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Screenshot

We’re goin’ bananas again in Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD

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Try not to get nauseous as you spin as fast as the famous blue hedgehog, but this time as a monkey! Its everyone’s favorite arcade game, Super Monkey Ball! With a fresh coat of paint and a few new game modes, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD brings the Wii classic to the modern day. Boasting online leaderboards, a new game mode, and crisp clean art, Banana Blitz HD aims to bring the series back to the main stage, but can it survive being tussled around inside a tiny ball?

A fresh coat of paint

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD is a remaster of 2006’s Wii title of the same name (well, minus the HD part). Tossing aside the motion controls of the Wii version (even on the Switch version) and replacing them with tight controls via the control stick, you’ll move your trapped simian around a collection of themed worlds, or in one of the ten revamped mini-games that are available. You can also unlock a special hidden character, who you can see gameplay of by clicking right here. This hidden character adds a lot of speed, but feels like a natural fit in the game, which surprised me quite a bit.

The game also features a new decathlon mode which has you racing through the ten mini-games as fast as possible and getting the highest score that you can, all to be placed onto the brand new online leaderboards. The thrill of seeing your name at the top is familiar to the arcade crowd, as the original Super Monkey Ball had the classic arcade top scores list as well. I do wish that the selection of mini games had been touched up a bit more, I was disappointed to see that Monkey Target wasn’t the familiar rolling down the hill version, but it was still exciting once I figured out the timing.

Who even asked for this?

The biggest gripe I have with the game is unfortunately the boss fights in the main campaign. Entire perfect runs would be destroyed by the boss at the end of each world. They throw off pacing, and the direct “Hit the glowing bit” feels a bit too…juvenile for an otherwise amazing game. If boss fights were going to be in the title, I would’ve loved to see them reworked to be a bit more original. There’s one specific boss that has a bit more than just “hit glowing spot a few times” and it was honestly really fun. Its just a shame that the pacing of the campaign feels that it hits an actual brick wall each time.

Conclusion

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz wouldn’t have been my choice for which title to remaster, but admittedly it was the only title in the series that I hadn’t played before this. The levels felt like the natural improvement to the classic formula, though I’d love to see a bit of a split between “Arcade” and “Adventure” maybe. Similar to how Sonic grew, I’d love to see Super Monkey Ball grow as a series. The characters all ooze personality, and it’d be really great to see that personality shine through a bit more, even if only in animated bits.

That obviously doesn’t fault this game though, and my time with Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD was honestly some of the most fun I’ve had with the series. I do wish that motion controls would have been available at least for the mini-games, but I can forgive it knowing the Xbox and Playstation versions exist.


I really do hope we see these simians again soon.

Disclaimer

Code was provided by SEGA of America for purpose of review/content creation.

New updated graphics breathe new life into the series.
Unlockable outfits & characters feel exciting to unlock.
Decathlon mode gives a fun challenge to try to place on the leaderboards
Boss battles.
Some stages difficulty spikes randomly.
Lack of motion controls on Switch ver. feels a bit odd.