Review by bluej33

"Thoughts from Inside a Plastic Ball..."

I can say with quite a degree of confidence that the Super Monkey Ball series is among the weirdest game franchises ever created. Who would have ever thought that a hugely popular game series would have derived from cute little monkeys rolling around in plastic balls? Paradoxes of game-creation aside, Super Monkey Ball has quite a following, so it was no surprise to anybody that a Wii iteration was scheduled for the system's launch. However, thanks to some recent crummy installations in the series, it may be quite a surprise that it's actually a very fun game.

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I sit sadly in my small plastic ball, anticipating the next dare-devil course that awaits me. I have just passed through another golden gate, and after floating around in mid-air for a few seconds, it's off to another course. I look out through the heavy glass screen that encloses me, and see a teenage kid with a look of determination on his face. I guess it's time…

Without warning, the ground on which my plastic ball rests tilts violently forward. As I'm trapped in a sphere, I have no choice but to suddenly roll down the hill that has been created. The ground tilts further and further down, and I speed up quickly; it feels like I'm going to fall!

As suddenly as the ground fell, it becomes flat again, and I begin to slow down. I glimpse back out through the heavy glass separation, and see the teenager with his eyes glued one me. In his right hand he holds a small, white remote. As he tilts the remote up and down, the ground moves; incidentally, it moves in the direction in which he tilts his remote.

I slowly roll to a sharp corner, and the kid outside slowly manipulates the ground. I come incredibly close to the edge of the ground; I brave a peek over and immediately regret it. Should the ground tilt the wrong way, even for an instant, I'm a goner. The kid outside, though, seems to know what he's doing, and I make it safely to the next long, narrow stretch of land. I know what's coming, but I'm still surprised when the ground tilts suddenly again and I fly down the ramp. I'm completely out of control, relying wholly on the teenager outside to keep me on the ground.

Up ahead, I spy another turn, but this one is more gradual. I barely lose any speed as the ground tilts slightly again, and I roll quickly and smoothly through the bend. Ahead, though, is a spectacle that causes me to gasp. In front of me is a huge gap in the ground! I manage to catch another glance of my tormentor, and see him flick his remote quickly up into the air. As soon as this happens, I immediately fly up into the air, helpless, suspended for just a second. As I fly back to earth, I look behind me and see that I have crossed the gap!

The gate is up ahead, and I pass safely through it. Again, for reasons unknown, I am suspended momentarily above the endless blue sky as I celebrate. The boy on the outside of the glass laughs; apparently he thinks it's funny to see a monkey dance. I find it torturous, but I must do it. It's in my programming or something…

Suddenly everything blacks out, and I can't see anything. This happens a lot, actually…in between different courses, I suppose. Despite the tumultuous events of the past few minutes, I can't help but think about the surroundings that I whizzed past. Everything seemed fake, but at the same time believable. The trees looked nice, and the sky looked far too real for my own sanity. In fact, as I take no more than a few seconds to think back to other courses, I can't help but think whoever created this twisted, warped world did go to the trouble to make it look neat. Not necessarily realistic, but very colorful and bright. Not that it helps my helpless situation, of course…

My thoughts are cut off suddenly by a blinding show of color; the black has been lifted, and I've got to have another go. But this…looks different. Rather than being at the top of a course, I find myself in the middle of a disk of land suspended over the sky…this must be a boss battle!

I know immediately that I'm correct as I see a huge buzzard-like bird swoop down onto the disc, apparently intent upon my demise. I close my eyes and scrunch up in my ball, prepared for the worst, when suddenly the disc of land tilts downward. I'm saved! I glance behind me, and see the ugly bird with its beak stuck in the ground. How can I escape? There's no way off!

However, it seems that escape is not in the mind of the teen outside the glass. He suddenly tilts the land back toward the bird. He flicks his wrist again, but this time I know what to expect. I suddenly float up into the air, and onto the bald head of the would-be predator! It seems that attack is the only way to escape this prison in the sky.

This game of cat and mouse continues on; many times I miss the bald creature's wicked, curved beak by just inches, but miraculously I remain unhurt. Finally, after stunning the bird for an uncountable (at least for me) number of times, the bird flies off! I'm left alone on the disc for a few seconds; what now? Suddenly, I am whisked off the disc yet again, and the screen blacks. This time, the light does not return. I am free to rest, and dream my dreams devoid of frightening teenagers or huge murderous birds.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 09/19/07

Game Release: Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz (US, 11/14/06)


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