Super Monkey Ball : Banana Blitz HD
Developed By : Sega
Published By : Sega
Category : Arcade, Platformer, Party
Release Date : Oct 29, 2019
While there may not be any new Sega consoles appearing in anybody’s houses, except for maybe in there mini form, there’s still plenty of games they’re putting out for fans. For the most part, these games are parts of long-standing franchises, with some earning new entries while others find remakes and ports. Super Monkey Ball : Banana Blitz HD for the Nintendo Switch is the latter case, reviving an old title from the Wii and bringing it to a new generation with a few new fancy features.
Our story begins with Aiai and his friends, standing and celebrating around the golden banana bunch. The evil Captain Crabuchin makes himself known quickly as he crashes his ship right into their party and snatches up the golden bunch before leaving. Now, Aiai and his friends must get the bunch back, but it’s been scattered and divvied up between Crabuchin and his underlings.
Before you embark on the adventure, you’ll get to choose from a number of monkey characters. Each one offers different stats in key areas such as their weight, speed, their jump ability and bounciness. All of these will be crucial in your journey through the game, as these stats are going to help determine how much you can handle in different situations.
There are ten worlds in the game, each made up of ten individual stages. These break down into being eight regular stages, a bonus stage, and a boss stage. Through the normal stages your goal is the same, you’ll start at a fixed point in the level, and there will be a ring at the end for you to reach. You’ll have a time limit to race against, and plenty of bananas to collect along the way to add to your score. Once you finish a level, you’ll have a total score compiled based on how many bananas you collected, how fast you completed the level, and an additional bonus if you completed the level perfectly.
While in the levels, it may seem like you’re controlling the monkey in the ball but you’re not. You’ll notice as you make some turns how the entire level seems to shift, and that’s because you’re actually in control of the level creating ways for the monkey ball to roll towards your goal. This is where the stats of your chosen monkey will come into play as it can effect how well you’re able to respond to turns.
Bonus stages come after you’ve completed the first four stages. All these are are wide-spread places with a ton of bananas scattered around for you to collect against the clock. Every so many that you collect will convert into a bonus life. Your goal on these bonus stages is literally just collecting as many bananas as possible. If time runs out you don’t fail, and if you get them all the time stops and you get a perfect rating.
Boss stages are your final entry in each world, and your chance to reclaim one banana from the golden bunch. You’ll still only have your limited move set of rolling and jumping. As you fight these bosses, you’ll be able to use this limited set against them efficiently, by either attacking them directly or manipulating something within the level to fire at them, such as redirecting projectiles that are fired at you.
There’s more to this game than just story mode though! While the Wii version of Banana Blitz included a whopping 50 mini-games to play, the ten most popular of them are back in the HD version. Grab a friend and duke it out in all of these games.
You’ll be able to face off in modes like Slingshot where you’ll sling your monkey ball at different targets; Hurdle Race puts you on a running track with (you guessed it) hurdles to get over before the end; Monkey Snowboard lets you hit the slopes trying to get downhill as fast as possible, and more! All these mini games can be played by up to four players simultaneously.
OR…or you can compete against the world leaderboard in the all new Decathlon game mode. In this mode, you’ll run all the mini games in a one-shot endurance run. The goal here is to compile the highest combined score across all the games. This score will then be uploaded to the leaderboards and you can see how you fare against…well everyone.
I had played a few Super Monkey Ball games in the past, but never this one in it’s Wii run. Having played it now, I wish that I had played it on the Wii to compare the different control schemes, since from what I can gather the older version made use of a lot of motion controls. Even without playing it though, this remaster is incredible and a ton of fun.
The stages are a ton of fun and plenty challenging. In fact, I was thrown initially by how much the levels shifted when you tilted them as I tried learning the sensitivity and control of each character. One thing that’s distracting (in a good way) is in the lower left hand corner the game is always tracking how fast you’re moving. It’s distracting because sometimes you just want to focus on it and see how high your speed gets, but then you might miss a curve and go flying and falling off the stage. It still tracks your speed as you fall though, and I can tell you that I learned the terminal velocity of a falling monkey ball is 281 km/h.
This franchise has been around for the better part of two decades, and once you play a couple levels of any of them you’ll understand why. For me it always transports me back to being in an arcade as a kid and trying to balance a skee-ball across this snake shaped platform to try and win a prize. Speaking on this one specifically, it plays amazingly and I’m ecstatic to see it brought to a newer generation.
Again, I wish I could say more on the difference in the Wii-too-Switch control comparison, but whether this is your first time playing this game specifically, or this franchise as a whole, adding Super Monkey Ball : Banana Blitz HD to your Switch library will not be a mistake. Whether you go it alone, or duke it out against your friends, this is a game that you will easily clock countless hours into, and you’ll enjoy every one. So hit up your the eShop, or your local/online retailer and grab this golden banana today!