Super Monkey Ball Touch and Roll
After two successful predecessors for Nintendo Gamecube, Super Monkey Ball is now available for Nintendo DS. And because the NDS has two screens and a touchscreen, it’s almost an unwritten law that you put that in the name of every game. Even Sega doesn’t make an exception: long live Super Monkey Ball Touch and Roll!
As with the two predecessors, there are several game modes: Party Games, Challenge mode and you can try some levels in Practice mode. Here you can play all the levels you’ve unlocked in Challenge mode. So if you’re stuck somewhere, you can play that level over and over again. In the beginning it won’t be necessary, but while you advance in the game, the levels get harder and harder. From then on, the Practice mode will be quite useful because otherwise, you’ll have to play through all the other levels of that world and start all over again when you don’t have any lives left.
In Super Monkey Ball 2 (NGC), there are a lot of levels where you need more luck than skills, but they’ve changed that in this Monkey Ball version. The well-known saying “practice makes perfect” is certainly true in this game! There are over hundred levels to play but not every one is that original. If you have played Monkey Ball on the NGC, you’ll recognize some of them… The concept is always the same: very short puzzles where you have to reach the goal without falling in the ravine. Sometimes, this seems to be very easy, but once you try it, it can be very hard! And that’s what makes Monkey Ball so addictive. You’ll want to try it once more and once more, and … Until you finally complete that level and you want to give the next level a try.
The Challenge mode exists of several worlds with each a few levels where you can collect bananas on your way to the finish. With every ten bananas you take, you get an extra life. Most of the time this goes very quick, but you’ll need them too! In between the normal levels, you’ll get a bonus stage. These levels haven’t got a finish and it’s the intention to get as many bananas as possible. In the beginning, there is only one world available. Once you’ve finished this, you’ll unlock some new ones. Every time you complete a world, you’ll have to play a mini game where you’ll have to turn the names of the staff into bananas. Unfortunately, you’ll have to play through the whole mini game, even if you are tired of it after a few seconds.
Luckily, in the Challenge mode, you can play using the controlstick or the touchscreen. A lot of people dislike a NDS game if it doesn’t use the touchscreen. But this game plays a lot better with the controlstick. If you use the stylus, it is much harder to guide your ball in the right direction and make precise moves. So it’s very nice you can choose if you play the Challenge mode, but once you play a Party Game, there’s only one way to control your ball: the touchscreen! It gets really annoying if you, for example, want to play Monkey Race and constant have to move forward on the touchscreen to make your ball moving in that direction. It would be nice to make it possible to choose or customize your controls…
There are six Party Games in this Monkey Ball, whereof four where used earlier (Monkey Race, Monkey Fight, Monkey Bowling and Monkey Golf) and two are new (Monkey Hockey and Monkey Wars). The concept of Monkey Race is much like Mario Kart: you race through the level and pick up blocks with powerups and specials which you can fire away or use. In Monkey Fight you get to play on a small map which is open on all sides. As weapon you get a boxing glove attached to your ball. The goal is to punch your enemies off the map as much as you can. Monkey Mini Golf isn’t such a big deal. You choose a direction, choose your strength and that’s about it. Don’t expect a great golf game here… With Monkey Bowling you control the bowling ball. Before you do so, you can place the ball a little more to the left or right and give it a spin. So it’s very important to choose a good character because they all have different strength and spin. GonGon (the macho ape) has the most strength, but can hardly add some spin to the ball, with MeeMee (the girl of the company) it’s the other way around, … Monkey Hockey is a game where you play hockey on a table. You move the round dish over the table to get the ball back to the other side. The last, and second new, Party Game is Monkey Wars. Basically, this is a FPS-clone where you run, uhhh roll, through a maze. During the game, you can view the map on the top screen. There are a lot of weapons, but don’t expect a rifle, shotgun, nailgun, … Oh nooo, you got to throw popcorn, honey, seeds of a watermelon, pie, bananas, pineapple, …
With the exception of some specific modes, you can play every Party Game in multi-card multiplayer. If you only have one card (single-card multiplayer), you can play Monkey Race, Monkey Wars and Monkey Hockey. Luckily, these are the funniest Party Games!
Although there are a few flaws, Super Monkey Ball Touch and Roll sure is a great successor for the successful Super Monkey Ball games from Sega. It’s a game that you, if you have a little bit of time left, play to give that one level another shot. Even the Party Games and especially the multiplayer mode is great fun!