Review by seebs1

"An experimental exploration of the Wiimote"

Make no mistake; this game is an experiment.

The Wiimote is an ideal controller for the "story mode" Super Monkey Ball, which is just like one of those marble-labyrinth puzzles, only with monkeys.

However, the reason I got this was that Super Monkey Ball for the gamecube had an astonishing variety of amazingly cool minigames; pretty much every game people play that uses round things was represented. Pool and bowling were among my favorites.

Banana Blitz goes for a much broader collection of minigames, many of which do not involve balls in any way. Every one of them has an interesting and different control structure. Some of them are quite a lot of fun. Some of them are dismal.

The controls seem to be much more finicky than any other Wii game I have. I originally set up the Wii on a TV facing a couch. Other games ran fine; SMB had control problems like you wouldn't believe, and I'm not quite sure why. As an example, in the disc golf game, the arrow indicating throwing direction would sometimes just spin freely. When I moved to a different setup with the Wiimote further from the system, this improved; I can't imagine why, as the sensor bar should only affect pointing actions, not motion-sensing or angle-sensing. Nonetheless, it did, and the game is actually pretty fun once working.

On the other hand, nothing I've ever done has been able to make the whack-a-mole playable; the hammer jumps around the field arbitrarily, occasionally offering a tantalizing hint of tracking before leaping off into the distance, far from any moles. Just using the pointer mode would have worked a lot better, but then they couldn't have used the "swing like a hammer" control -- which is not an especially accurate one.

If you don't mind that only some of the games are playable, some of them are quite fun. I think there's a lot of potential for good party game material here. Still, I hope that the next one (there's always a next Monkey Ball game) will focus more on the interfaces that worked, and offer a more interesting variety. I still wish they'd just included some Monkey Ball Pool games, because those were the ones which stayed fun the longest for me before.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 11/25/06

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