Reviewed by Thomas
- Developer: SEGA
- Publisher: SEGA
- Release Date: 29/10/2019
- Price: £34.99 / $39.99
- Review code provided by SEGA
In my household, Super Monkey Ball has become synonymous with Party Game. Back in the mid 2000’s my wife and I used to play Super Monkey Ball Deluxe with family and friends for countless weekends. We each had our main monkey and a mini-game we excelled at. Challenging each other became a way of life. Trash needs to be taken out? Let’s see who can win at Monkey Target DX. Dishes are piling up? Well, I won the last round of Monkey Bowling so I’m off the hook. Since then, I’ve only picked up a few of the later iterations in the series. I missed out on Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz and was eager to start my review of the HD version being brought to Nintendo Switch. After nearly five years without a new Super Monkey Ball game, to say I was excited is an understatement.
Six Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD focuses mainly on single player mode which has you race around perilous labyrinths as you teeter the edge with every twist and turn. There are roughly a hundred courses to traverse with occasional boss fights at the cap of each stage. The controls come off a bit odd at first. Instead of directly controlling the adorable monkey in the ball, you tilt the stage. Well, that’s not exactly true but the shaky visuals give the appearance of such. The levels rock back and forth and up and down based on your movements. This display is quite jarring and is the closest to motion sick i’ve been while playing a video game. The single player mode wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as I remembered from past games of the series. Each new course seemed like a slight variation of the one before and the wobbly way it played out grew tiresome.
Shaking the dizziness away from the single player experience, I jumped into the mini-games with my family. I even invited my former Super Monkey Ball Squad over to relive the good old days. Sadly, there are only ten levels available for the party games with no variation of the modes. With past Super Monkey Ball games we could play for hours on end. With the scarce scattering of events to play, even the mini-games became mundane. We did find renewed pleasure in racing through each event solo, in an attempt to grasp the World High Score in the Decathlon. For a time I sat at the number one spot but I knew that would be short lived. Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD only gives a sampling of the greatness it once was and at a price too high.
One Fell Off and Bumped its Head
The refreshed graphics smooth out the edges of the memorable monkeys. Each board is fresh and vibrant. In single player mode the tracks offer variety in design despite feeling regurgitated. The quirky victory dances are back in utter hilarity as each monkey grooves to their own beat. The sounds are equally reminiscent and fun. I still have the catchy theme song stuck in my head. From a technical aspect there were no issues. The game ran well in docked and handheld mode.
The music and art style line the bases for a classic Super Monkey Ball experience and wait for the Gameplay to hit a home run. Unfortunately, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD strikes out and shamefully saunters back to the benches. Only a small sampling is teased in this iteration and it failed to recapture the excitement of its side splitting past. After waiting half a decade for Super Monkey Ball to find its way back it looks like I’ll have to wait even longer. A new game or another from the archives would have served the group gaming aspect of the Nintendo Switch better.
- Family Fun Party Games
- Catchy Music
- Memorable Monkey Cast
- Slow Single Player Mode
- Short Lived Mini-Games
- Misses the Mark on Switch Party Capabilities
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD offers a hint of excitement with its small sampling then falls short due to lack of content.