Review by theEqualizer
"I'm going bananas for these balls..."
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz is one of many Super Monkey Ball games released for various systems. The difference between this and other titles though is that it uses the Wiimote in almost every way imaginable. While the Wiimote is used in very creative and fun ways in some ways, in other ways it seems like it was just tacked on and makes the game harder to play than it really should be.
In the single player game, you use the Wiimote to tilt the stage and guide your little monkey friend into the goal, jsut like previous SMB titles. But, it is definitely harder to sue the Wiimote than the analog stick. If your sitting down it;s very hard to keep your arm straight enough to navigate the monkey correctly. Some simple tasks seem ridiculously frustrating.
The real selling point of this game, however, is the multiplayer. There are over 50 minigames to play with many up to four players. Some of the minigames are great such as the hovercart games, hurdle jumping, and many others. However, there are some games that just seem like they were shoved in at the last minute to reach the 50 minigame mark.
For example, the are carbon copies of all the Wii Sports games in SMB:BB such as baseball, tennis, and boxing. We already have much better versions of these games in Wii Sports and their SMB:BB incarnations are mediocre at best. Games such as Whack-a-mole and UFO capture have awkward control styles and are very difficult to play.
One minigame I really liked was Monkey Race. I want to point this out because I actually had more fun with that minigame than I ever did with Excite Truck. You should definitely check out that minigame if you buy/rent this.
The graphics are not bad by any means. This game does look like a Gamecube game however. The environments in the main game look almost exactly like they did in previous SMB titles so you won't be surprised with what you see. Some of the environments in the minigames look like they were made last minute. The field in Home Run Derby is completely blank and some of the levels in Hovercraft Race are bland. Overall though, the graphical style is all well put together and doesn't really deteriorate from the experience.
The sounds and music in this game are all reminiscent of previous SMB titles. One thing that really stands out however is the sounds produced by the Wiimote. Most of the actions you perform in game have little Wiimote sounds that come out. One notable instance of this is in UFO Capture. When you suck up a cow the sound goes from your TV to the Wiimote as you suck it up. This makes some minigames more intuitive then they would be without the Wiimote sounds.
The main game plays just like previous SMB titles where it will take you around 20-25 hours to beat the main game and, if you feel like it, going back and beating it 100%. While there are 50 minigames, you won't be playing all of them and sadly, SMB:BB does not have the equivalent of a Monkey Target minigame that will make you come back to it again and again. There are a lot of minigames that make interesting use of the Wiimote but most of them are very gimmicky. This is a great party game for now, but to be honest, after we tried out Monkey Ball, we went back to Wii Sports for the real multiplayer fun.
Gameplay: 12.5/25 - Creative use of the Wiimote, but no real depth.
Graphics: 7/10 - Same SMB style.
Sound: 8/10 - Good use of the Wiimote.
Value: 3/5 - Fun party game, average single player.
Overall: 30.5/50 = 61% = D
Bottom Line: Great party game for now, but there will be better.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 11/30/06
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