Title: Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD
Genre: Action, Arcade, Party, Platformer
Available On: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Official Site: Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD
Release Date: October 29, 2019 (PC release this winter)
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD is a remaster of the original released on the Nintendo Wii back in 2006. It still has all the same charm and character of the original, but the gameplay is much smoother and not as hectic. While it isn’t a perfect game, Super Monkey Ball lends itself well to the Nintendo Switch’s pick-up-and-play mentality, but I’m not sure how well that would translate to other systems.
Ready to go bananas?
Head back into the fantastical world of Super Monkey Ball and take back your bananas from the space alien pirate king, Captain Crabuchin. Race through over 100 colorful stages and challenge your friends and family to 10 fan-favorite Party Games!
It’s almost impossible to play this game without smiling. While some are quite simple in design, the levels are enhanced with bright, colorful graphics that will make you feel like a kid again. The adorable chattering of the chimps mixed with the groovy tunes associated with each level really work well together to put you in a charming state of mind. Even better, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD looks just as good on the television as it does on the Switch itself.
While other childhood remakes have infuriated its players with redesigns, Super Monkey Ball actually made some improvements on its controls. Gone are the awkward and hard-to-control motion controls, and in its place are rather smooth joystick controls. But, be warned. In the beginning, I chose to play as Mimi. However, her high jumps had me bouncing and rolling off level after level. After switching around, I found Doctor to be much closer to my game style. So, definitely experiment with the different monkeys to see which one fits you best before taking on those Champion Medals.
However, despite the fix to the previously messy controls, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD is not without its shortcomings. It’s difficulty definitely needs some work. Some levels you will bypass with hardly any effort, and others will leave you frustrated as your rolled or bounced away for what feels like the hundredth time. Even after I switched characters, the unbalanced difficulty was still something that I struggled with throughout the game. This does get a little better later on, but I would say that it is a major complaint about the experience.
While we are on the topic of complaints, boss battles might as well be discussed. In short- they’re frustrating. Every single one of them. It’s not so much a problem with the design or the look of them. They are just super difficult, and some times it takes a few turns before you pick up the pattern or even how you’re supposed to deal damage. While this wouldn’t really be a problem elsewhere, I feel like it really slows down the pacing in a game centered around speed and gathering momentum. Honestly, if the battles were more fast-paced, it probably wouldn’t feel so slow and clunky.
One of Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD’s best qualities is just how much there is to do within the game. In just base gameplay, there are 100 levels with tons of bananas to collect. There are medals and time trials – perfect for those who love to complete games to their fullest. Or, better yet, you can bring in a few friends to try out the party games. While the original had 50 party games to choose from, this remaster only has 10. While they seriously minimized the amount, they did keep some of the fan favorites in that final ten.
In closing, Super Monkey Ball is great to grab on the Nintendo Switch. However, I’m not entirely sure I would enjoy it as much on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or PC, mostly because I could only play a few levels at a time before getting too frustrated to enjoy it. If you’re looking for something to scratch that nostalgic itch or something to fill the gap between the next big release, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD just might be the game for you.
Verdict: For those looking for some nostalgic, monkeying around, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD is a fun way to kill time. Its quick gameplay and bright, fun levels add a certain charm that is unbeatable. However, infuriating boss battles and an unbalanced difficulty between levels will leave you going bananas. All in all, this Super Monkey Ball remaster is a perfect Nintendo Switch title with its pick-up-and-play style, but only in smaller doses.