Sunday, July 11, 2010

Video game number two hundred and one: Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz

Video game review number two hundred and one in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz"

Super Monkey Ball has been around forever, but this is my first time trying it on the Wii. I have very mixed feelings about this one. On one hand, it's all about the motion control, which I actually think is ok for a game like this. Unfortunately, the motion controls for the Wii can be downright unresponsive at times, making certain games almost impossible to play.

Super Monkey Ball is broken up into a couple of different gametypes. On the one side, you have the campaign, which is basically you moving your monkey (ball) through a maze. You do this by tilting the Wiimote around carefully and pressing A to jump. The closest thing I can compare this gameplay to is one of those balance boards with a marble on it. You guide the monkey ball to the end of the maze. I beat the first world, and there are 7 more to go. It gets progressively harder to finish the mazes, and if you're not very careful with the controller, you can roll your monkey right off a cliff to end the level.

The other half of the game is all about mini-games. I didn't play all 50 of them, but i did play quite a few. Some of them (Monkey Fencing, Hang Gliding, Shepherd, Scoop the goldfish) are incredibly annoying because the controls are so hard to figure out. I enjoyed the number ball game (where you basically point at moving numbers in order and count as high as you can)...and my favorite was Monkey Target.

Monkey Target is like something out of Pilot Wings for the SNES. You get shot out of a canon (in your ball) and you must open it up mid-flight to glide down to a target. When you open your ball, it turns into a pair of wings, and you slowly glide down, collecting bananas along the way.

That would probably be too easy if that was all it was, so to make things more difficult, you're also carrying a ball, and you need to drop that on the target (sort of like shuffleboard I guess). Once you've dropped it, you then you close your wings, turn back into a ball and roll to the target yourself. There are three rounds, each round has a potential score of two bullseyes (your ball and the one you dropped). It sounds confusing, but it's a lot of fun...and I played it over and over again.

Ultimately, the controls are so unresponsive that I didn't enjoy the majority of the games, but the few exceptions were a lot of fun. I wouldn't recommend buying this (and I'm perfectly comfortable returning it after only a few hours of playtime)...but I do think that if this was on at a party, I'd probably compete with people in it.

Overall Score? 6/10. As far as the game goes, it's average...but some of the mini-games are really great, especially Monkey Target. Honestly, if this whole game was the campaign and variations on the Monkey Target mini-game, I'd probably buy it. Alas, it is not. :-)

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