Wii

North America

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz

by David Trammell - November 19, 2006, 8:24 pm PST
Total comments: 13

I give you impressions from the main game.

I love the original Super Monkey Ball. The sequel controlled the same way, so I could derive some enjoyment from it, but the level designs were inferior. We shall not speak of a certain adventure title featuring monkeys that hit the Cube this summer past. That brings us to Banana Blitz, Amusement Vision's Wii take on the franchise. So far, I can only say that I'm less than pleased.

If you had to imagine how SMB should control with the Wii, what would it be like? Stop to think for a moment. Now contrast your thoughts with how the game actually plays. The tilt sensors in the remote control the tilt of the board. So far so good right? Ok, but the designers apparently decided that you ought to hold the remote in one hand. However, when doing this, it's natural for the remote to be angled upward a bit and pointing at the TV. So they made that the neutral position. If you can manage to find and hold this position, your monkey will not roll anywhere. Good luck with that.

The problems with this are numerous. The biggest problem for me is that no matter what I've tried, I cannot play the game with one hand. When holding the remote as I just described, my wrist quickly starts hurting. Even worse, I can't make my wrist go forward enough to control forward tilt well. I could exchange the word "well" for the phrase "at all" if I happen to be reclining a bit, which I tend to do when gaming. On the other hand, if I try to hold the remote with two hands, there's no natural way to hold it, particularly considering that you need to be able to hit the A button for jumping still. The remote is only meant to be held in two hands when it is sideways (ala Excite Truck or a virtual console NES game). Speaking of Excite Truck, why isn't there an alternate two handed horizontal control mode? That would have been my first choice by a long shot. Despite this, I'm making it work anyway.

So as I progress through the levels, I reach 8 and find that there are environmental hazards. Birds are flapping their wings creating wind. This was a really bad idea. By level 8 I've barely figured out how to hold the remote yet. I definitely haven't figured out how to control the game well enough to keep these birds from blowing me off the level. Still, after about ten tries, I managed to make it through. Not that it was much fun. Maybe if I continue forcing the issue things will get better. I'm not too hopeful that this game can live up to the original. The level designs so far suggest that the designers were well aware that the game is more difficult to play with the remote. Would you play a console FPS instead of a PC one because aiming is more challenging? So far, the addition of a jump button is an interesting element, but the verdict is still out on that one.

While I'm here, I should mention that the music I've heard so far is rather excellent. At first I found it annoying, but I was just angry with the controls. The lack of Excite Truck style control in the main game still baffles me.

I haven't tried any mini games yet, so SMB may yet turn out to be a relatively good launch title.

Talkback

ArtimusNovember 19, 2006

Odd...no one else felt this way from the reviews I've read.

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusNovember 19, 2006

Yeah, I let my brother play it, and he wasn't having a problem. Maybe I just have carpal tunnel or something. My wrist just doesn't do what the game wants, and it's even worse if I recline in my chair (because then the natural position of my arm is inclined more requiring even more wrist bending).

I just wish they would have included control options. A two handed scheme would have been so awesome. It would be like holding the level in your hands. In fact, two hands is what I'm doing now, only instead of out low in front of me, I have the wii-mote right in front of my face and my arms are in a tent like position in front of me. It's weird but it mostly works for now (might not as the levels get more difficult).

GriffinNovember 19, 2006

How do you hold your controller when playing? I hold mine like I hold my mouse (with my index finger over the A button, and holding the sides of the remote with my fingertips). I found this is much more comfortable, and I didn't have any problems with accurate rolling (at least as accurate as a stick).

I too had this problem with Monkey Ball. It was virtually impossible to get to the default "no-tilt" level. In the main game, I kept trying to move my remote left and right and forgetting that that didn't work.

The mini games were hit and miss, but sadly more miss than hit. We spent about 25 minutes just trying to figure out how Monkey Bowling functioned, and I'm still not sure we ever truly got it. I was physically UNABLE to throw a ball that didn't have spin. I would hold it perfectly level and it would give me FULL spin. I'm still convinced that I must be doing something wrong, because nothing seems to work the way I think it does. Monkey Target was fun, but it seems like they stripped a lot out of it. I really enjoyed Monkey Darts, though. That was a good time.

All in all, quite disappointed with the game.

Spak-SpangNovember 19, 2006

I too have had this problem. What is funny, is Sega could have easily let us hold the controller like Excite Truck, and it would have worked perfectly and felt completely natural. Then use either the D-pad, A Button, or the 1 and 2 button for jump. NO PROBLEM. I have no idea why Sega didn't do this.

The mini games really are hit and miss. Some are great fun though.

HITS:

Monkey Wars
Monkey Race
Darts
Monkey Hurdles

MISSES:

The stupid games with Tank Controls
Boxing

The game has the problems I thought it would have, and not other problems.

The main game might get better when you play it more.

FamicomNovember 19, 2006

Wow, my experience was exactly like this! Holding the remote strangely, dying 10 times on level 8, and thinking the music rocks as well. I was really bummed out about the control scheme SO MUCH that I almost want to return it, but I haven't tried the minigames yet.

Spak-SpangNovember 20, 2006

What is Gamestops policy for game returns? Because I may return it for Rayman if I can get full credit for the exchange.

I want a GREAT multiplayer game to share the Wii experience with, but so far it seems I am going to have to wait for Wario Ware for that. Or Mario Party.

Geez, does only Nintendo get things right?

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusNovember 20, 2006

I'm going to play some more tonight. If you can find a way to hold the controller it's actually not bad. That's the trick though. If anyone has any other suggestions for holding it, post here (maybe even take a picture if it's weird enough).

JensenNovember 20, 2006

I think it would make more sense as a hand held game, I had a lot of fun with the Kirby Tilt and Tumble game on Game Boy Color. It seems like it would be a lot harder to get the feel of watching the level on the screen while tilting it in your hands, rather than tilting the screen in your hands.

jakeOSXNovember 20, 2006

i just played this game. i'll have to totally disagree with the problems. yes, holding the controller with one hand proved a problem, one that took one level to figure out. i simply held the remote between both hands and just moved it as i needed.

having never played any of the monkeyballs before i have to say this was really fun game. though it does make me want a sonic. =)

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusNovember 21, 2006

Jake, Monkey Ball is great fun, especially if you've never played it before. But having played the Cube versions, I can't help but feel this one is inferior. Excite truck style controls would have been so perfect. I can't help lament their absence. Even you admit to controlling it with two hands (while they clearly intended for people to play it one handed).

RickPowersRick Powers, Staff AlumnusNovember 21, 2006

Quote

Originally posted by: DrewMG
We spent about 25 minutes just trying to figure out how Monkey Bowling functioned, and I'm still not sure we ever truly got it. I was physically UNABLE to throw a ball that didn't have spin. I would hold it perfectly level and it would give me FULL spin. I'm still convinced that I must be doing something wrong, because nothing seems to work the way I think it does. Monkey Target was fun, but it seems like they stripped a lot out of it. I really enjoyed Monkey Darts, though. That was a good time.

All in all, quite disappointed with the game.


You were swinging the remote like you would in Wii Bowling. Just hold it level with the floor and flick it upwards slightly. No spin. If you're on the line just right of center, you'll get a strike every time. Congratuations! You just ruined Monkey Bowling for yourself.

Monkey Darts is the best thing about SMB:BB. That's pretty sad, really.

I think I need to build an "accessory" that snaps onto the Wiimote and gives you handles on the left and right.

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusNovember 22, 2006

I solved the problem by getting rid of the game and buying guitar hero ii instead. Which was lucky because I burned the tips of all my fingers on my right hand yesterday and I coukd't hold the wii-mote. My fingers were burned pinky to thumb, most to least, today just my ring and pinky still hurt pretty bad when something touches them,

I'm only using the index finger on my right hand to type right now (and my whole left hand). Which accounts for my sub par spelling and punctuation. This is really annoying. Plus I have no internet at home (at work now) because my landlord decided to have some trees cut down and the cutters dropped something on the cabke line. Won't be fixed until saturday.

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Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz Box Art

Genre Party/Parlor
Developer Sega
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz
Release Nov 14, 2006
PublisherSega
RatingEveryone
eu: Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz
Release Dec 08, 2006
PublisherSega
Rating3+
aus: Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz
Release Nov 19, 2006
PublisherTHQ
RatingGeneral
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