Super Monkey Ball Rolls On, Peels New Layers in Banana Mania

Super Monkey Ball made its mark on the gaming sphere in 2001 when it launched on GameCube as a unique, charming puzzle platforming experience based around unique movement. It would go on to spawn multiple sequels and spin-offs until it was finally announced the original three titles were being remastered for modern platforms to enjoy once more. With tons of new additions, it feels like Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania might end up being one heck of a good time. Super Monkey Ball Rolls on with Banana Mania

Being an adorable monkey trapped in a ball has always included fantastic gameplay to go with it. Things tend to start out nice and simple getting acquainted to the unique controls that feel more like shaking a pinball machine at times than moving through a stage normally. Half the fun is exploring these wonderful mechanics, though, and how easy it is to go awry on stages without any barriers to keep characters from getting flung out. Most stages have a time limit of just a minute to complete so it’s not only a rush, but requires good precision along the way. Fortunately most stages offer multiple different ways for them to be solved, so if one choice seems difficult, there’s often an easier choice instead such as levels that start by increasing the speed of movable objects having another button that will lower it back to normal. The further in it goes the more difficult things become and mastering the mechanics is just the beginning of learning how to navigate through some of the more complex stages.

The original titles followed a small cast of characters, but Banana Mania has seen an expansion with many more monkeys and other various creatures coming to join in on the fun to help make their way through stages. Every character plays exactly alike, but some new ones like the inclusion of Sonic will change up simple elements such as the collectibles and certain sound effects. Six characters are unlocked from the start, and the rest can be gotten by the coins earned by completing stages and missions. The main six can also wear purchased customization items that help them stand out in cute and creative ways such as wearing clothing or even decorating their ball. The currency used is for more than just cosmetics, however, and can unlock additional challenging modes to play through much like the main story campaign but with some of their own twists.

Optional modes purchased through the shop offer cool new ways to experience levels. These can be changing the difficulty of familiar stages or taking on a handful of stages from the reverse direction to make them much more difficult. It would be nice if these didn’t need to be purchased, but they’re not terribly difficult to unlock with how kind the missions are with points. Aside from the unlockables there are also mini-games, which familiar fans might recognize. These include such side-games as golfing, bowling, racing and many many others that can be played alone or with a local friend to challenge one another for scores. For those who heavily believe in their skills to traverse levels there’s also a leaderboard that allows comparison on times through stages so everyone can compete to be the top banana along the way.

Although Super Monkey Ball has seen a fair share of highs and lows in its titles over the years, Banana Mania seems to be delivering a grand time to older fans so they can relive some of the classic challenge and stages with a brand new sleek look. The visuals and music have been an absolute joy so far and with tons of alternate modes and collectibles, there’s a lot of time to spend getting everything while mastering different challenges. It has an addictive play style that makes it hard to stop even when coming across more challenging levels, but has lots of ways to make it a little bit easier for those just trying to enjoy their time playing through all there is to offer. Anyone wanting to dive into the brand new coat of paint the title has received won’t have to wait long as Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is launching on October 5 for most available systems.