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Posted by Urtheart, Mar.15, 2010, under Articles, Comments (0)

Where have I been? Don’t ask!
Anyway remember when we put up this trailer?

Well SEGA kindly gave both me and Vger a copy (see another post somewhere) but because Vger doesn’t like the Wii I decided I would try it, so let’s get down to the Nitty Gritty of it all!

Concept

So this is the second outing for the Monkey Ball Crew on the Wii. Banana Blitz on the Wii was, in concept, a brilliant match, but in reality the Wii’s motion controls just were not up to the task, and while the developers took this in mind, taking the difficulty level down 30 odd notches and adding a jump button to give a huge amount of sway in the difficulty. Combined with the huge amount of mini games, it felt very far from the originals that appeared on the Gamecube.

The same concept kind of came up in this one. The Wii Balance board seems like not only a great idea, but an obvious new way to control the game, with the announcement trailer (which is a beautiful piece of work in itself) making the whole concept seem as natural idea as putting youself in a huge ball and rolling around in it. Reminds me of the old Atlasphere from Gladiators!

Controls

So does it work? Well now the jump mechanic has been taken out, you now go back to controlling the tilt of the world rather than your monkey’s ball (… yeah I’m going to try and say those two words as little as possible). Because of this, alot of the previous let in the accuracy of controls has gone which, in turn, pushes up the difficulty. So you would have thought that SEGA would need to tighten the controls? Well sadly the controls are just as loose, if not more so with the Balance board, than the previous game. Now again this isn’t really a problem with the game itself, more the fact that you can’t get that level of control you need for the game out of the control methods, and with the removal of any analog control, later levels become too difficult for no other reason than the technical limits of the hardware.

Out of the two control methods, the Wii board is the worst, the sensitivity is too sensitive, while at the same time being too restrictive. Again this is down to the amount of accuracy you need in the controls. While maybe a person who has good control over their body (say a Yoga master) might be able to control some of the earlier levels, later ones require quick turns which might do more harm to you than fun.
The wiimote gives you better controls (much easier to control your wrist than your whole body) but even then later levels require such accuracy that you are unlikely to complete later levels without a large amount of luck.

So yeah like the last game, new control scheme sounds good, but just isn’t accurate enough.

Design

But saying that let’s give it a fair review as a Monkey Ball game. Levels have the beautiful, vibrant colours that SBM has given us so much joys and the difficulty of the levels range from hold your hand to smack you where the sun doint shine with a bat loaded with Nails… *shudders*
Another note worthy thing is the Music. Each set of levels has their own music, again masterpieces in their own right, and when you finish the level set you get a version with lyrics. It really helps to give the music a little get up and stand out.

Mini-Games

The biggest bone I had to pick with the last game was the mini-games. In the GC games each of the small handfull of mini-games was carefully crafted and felt like entire games wrapped up in the cute monkey package. Monkey target and Monkey Snooker/Billiards were firm party favourites. With the huge amount of mini-games in Banana Blitz, each mini game felt rushed and had very little depth to it. In this game it kind of goes half half. Some of the more simple games eturn from the previous incarnation (thankfully the better ones) which will last one play per night, while some others return like Monkey Target, however heavily simplified. Again it is disapointing that the mini-games don’t have that much depth, but this time they are a bit more than simply mindless single action games.

Overall

Super Monkey Ball Step & Roll is one of those games which falls in the middle of any particular need. There is nothing actually wrong per say with the game, but it doesn’t have the finesse in the controls to be the type of Monkey Ball game to appeal to the older fans who love the hardcore challenge, but without more simplified levels or more leaniance in the controls, it won’t appeal to the casual audience the previos one did.

My only wish is for a soundtrack of this game to come out.

Gameplay-> 63 (suffers from Hardware and a lack to compensate for such)
Graphics-> 92
Story-> N/A (none, doesn’t need it either)
Music-> 98
Lifespan -> 50 (depends on amount of friends and patience with the single player)

Overall – > 71 If you are a fan and find it cheap, will tide you over.

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