Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz

A simple challenge of my patience.

By XboxBetty, Posted 27 Oct 2012

Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz is a puzzle game with an extensive history. Super Monkey Ball first debuted as an arcade game in 2001 and shortly after it was released on the GameCube. It's popularity increased and Super Monkey Ball continued to have sequels releasing on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, Wii, and many other consoles and handhelds. Versions of the game have even been developed for the iPhone and other mobile phones.

The majority of Super Monkey Ball games, in this case, specifically Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz are simple and easy to understand. I began playing the game without ever having played a Super Monkey Ball game and quickly adapted to its features. The menus bring the user to three options: Solo Play, Multiplayer, and High Scores. I chose Solo Play and was brought to another menu with the options Monkey Ball and Party Mode. Wanting to jump right into the game I chose Monkey Ball.

Super Monkey, Ball Banana Splitz, Review, Trailer
Choose to play the game with AiAi (pictured above), MeeMee, GonGon, or Baby.

After choosing a character (I chose MeeMee on most occasions), you are given the choice to guide your Monkey Ball with the PlayStation Vita's left joystick or motion sensor. I began with the motion sensor and began the game in beginner challenge mode. Each mode includes a series of levels, becoming more challenging as you progress.

Your monkey is comfortably trapped in a translucent ball and is seemingly happy. Using the motion sensor I tilted my Vita, guiding my character along a floating surface; leading it around corners and pushing it up hills; collecting bananas for lives on the way. With one minute on the clock it's an energizing race to the finish. The first series of levels were a breeze and I quickly whizzed through them however, I predicted more difficult levels were ahead of me.

As I progressed through the game I saw my prediction coming true. The levels became more difficult and using motion control became extremely frustrating. I found it difficult to get the monkey ball moving, often having to tilt my Vita forward so far that the screen was out of my normal line of vision. Taking my eyes off of the monkey ball almost always led to it flying off the course falling into the nothingness called failure.

Super Monkey, Ball Banana Splitz, Review, Trailer
It's tempting to rush through each level but being cautious is a must.

Luckily, the option to switch to the Vita's left joystick is always available. Doing so makes for an easier, more enjoyable game. However, using the joystick did not make Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz easy. I still found it challenging and frustrating at times; often catching myself cursing out the PS Vita.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz offers more than the classic Challenge Mode. There is also a Party Mode offering 8 mini games. These mini games are where the PlayStation Vita's unique controls really come into play. Use the front touch screen to fling a ball down a bowling alley, use the rear touch pad to make your monkey jump for bananas, and take pictures to collect "pixies" for points. Sounds great but, there's a catch. It doesn't always work as planned.

An example of one of eight mini games offered in Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz (Love Maze).

The rear touch pad was finicky and making the monkey jump was a mess, with it doing just the opposite as I wished. Taking a picture and matching the color to the focus in Pixie Hunt was entertaining, but while playing I had to be in a vibrantly colored and properly lit room. Not possible if you have my kind of taste in home decor. Overall I enjoyed playing the mini games but preferred those that only used the front touch pad.
The ways to play Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz are endless. Play with others; connect online or pass the Vita around the room with up to four players, share your scores on Facebook, create stages by taking a pictures and shaking your PS Vita, and capture videos of your monkey completing levels. All in all, keep yourself entertained for hours.

Super Monkey, Ball Banana Splitz, Review, Trailer
Replay levels to beat your time and high score.

Overall, Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz is a success. Personally I could take it or leave it and for $30 I would leave it. However, the game did what it was supposed to do: entertain. Beyond the frustration of the games attempted use of the Vita's features I thoroughly enjoyed the race against the clock. The game is an integral part of your PlayStation Vita collection if you are a long time fan of Super Monkey Ball or simply a fan of puzzle games.

Megan Bethke, NoobFeed.

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General Information

Platform(s): Vita
Publisher(s): SEGA
Developer(s): SEGA
Genres: Puzzle
Themes: Adventure
Release Date: 2012-10-26

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