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Review

Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble (Switch) Review

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Despite there being two other Super Monkey Ball games released in recent times, this is the first all-new Super Monkey Ball game in over a decade. Before this game, Sega experimented with various ideas for Super Monkey Ball, including motion controls, Wii Balance Board controls, adding a jump feature, and developing mobile versions. Even when they remade the first two games, “the good ones,” as requested by many fans, there was still something a little off. Plus, they ruined Monkey Target.

Now, Sega has given the series a fresh start. It’s still Super Monkey Ball, but they’ve removed the terrible jump feature and grounded the game’s single-player mode. Instead of rehashing the same mini-games from the past (and potentially ruining them), they’ve at least tried something different.

Banana Rumble offers many modes and options to play through, and almost everything, including the main story, can be played by yourself, with other players on the same console, online, or locally with another user who has a copy. This includes the new Adventure Mode, which tells a fun, if somewhat superfluous, story about AiAi and the gang looking for the legendary banana. The story is there if you want it, but you can skip it all if you just want to get to the meat of the game and the 200+ levels in Adventure Mode. The game starts pretty easy, as you would expect, and doesn’t ramp up in difficulty until the later worlds. Some levels are harder than others, and you might need to skip or use guides to figure out how to complete them.

This is great because if you get frustrated with one level, you can skip it and return to it later, not just get stuck on one level. Even if you don’t want to skip a level there’s also the ability to rewind, and some levels have checkpoints as well. They’re really trying to make this one more accessible to new player than ever before. You’ll want to return to most levels anyway because you can’t achieve all the goals on the first try most of the time.

Aside from just completing a level, there’s a goal for finding the golden banana and collecting all the bananas. There’s a lot of value in Adventure Mode; after completing each level, not only do you have the extra goals to aim for, but you can also do the time attack and go around again.

Despite having the same name as Sonic’s, the new spin dash move doesn’t function in the same way. Sonic has to come to a complete stop before dashing, whereas in Monkey Ball, it is used while you’re still moving, using existing momentum to build speed or jump. I’m too nervous a Monkey Ball player to use it often, but I can see how many are going to use this to break the game and come up with some crazy shortcuts. It’s a lot better than a jump button.

However, the joy of Super Monkey Ball isn’t about the story or an adventure; it’s always been about the mini-games and the fun you have with others. Sega has done away with all the mini-games from the past and replaced them with five new games, four of which haven’t been seen in any form in a Monkey Ball game before. The first is Race. Now, Super Monkey Ball has had racing before, and it didn’t feel great. While the addition of the spin dash does mix things up here, if you fall off and have to go back to a checkpoint, it’s basically game over for you.

Banana Hunt is a bit of a battle mode where you compete against others to collect as many bananas as possible. Meanwhile, you can be hit away with a baseball bat or other objects. There’s a banana cloud floating around that spills a lot more bananas in a particular spot to mix things up.

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Ba-Boom! is like the old-fashioned hot potato game, but this time with a bomb. You must pass the bomb to other players before the timer reaches zero. These three first battle games are probably the best of the banana bunch. The others are fine, but they feel more haphazard.

In Goal Rush, you propel yourself down a ramp with 16 other players to slot through goals. Every goal has a different score, but what ends up happening is you just go for any goal. It’s too chaotic to try and really aim for the high scores, and you need to be able to coordinate with your team to do well.

Robot Smash pits you in an arena with all the other players, and you’ve got to use momentum or the spin-dash to smash as many robots as possible. Like Goal Rush, it all gets a bit chaotic for its own good, and you just end up smashing the button to crash into whatever, with no rhyme or reason.

I appreciate that they went with fewer games to have slightly more depth, but the package is a little wonky. Items in this mode are just spammed to see what happens. Also, all modes use the same items, but half the time, there’s so much going on that you just end up spamming them because it’s too hard to figure out what they do, aside from some obvious ones, and it’s just chaos. All the games can be played with bots if no players are available.

Outside the two main game modes, there are tons to unlock and complete. You can style all of the characters, change their outfits, style them up, and change the ball they roll around with, and more. All of the parts are unlocked in the game’s shop. Points are easy to get, so it won’t take long to get that jazzy pair of shoes you want. For those who love achievements, the game keeps track of almost everything, and there are Missions for all of it. Clearing a world, visiting a certain menu, playing as different characters‚ÄĒthey all unlock points to spend in the shop. The game also has a pretty nice photo mode.

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This is certainly one of the nicest-looking Monkey Ball games, although the resolution is a little soft because the frame rate is otherwise super smooth for the most part. The stages are alive and filled with interesting backgrounds, and the levels themselves look more complex than before. The game can struggle in battle mode and when playing multiplayer in general. The game’s soundtrack has a nice jungle vibe, and you’ll be bopping along to many of the tracks.


Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble starts a bit slow, but the later worlds and levels offer new and unique features I’ve never seen in Monkey Ball before. The risk with the spin dash is fun, but I feel like it often won’t be used over the required precision. However, I’m sure people will find ways to hack this game. They still haven’t got the mini-games combinations just right. However, it’s the fresh ideas the series has needed for a while and the best Monkey Ball game in some time.

Rating: 3.5/5

The Good

+ Lots to see and do for single player folks
+ New ideas and concepts in Monkey Ball, it's been a while
+ Lots of things to collect and unlock
+ Accessible options for those who wish to partake

The Bad

- Battle modes are a bit too chaotic
- Too many loading screens and pauses
- Iffy performance in multiplayer

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Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble starts a bit slow, but the later worlds and levels offer new and unique features I've never seen in Monkey Ball before. The risk with the spin dash is fun, but I feel like it often won't be used over the required precision. However, I'm sure people will find ways to hack this game. They still haven't got the mini-games combinations just right. However, it's the fresh ideas the series has needed for a while and the best Monkey Ball game in some time.

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About The Author
Daniel Vuckovic
The Owner and Creator of this fair website. I also do news, reviews, programming, art and social media here. It is named after me after all. Please understand.

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