Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble (Switch) Review

The Super monkey ball The franchise has gone through many ups and downs over the years. The first two GameCube titles knocked it out of the park, offering a wealth of content from addictive maze-like main levels to incredible mini-games. Since then, however, the series seems unable to reach the same heights, either content to take one step forward and two steps back, or otherwise completely fumble the (monkey) ball.

Afterward Super Monkey Banana Ball Mania has instilled some confidence with its commendable recovery Super Monkey Ball 1 And 2Sega is back with a brand new entry in form Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble. However, in keeping with franchise tradition, this is another game that fails to be a complete success, combining a solid single-player experience with a series of multiplayer modes that, frankly, don’t work. worth the price of admission or time investment.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble Review - Screenshot 1/4
Taken on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

However, starting with the positives, the single-player campaign is enjoyable from start to finish. It’s exactly what you’d expect from Super Monkey Ball at this point and includes 100 levels divided into 10 unique worlds. Once you have completed these, you can double This number, along with a series of extremely complex bonus levels, challenges even the most experienced Monkey Ball fans. Granted, there’s nothing here that will overwhelm us in terms of creativity or originality, but what we do have is a healthy selection of fun, well-designed levels. We suspect this is all that most people are hoping for.

In addition to the robust level selection, the actual gameplay also feels pretty great. Physics no rather on par with the GameCube original, but it’s as close as the series has gotten in recent years. There are plenty of opportunities to ‘break’ levels with crazy jumps or absurd feats of speed, and we can’t wait to see how quickly players manage to get through the game in the coming weeks and months.

To enhance the gameplay even further, Banana Rumble takes inspiration from Sonic the Hedgehog and introduces the new ‘Spin Dash’ ability. By holding down the ‘B’ key at any point, you can supercharge your dash and enjoy a short burst of speed. Not only is this useful for completing levels faster, but it also allows you to skip certain platforms, jump over ramps, and more. We were surprised at how important the dash ability was in some of the later levels. Those afraid that it might turn out to be a useless gimmick can rest assured; Its implementation results in a simple yet effective evolution of the core Super Monkey Ball gameplay.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble Review - Screenshots 2 of 4
Taken on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

So what is our problem? Well, the multiplayer is a bit annoying. Ignoring the game’s title, one could argue that the five modes included here are the biggest draw in the whole experience, but honestly, we’d rather have mini-games like Monkey Target and Monkey Bowling. That’s not nostalgia talk either – they’re actually much better than what was offered in Banana Rumble.

The five modes include Race, Banana Hunt, Ba-BOOM, Goal Rush, and Robot Smash, and the problem with all of them is that they’re either too chaotic with the maximum number of players (16) or too boring with just one. few friends. There’s no middle ground, no sweet spot for the modes to actually be fun to play, and it’s frustrating.

Take Race mode for example. The courses here include a mix of long straights for good momentum and complex puzzle areas that require more precise movement. When you reach the later segments, don’t be surprised when a bunch of other players rush at you as they approach the same area. It results in a visual mess where you’ll struggle to create your own character amidst a sea of ​​monkeys, and it’s not particularly interesting. It’s clear that Sega is striving for one Autumn boys vibe with this, but it doesn’t work.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble Review - Screenshots 3 out of 4
Taken on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

This is only exacerbated by the frame rate. During single-player missions, the game runs at a lovely, smooth 60fps and feels great. Switch to multiplayer or add additional players to the campaign and the frame rate drops by half to 30. It’s a jarring change that, while certainly not unplayable, is A hard pill to swallow after you’ve spent so much time working your way through the single-player stages.

Some of the modes have the potential to become interesting later, perhaps if Sega adds more stages or characters. Currently, the only game we recommend at the moment is Ba-BOOM, where you essentially pass bombs to your opponent by rolling into them before time runs out. Goal Rush, on the other hand, is all about fun and just requires you to rush into a series of goal posts to score points. Yawn.

Besides the main modes, Banana Rumble boasts a large amount of bonus collectibles and fun little extras. You have a total of seven playable characters to start with, along with several unlockable characters available through the in-game store as you progress. All of these can then be upgraded with cosmetic items, including clothing, new shade colors, and unique effects. There’s a lot to dive into in customization, and it’ll take you a long time to unlock everything.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble Review - Screenshots 4 out of 4
Taken on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

You also have a ‘Memories’ section where you can watch unlocked movies, listen to music tracks, and review any saved replays. ‘Missions’ include a series of unique ‘achievements’ to track and receive bonus points for, while an engaging global leaderboard function requires you to spend your accumulated points growing palm trees. Pretty random for sure, but a good way to see how you’re doing compared to your opponents. Finally, the game includes a fun but fairly simple photo mode. You can unlock new poses through the in-game store, so this is a fun little feature to test out for a while.


If all you’re looking for in the new Super Monkey Ball game is a collection of new single-player levels to tackle, then you’re in luck, as Banana Rumble boasts some of the best gameplay we’ve ever seen. seen recently. The added ‘Spin Dash’ ability makes traversal a lot more fun, and the physics feel as close to ‘classic’ Monkey Ball as the series has had for quite some time. Unfortunately, if you’re looking forward to multiplayer modes, temper your expectations. Most of them simply aren’t very good and are significantly hampered by reduced frame rates. We almost scored this one lower, but the quality of the single-player almost pulled it up. As it stands, Banana Rumble is a mixed bag, but worth checking out if you want more single-player shenanigans.

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