes. The Decathlon mode is completely new and invites us to participate in ten mini-games in a row to try to reach the best possible score, a score that we can compare later with users from all over the world through the already known online leaderboards. And the same goes for the Time Trial mode. On the other hand, another of the elements that had the original Wii game was the mini-games. Supporting the main individual mode, the whopping 50 minigames were integrated, a figure that this time has been cut to 10.

Obviously this cut will not make many users happy, but being fair it is necessary to specify that of the 50 minigames that were part of the original title only a dozen or so were saved: the rest were very bad. Therefore and in a way, the screening that has been done is almost appreciated, a few mini-games that allow the simultaneous participation of up to four players in local mode, an option that is extremely entertaining and ensures laughter and messing.

Another very obvious change has to do with its graphics leap to HD. All versions have a very clear appearance and although (and by its characteristics) it is not a game that stands out on the technical level, it does show very good ways. The animations of the characters are excellent, the variety of the environments is very high and the cheerful and striking tones that show the backgrounds bring a great showiness to the whole. Special mention deserves the design of the routes that we must overcome, which in some cases have seemed excellent.

And finally, the sound section is also very good. The voices (very sporadic) in English (although in the original they were in Spanish if I remember correctly) are complemented by a very moving soundtrack whose central theme (which accompanies us on the menu screens) is impossible to stop humming when you wear A while playing.

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Sega recovers one of his most beloved and adorable sagas thanks to an interesting remastering of one of his latest installments, Super Monkey Ball: Wii Banana Blitz. Fun, challenging and endowed with very entertaining multiplayer mini-games, it is a fairly complete title that will be enjoyed by many users. A game that despite its innocent and childish appearance, its last levels are anything but simple to overcome. Hopefully, it serves as a starting point for a new era of games based on this saga of AiAi.

  • 100 well-recreated and challenging levels (especially the final stretch)
  • The final bosses bring more interest and variety to the matter
  • The 10 multiplayer minigames guarantee piques and adds replayability
  • Sonic’s presence is always a plus
  • Control is lacking through movements in Switch and PS4 versions
  • Any additional option or modality would have been very good

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Kamran Haider

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