By Philip Dunkley
When I received this from Nu Metro, memories of the old Monkey Ball games came flooding back to me with fondness and warmth. I missed quite a few editions in between, but I did play Super Monkey Ball Adventure, and it was rubbish. So it was with great â€œEnthusiasmâ€ that I slowly removed the Plastic around the pearly white Wii box, and inserted the disc into my beautiful Wii (Okay, I know I’m getting tired when my writing starts to sound like an erotic novel).
First impressions, I thought it had the mandatory graphical facelift, but it looked like it was going to be the nail in the coffin for the series. And then came the new control system, controlling our primate friends with the Wii Remote just felt good, even though movement is not normally controlled via the right hand, but it was quickly getting used to it. Basically, it works like this. Tilt forward and Monkey goes forward, tilt back, Monkey goes back and tilt left and right, and guess what? Correct.
The basic concept of the game is the following. Control the monkey in his ball from one side of the island to the other, collecting bananas on the way. Easy right? Think again, this game will frustrate the hell out of you, but when you succeed, it can be very, very gratifying. All sorts of obstacles are thrown in your way, and trust me; they will throw you off course more times than is normally comfortable. If you’ve ever played a game called Ballance (DO NOT GOOGLE THIS IT’S HORRIBLY ADDICTIVE), you’ll get the idea, but not as complicated.
One thing I did notice about this game is the fact that difficulty is not as extreme as it used to be, but don’t be fooled, this is not a bad thing, the last games were killers.
The control system is very responsive on this release of the game, but your hand will grow very tired from all the balancing acts you will have to perform. Also, the game slowly progresses in difficulty and one could be fooled that it’s going to a breeze when you first start out.
Another thing that stands out is how particularly well designed the game is, putting an overall package together that is rather compelling. That alone is worth something in today’s terms, as I sometimes get the feeling that a lot of Wii Games are sort of slapped together to jump on the motion sensing bandwagon.
There are also a large amount of Minigames in the package, a mandatory inclusion it seems on all Wii Games nowadays, yet they are quite amusing and fun to play.
From a graphics point of view, it’s a large upgrade from previous versions, and they seem to have captured a really good atmosphere by some clever level design and a whole host of new additions. It’s not the best looking title on the Wii, but it does look better than a lot of stuff released for the console, especially in 480p.
Just another quick mention here, a new addition to the game is the ability to jump, via the â€œAâ€ button. This adds a whole new dynamic to the experience.
If you’ve been a fan of the Monkey Ball series over the years, and have slowly seen a decline in the quality of the games as the series matured, then fear not, it seems that the series has had a revival and has definitely returned to its former glory. It shows a good balance of change and progression that a gamer is pleased to find in a sequel, and let’s hope that the series continues to move forward after nearly falling off the face of the earth. From a puzzle game perspective, this is a good game, and I would recommend it.
Last Updated: April 23, 2008