Review by Blanch_1000

"Another nay addition to a wildly yay and nay series"

When I hear of a new Super Monkey Ball game, I'm usually wary. While I enjoyed the first Super Monkey Ball and found Super Monkey Ball 2 to be one of the best games of the previous generation, every other entry into the series I either didn't enjoy or had the sense to avoid. But when I had first found out about Banana Blitz, got some information, it really seemed like a worthy sequel. Hey, a few changes here and there, some new advancements (jumping!, Will controls!), something really worth playing.

However, as good as it LOOKS (w/ wonderful new graphics), as wonderful as it may seem, and as decent as reviews tend to make it out to be, it's a bit sad and perhaps somewhat scary how, in an attempt to make things better, a game can be made so much worse. They didn't cut corners, and it's not that they didn't try… What's wrong here basically boils down to two main issues:

1. As said, almost every change they made to the series is for the worse.

2. They tried WAY too hard to make use of the Wiimote.

It may not hit you instantly with single player, but after a few minutes it'll definitely start to. Just like before, you tilt the level you're on in order to roll the monkey you're playing as to the goal. Very simple, very effective. New to the game, though, is the ability to jump, which admittedly does add a new spin on the gameplay. However, with this feature added, the levels take on more of a platforming role—much more linear, straightforward, much less unique, and requiring a fair bit of jumping—which doesn't quiet suit it and never quite feels right; the bizarrely brilliant level designs that you may be expecting aren't here (don't look). The game is separated into worlds, and at the end of each is a boss battle, which, as interesting as they sometimes are, are almost always frustrating and unpleasant.

All the characters featured are controlled differently, but it's an unpleasant (pointless) hassle to try to pick the right one for the occasion. Whether or not you do get the best monkey for the job, you'll be dying a lot, which is normal and should very much be expected. However, unlike in the second game's story mode, you've got a limited amount of lives, but at least there's no real punishment for losing them ('cept, you know, giving up the chance to play the last two worlds); it's discouraging, and it feels like a step backwards from the endless chances offered in the previous game.

For the first time multiplayer is seemingly the main attraction. And while there were only few minigames before, this time 'round they've broadened it by featuring a total of 50 'em. Sadly, and almost unexpectedly, here are where the bulk of the problems lie. Aside from oversimplification of minigames featured previously in the monkey ball series (the much loved Monkey Target, for example, is now a joke), and that fact that a lot of the minigames are just so FLAT OUT conceptually unappealing, most of the issues here are due to the controls; a huge healthy chunk of these minigames just don't control, by ANY means, all that properly. Some just don't work—leaving you questioning the game, the Wiimote, and possibly life itself—and some just don't work well enough—for inst., pretty much all the games that are featured on Wii Sports make an appearance here, and due to the quality of those, these become unplayable. It's a matter of pushing the Wiimote to do things it just can't quite, by which I mostly mean the iffy depth perception (even in first party games).

From the moment you start playing this game, your enemy is the controls. You navigate the menus by tilting the Wiimote left and right, which gets old faster than it may seem; why they didn't allow you to simply point at what you wish to do, I would assume, is because it would seem SO COOL to do it the other way. But as it isn't SO COOL to tilt the Wiimote to control the action in single player, and it isn't SO COOL to only have a (small) handful of minigames worth touching at all, it isn't SO COOL to battle with the menus every damn time. 'S how it goes.

So, I'm not sitting here wondering just what went wrong, because it doesn't seem like any sort of mystery. Changes in gameplay and control (woe betide) are simple and effective enough to, in fact, bring down an otherwise potentially worthwhile game. But as it stands, if there's any sort of sequel someday, maybe check that out; this game itself, well, I would sure as hell not recommend purchasing it, and I might even suggest staying away from renting it. But it's your call on that one.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 04/09/07

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