Review By: Jared Black
|# Of Players:||1-4|
|Accessories:||Nunchuk, Dolby Pro Logic II|
What a wonderful way for Sega to kick off its support for Nintendo’s fledgling Wii console. Much like the console itself is designed to do, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz delivers a simple, fun gameplay experience that makes it an excellent choice for almost any gamer.
The single-player portion of Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz is elegant in its simplicity. Using only the Wii Remote, players guide one of six monkeys (trapped in a ball of course) from the beginning to the end of each level by moving the entire level itself. To do this, simply tilt the Remote (held normally, not on its side) left, right, forward and backward. Tilting it left and right works as one would expect, while tilting it forward speeds up the monkey ball and backwards slows it down. Each monkey can also jump over obstacles with the A button…and that’s all there is to the game control-wise.
The simple controls may make it seem as if the single-player game would be a breeze, but the real challenge comes from mastering the controls and taking on the game’s wide variety of levels. There’s a definite learning curve, but the game does a good job of keeping things simple through the first few levels before really kicking things up a notch later on. These later levels ramp up in difficulty quickly, with a variety of enemies, speed boosts, jumps, ramps, swinging platforms, and more to trip you up.
Then of course there’s the matter of the levels themselves, which are generally a series of platforms suspended high in the air. As a result, it can be easy to fall off (losing a life in the process) without precise control. Some levels are shorter, with the challenge coming more from staying on course, while others are longer with lots of obstacles and jumps to navigate. The longer ones require more patience and concentration, and were generally the more challenging ones to me. Also complicating things is the time limit, which varies depending on the length of each course. While fairly lenient, the time limits are short enough to force the player to keep moving and aggressively attacking each course without being totally unforgiving.
Levels are divided up into eight different worlds, with a boss character at the end of each world. These end bosses are impressive in scope and design, often huge and multi-tiered with several things going on at once during each battle. However, the game also makes a point of showing the player exactly where and how to attack each boss (pointing to weak spots with a large arrow), so they aren’t too difficult to defeat as long as each is attacked patiently.
Posted: 2007-01-16 16:08:37 PST