Review by Ashton300

"Mmm. Banana."

After a lot of searching, review reading, and recommendations, I decided to go out to my local game shop and pick up Monkey Ball. The best investment of my life. I haven't stopped playing since I got it, only to write this review and chat with my friends about it. So, what is it?

Monkey Ball is sorta hard to describe. The main game is a bit of an action/puzzle hybrid. But then there's the extra modes. Bowling, Race, Fight, Target, Billiards, Golf.... I suppose it's best classified as a Party game.

The graphics of Monkey Ball certainly aren't an extreme showcase for the GCN's power. It looks more like a Dreamcast game. The backgrounds are pretty, the monkeys move fluidly and have lots of animation and facial expressions. The terrain isn't much... mostly just floors with a checkered pattern. But, this proves a game doesn't need amazing graphics to be fun.

The control in Monkey Ball is EXTREMELY simple. You need a total of 1 ''button'' (control stick) to move your monkey. That's it. But that's all you need.

The gameplay is great. When you start on the Beginner courses, you're treated to 10 levels of free play, basically. Nice, flat ground, with maybe one or two turns, and a few narrow bridges. But once you hit the Advanced set of levels, it gets hard. Twisting terrain, turning over, numerous moving platforms, wire-thin pathways.... And then you hit Expert. Agh. I've gotten to level 7 or so before running out of continues, but that's only because I've just started this game.

Each of the minigames has its own little set of special features, too. Monkey Race is sort of like Mario Kart, in which you race around a track and try to defend yourself with different powerups and weapons. Monkey Fight puts you in a 4-player Free-for-all, arming you with a boxing glove on a spring. Monkey Target is a nice twist, sort of like trying to land the hang glider in Pilotwings 64. Then there's Monkey Bowling, Monkey Golf, and Monkey Billiards, which are pretty self explanatory.

I recommend this title to anyone who likes variety in their games. It's like 7 in one. And with over 100 levels in the normal mode, you won't finish this game too quickly...

Graphics 8/10
Gameplay 10/10
Difficulty 10/10
Control 10/10

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/18/01, Updated 11/18/01

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