|By Andrew Raub||Saturday, 3 Feb 2007|
At the Wii launch, there were two big multiplayer games. Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz was one of them. I, for one, had high hopes, as it looked like it would follow the traditional path of Super Monkey Ball 1 and 2. Unfortunately, this is not really the case.
Banana Blitz follows the same formula of 1 and 2 so far as it has a single player game and a bunch of multiplayer minigames. What’s new is the control scheme. Super Monkey Ball was practically designed for the Wii. Tilting the controller to navigate the courses is smooth and responsive.
The single payer game is great. The courses are pretty much up to par with the GameCube titles’ courses. Like I said, the control scheme works really well in this mode. There are now bosses at the end of each world that add a challenging and refreshing twist to the gameplay.
The multiplayer minigames are completely opposite in quality, and I question the amount of testing and QA that Sega put into these games. When Super Monkey Ball 2 added a few minigames, I was pleased. I didn’t play all of them, and the classic games from the first title remained (although slightly changed / improved in the case of Monkey Target). I was shocked and appalled when I found out that not only had Sega increased the minigame count to 50, but had also removed and altered my favorite minigames from the past. No more Monkey Fight. Monkey Target is now just one crappy course that takes little skill. The controls for most of the games are finnicky and difficult to figure out. The games themselves give vague descriptions of the control schemes. Half the minigames would be fun if the controls worked right. It took me a while to figure out that in some games you pretty much have to get into a sweet spot and not move your hand and just tilt your wrist.
Why is it that in Twilight Princess I can practically point my controller at the floor with no problems, but in Banana Blitz if you aren’t at just the right position, it won’t work? Seriously Sega, did you try these games out before you sent this game out the door? Did you try other Wii games that were in development? Did you do any sort of research into what fans of the past Super Monkey Ball games thought was fun? After playing the minigames, the only conclusion I can reach is that you did not.
If you love the Super Monkey Ball series, then this might be worth it. If you mostly just like the minigames, then don’t even bother because you will spend more time trying to get the controller to work than actually playing.