It’s been 20 years since the start of the Super Monkey Ball series, and that means it’s time to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Check out our Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania review!
It’s been 20 years since the start of the Super Monkey Ball series, and that means it’s time to celebrate its 20th anniversary on PlayStation 5. This long-running franchise started its run on the Nintendo GameCube with Super Monkey Ball, an enhanced port of the Monkey Ball arcade game. You’ll be able to take on many levels from the first games in the series along with its mini-games, making it a great way to celebrate the franchise’s anniversary in style.
No matter which of the included modes you play, the goal is generally the same in all levels. You have to reach the end of the level while collecting all the bananas you can in the limited time, all while avoiding hazards or pitfalls. To do this, all you have to do is move the left analog joystick to tilt the stage in any direction, making your monkey ball roll, while using the right analog stick to orient the camera to get a better look at where you’re going. If you’re having a hard time on some levels, this collection allows you to toggle on a Helper function, which grants you double the time to complete the level but also gives you the possibility of holding down the R1 button to slow things down. One thing to be aware though, is that once you release the slow down button, you’re back to full speed, which can make it trickier to get on the main path.
Knowing this, you’ll be in for quite a ride exploring all the content the game has to offer. You have the Story Mode that includes ten worlds of 10 levels each, separated by some funny cutscenes. Then there are two Challenge Modes, one for the first game and the other for the second one. In each of those, you’ll start with the Casual, Normal, and Expert courses available, with two other locked. In each of them, your goal is to complete a finite number of stages in the fastest time possible while collecting the most bananas, avoiding timeouts, and falling off the track the least times possible. In the first game’s Challenge Mode, you only have a 13-level course, but the expert one goes up to a surprising 60 levels!
In all of this, there are also a ton of challenges for you to complete that will vary in terms of difficulty. Each time you complete some, as well as when completing levels, you’ll earn points. With these points, you’ll be able to visit the shop to purchase a wide variety of items to customize the look of your character, along with extra gameplay modes, such as Dark Banana Mode or Reverse Mode, so the more you play, the more new stuff you’ll be able to add to your collection.
As for the visuals in this new collection, the included content has received a major overhaul when compared to their original releases. Each level features sharp and colorful graphics with a steady framerate, which is a must for a game like Super Monkey Ball, where precision is key. I did notice that the content didn’t instantly load on the PlayStation 5 version, which did feel a bit odd after playing many games that had close to no loading. It’s not a deal-breaker since it’s only a few seconds, and I’m sure it’s something that Sega can work on patching up.
Having completely missed the franchise in all its 20 years of existence, playing this collection is my first experience with the series. The collection feels like a great entry point for those gamers out there who might also have missed some – or all – of the previous Super Monkey Ball games. The starting levels do a great job at teaching you the basics before the difficulty starts to climbs up at a steady pace. You might find yourself using the Helper function here and there when you start to have trouble completing some of the later stages because having twice as much time to complete a level is very useful.
If you want a new arcade-style game with a Platinum trophy to add to your collection, then Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is certainly a game that fits the bill. You can get trophies for
The Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania collection is the best way to experience the content for the first set of Super Monkey Ball games with some quality-of-life improvements and additional missions, and objectives to complete that will keep you busy for hours. Add a Platinum trophy to the whole thing, and you have a PlayStation 5 release that is easy to recommend. Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is out on PS5 with a $39.99 price.
This Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Sega.