Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Super Monkey Ball: Step and Roll review

Synopsis: Super Monkey Ball: Step and Roll is the second Monkey Ball game for the Nintendo Wii. Brought to you by Sega, this game has few changes then its predecessor, Banana Blitz, but a few that most people would like. So folks, lets get into the “Roll” of things and here is the review.

Praise: This game keeps its tried and true formula of the first Monkey Ball on the Wii. The controls are super tight for the actual arcade game play style of things giving you damn near a 1:1 for when you are playing. In this, you are actually tilting the world, not actually controlling the Ball like in the Monkey Ball games before the Wii. So you are not controlling the momentum of the ball. You hold the Wii-mote in a straight line pointing at the screen, then tilt the controller either left, right, front, or back to control the environment of where you want the monkey to roll. You can chose to sync up the Balance Board and play Monkey ball this way. I highly suggest not, because the game becomes Super Impossible Monkey Ball with this feature. Sega has acknowledged this problem and most levels will have some of the harder obstacle taken out to make the levels somewhat possible. The levels are more open and have wider platforms to traverse. However, that precise environment you were using with the 1:1 ratio, well, that ├╝ber control goes out the window because its not possible with the balance board.

The graphics on this have a nice cartoon feel to them. Sega smoothed out the rough edges of the graphics from Banana Blitz and the graphics have improved. It still, however, moves at a 60 frames per second frame rate. Step and Roll actually goes back to its roots, Silly story line and Boss Battles are no more. Gone, vamoose, poof, disappeared. This game is strictly an arcade style game and just get your monkey to the end of the level and through the finish line in the allotted amount of time. You can chose to pick up the bananas; however they have no real meaning except to give you extra lives for some of the harder levels as the game progresses. The beginning levels, trust me, you will get bored. But they get super hard towards the end. Marathon mode is one of the best, where you just play level after level, no intro, just one to the next. This is my ideal way of playing Monkey Ball.

A sad change from this one is no more mini-games……I’m just messing, it’s Super Monkey Ball, of course there are mini games. However, they did cut back on the amount of mini games from Banana Blitz. Blitz had 50+ Mini games in its library. Step and Roll has 21 games. Some games have carried over from Banana Blitz, flying your monkey through rings to land on an island in the middle of the ocean and a Mario Kart style game are the best ones in my opinion. The luge style game is really fun as well.

Gripes: Well there are some gripes about this game that I feel need to be brought up. If you decide to use the Balance Board, like I said, it becomes, Super Impossible Monkey Ball. The game is super hard and makes it really tough to control. Sega did remove certain obstacles from the level as well as make them bigger, however, I found the Balance Board almost a novelty and gimmick and stopped after trying to maneuver my monkey through the first set of levels. The tight controls are both a blessing and a curse. You can precisely move you monkey through the level; however, you cannot find a true level point. On other platforms, you could always just tilt the joystick in a straight up to move the ball that way; you will not be able to do that on the Wii-Mote. So when you are traversing a small narrow bridge in tight rope fashion, be prepared to fall a lot. Another gripe is that each world consists of ten levels, not a big deal. However, what is a big deal, is when you complete the world, you have to sit through a credit sequence lasting what seems like an eternity, but most likely is only like 5 minutes long, and you CANNOT SKIP IT. Granted you got a little tilt game going on when the credits roll, but that novelty wears out when you have completed the third world.

The mini games are great, don’t get me wrong, but the controls on them are temperamental. Each game opens with giving you the controls and how to move using the motion controls. I found, half the time when I was playing with my daughter, the controls would not work in the fashion it stated, leading to a lot of yelling at the screen and flailing your controller around to get your guy to do what its suppose to do. Even with this, the Mini Games are still the best part of the game, this coming from both me and my ten year old daughter.

Closing Remarks: The game is fun that is true. Anyone who loves this franchise will love this game and anyone who loved the mini games will still love the mini games. The bananas would be more important to pick up if they gave you trophies or such things. This would have greatly added the experience and I feel that Sega really missed out on that part. The controls are precise, Sega did a fantastic job with this, but the Balance Board really feels like an added feature to try to capitalize on the balance board popularity and just does not feel right in this type of game. The graphics are still one of the best parts of this and give a real fun feeling when you play through this game.

Mashbuttons gives Super Monkey Ball: Step and Roll a 7 out of 10.
PSN: Dicegod
360 Tag: Dice2thagod

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