Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is finally here and is a stunning full HD remaster of the original Super Monkey Ball 1 and 2 and Super Monkey Ball Deluxe. Developed by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and published by Sega, it will be available on October 5th on Windows PC, PlayStation, XBox, and Nintendo Switch. This new remaster is an incredible way to revisit some nostalgia and relive some amazing memories. For the purpose of my review I was playing on the PlayStation 5.
In Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania there is a story mode where you have to collect bananas and roll your way to victory before the timer runs out. The basis of the story is that you play as either AiAi, MeeMee, GonGon, Baby, YanYan or the Doctor. No matter which character you choose your aim remains the same - roll, jump and fly to attempt to take down Dr Bad-Boon.
There is certainly more than enough content within just the main story to enjoy with over 300 levels, but alongside this there is also a party mode made up of 12 mini games that can be played with up to 4 player local co-op. Unfortunately, these won’t be available to play online, however there is an online leaderboard where you can compete with people from all around the world to get the fastest times and highest scores in a time attack mode.
As soon as Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania landed itself in my hands I was incredibly happy. I have so many fond memories of playing these games as a kid and to see them remastered 20 years later was an absolute delight for me. There’s a massive amount of enjoyment still to be had in so many of these classic games from my childhood and I think the bulk of that enjoyment comes from me not being a kid anymore and not being so impatient and failing miserably. To be able to revisit these classics with my very much improved gaming abilities is excellent.
Throughout the levels you’ll go through a range of different worlds including a luscious and vibrant green world with winding twisting tracks then into some grim fiery hell. The overall challenge found within Super Monkey Ball is certainly still there and I more than definitely found myself struggling on more than one occasion. One of the most unique things I always loved about Super Monkey Ball was the fact that rather than controlling the character, you're actually tilting the track which really increases the difficulty a lot, but I could imagine that it means you could do some really cool things to complete the levels in different ways. You aren’t overly obliged to collect every banana on every circuit and quite frankly, I struggled to achieve that consistently without running out of time, however despite previous experiences I’d still say I pretty much suck at it.
Alongside the traditional cast of monkeys you can choose from, there is also quite an extensive selection of character customisation that you can choose from with your hard earned currency. You can customise the colour of your ball, get some stylish shades or you can do what I did and start unlocking other classic characters like Sonic the Hedgehog and Tails or characters from more recent games such as Morgana from Persona 5.
Overall, I couldn’t really rate this remaster collection much more than I do. Whilst remaining true to the original games, Sega have managed to completely modernise these classic games and bring the same level of joy and nostalgia whilst providing equal measures of frustration at your own failings. There really is very little place to find fault in Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania - it completely does what it says on the tin and provides such a great experience from start to finish.
Lj’s rating 5 monkey balls out of 5.
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Many thanks to Indigo Pearl for the Review Key.