Step on to the Wii Balance Board and you're bound to roll off the course frequently.
The Wii Balance Board has allowed some developers to expand upon their gaming franchises and explore new ideas that just wouldn’t be possible without Nintendo’s peripheral. Hudson and Ubisoft have both tried their hands on the device with Marble Saga: Koropina and Shaun White Snowboarding, respectively, but now it’s time for Sega to see what they can pull off with the Super Monkey Ball franchise.
While the Super Monkey Ball brand has already visited the Wii with Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, Sega has decided to take everything one step further in Super Monkey Ball: Step & Roll. Besides new levels and new mini-games, Step & Roll changes up the gameplay by allowing players to use the Wii Balance Board as an alternate control scheme to play.
Like previous games, players are faced with the task of rolling a ball with a monkey imprisoned inside to a goal on a linear stage. It’s a fairly simple concept but can prove to be quite challenging as a timer is constantly ticking, and you’ll want to attempt and collect as many bananas as possible which are scattered across each stage.
Super Monkey Ball: Step & Roll can either be played in a traditional form, like in Banana Blitz, in which players use the Wii Remote to control the ball, or using the Wii Balance Board. Due to the not as accurate motion controls of the Wii Remote and the balancing controls of the Wii Balance Board, the courses are generally much wider than they would be in past Super Monkey Ball games.
Even with that being said, Super Monkey Ball: Step & Roll is certainly not easier. While the Wii Remote controls just as well as they did in Banana Blitz, the Wii Balance Board can be more frustrating than enjoyable. As players have seen in other games that utilize the accessory such as Marble Saga; Koropina, the amount of accuracy isn’t as good as using the Wii Remote, and with a game like Super Monkey Ball, you’re going to want accurate controls in order to win.
Even in the earlier levels you’ll find yourself constantly falling off into an endless pit when using the Wii Balance Board. There’s no doubt about it that the Wii Balance Board is a much more accessible way for casual gamers to play the game, but it can result in some frustrating moments. The control scheme has a rather steep learning curve, but with some dedication and practice, can be mastered.
Fortunately the Wii Remote is a much different story. Not only is this control method simple to use and precise, but it’s also the best way to play the game. Levels aren’t nearly as difficult when using this control scheme and the entire experience is just a whole lot more enjoyable.
Besides the main mode, which consists of 100 hundred stages spread across 10 different themed worlds, there’s also a co-op mode which allows two players to team up and play through stages together. One player will control the ball while the other will destroy obstacles scattered across the course.
There are also 11 new mini-games thrown into the game for good measure. Even though they’re a fun time waster at first for solo players, they quickly lose their shine and become a little dull. Unlike an actual mini-game collection, Step & Roll doesn’t have quite another appeal or flare to make them compelling, but by throwing in a few friends you’re guaranteed to have a blast with them.
Super Monkey Ball: Step & Roll retains much of the cute visual appeal of its predecessors, but it turns things up a notch. The entire game just feels a lot more vibrant this time around and it results in a very satisfying experience. It also runs at a smooth 60 frames per seconds like Banana Blitz, which is certainly nice to see.
Super Monkey Ball: Step & Roll is a fun and enjoyable successor to the decent Banana Blitz, despite its issues with the Wii Balance Board. Some games sound like a perfect fit for the Wii Balance Board and Step & Roll was one of them, but the game lacks the polish and precision its Wii Balance Board control scheme needs. As a whole, the game plays much better with just the Wii Remote. Still, even with its problems, the entire package is pretty good overall.