Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD from Sega is an HD port of the Nintendo Wii classic from over a decade ago, in a long-running franchise with a ton of games. Learn more in our t review!
Hold onto your bananas, because Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD is rolling your way! Experience the magic of one of the most beloved titles in the series, now remastered in HD!
In the Monkey Ball franchise, the main goal is to steer monkeys inside balls to the exit portal, feeling a bit like a mix of Marble Madness and Sonic the Hedgehog. As you begin, you can select one out of 6 characters (and also unlock Sonic!), each with different stats that will change how you roll around each of the many stages the game has to offer.
In the main game, the story is pretty much similar to Donkey Kong Country on the Super Nintendo: the monkeys have had their treasured bananas stolen, and must set out on an adventure to recover them. To do so, your task is to bring the monkey you choose down the dozens of levels to roll through the exit portal so that you can do it again for the next stage. There are a few different worlds to explore, each containing 8 levels, one bonus level, and one boss level. The first worlds, up to the fourth one at least, were very easy to play, and going through the different levels of each set took me a few minutes at most – and I practically didn’t lose a life in it.
The boss levels, however, are where the difficulty is increased considerably. The bosses themselves are very creative, as you must find how to damage their weak points, which are usually exposed by hitting them until you find the right spot. While the basic steering gameplay was perfectly fine during the regular levels, for the boss levels, the camera is sort of working against you, so you’ll need to readjust how you play the game. The issue here is that the camera is locked on the enemy, so when the move around the boss stage, they take the camera’s focus with them.
The other modes available in Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD are a time attack in which you can tackle any world and must complete it with the best time possible, as you try to improve your friends with your performance in the leaderboard. One thing worth of mention is that the leaderboard can be accessed even if you’re not a PlayStation Plus subscriber, which is good news. There’s also a mode called Decathlon in which you must obtain the best overall score in ten mini-games, and aim at making the most of that run for a spot on the online leaderboards.
The last mode is called Party Mode, which I had great hopes for and invited a friend to play it with him. Sadly, this was – by far – the worst mode in this game. The mini-games are bad and don’t control well. Most of the time, we were confused by what we needed to do, and even playing them a second time knowing what we had to do, it still wasn’t fun at all. We resorted to playing the single-player main campaign by exchanging the controllers every once in a while, and that was way more fun.
As for the game presentation, I was genuinely impressed by the catchy ska-ish Japanese jingle in the mode selection menu. The interface was great and clear, and it was obvious it was developed by the same team that did Puyo Puyo Champions, which I reviewed a few months ago. I also loved the graphics engine used as its superb, and the colors are vivid through the different levels. In fact, the game is pretty much identical to the source material, since this is an HD port from a Wii game, but having it in HD makes everything pop.
I also liked that the game was relatively kid-friendly since it uses only two control inputs: the X button and the left analog stick. The mid-game difficulty spike might be too hard for your kids, but at least they can have fun with the first half of stages. As for the trophies for Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD, they are awarded for progressing through each of the worlds in the game, and as well as for completing specific feats that must be tackled individually.
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD is a great game, which features amazing graphics, a great universe with different themes, and a good difficulty curve for the first half of the game, before the jump. While the boss stages feature a camera that works against players, the fights themselves were fun, and there’s a lot of content in the game, offered at a budget price. If you’re a fan of the Super Monkey Ball Franchise, then you’re going to dig this HD port.
PSN Game Size: 6.1GB
This Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Sega.