The 'Shroom:Issue XXXIII/Non-Mario Review
Super Monkey Ball is a Nintendo GameCube game released in 2001. It was one of the earlier titles for the system and is the first in a series of ball-rolling, mini-game based video games spanning Super Monkey Ball, Super Monkey Ball 2, Adventure, Touch & Roll and Banana Blitz.
The game has an unusual concept, but is strangely addicting– you play as a monkey encased within a glass ball, and you must roll the ball to the goal at the end of each stage. Sounds simple enough, right? But as you advance, the levels become more complex in structure and have more traps. Some traps are almost inevitable, such as bumpers, which will bounce the ball away, and, if you don't stay in control, will land you in a bottomless pit or knock you right off the course. Stay on your toes and keep your balance, otherwise you'll lose your lives and have to start over again.
You can choose to play the main game, which, as described previously, involves pushing your chimp to the finish line, or join in on several party games, which are great for multiplayer. Among them are Monkey Billiards, Monkey Fight, Monkey Bowling, and Monkey Race. Another nice addition is the ability to choose either Beginner (BE), Advanced (AD), or Expert (EX) for the main mode. While all three modes start out simple, they soon ease you into the difficulty. The courses aren't just the same levels with added traps for harder modes, either; they're brand-new courses for you to clear.
Perhaps the only major problem with Super Monkey Ball is that it can make you nauseous if you play it for long periods of time. The constant shaking of the camera (done so that you can feel like you're really in control of the ball) can cause dizziness to some players, especially older gamers. It's good to take 15-minute or so breaks in between plays.
For its time and even today, the graphics of Super Monkey Ball shine brightly, with a cartoonish touch and impressive visual effects; in the mini-game Monkey Target, for instance, we get a great view of the ocean, which is still beautifully rendered and lifelike in appearance. A lot of the greenery-based settings are very detailed and stylized as well.
The music of Super Monkey Ball is, while nothing earth-shattering, very pleasant and often contributes accurately to the overall "mood" of a stage; fast-paced and upbeat, or mellow and mysterious. Though unfortunately, there is a lack of orchestra in place of digital music.
The game has great variety, and those who like to strive to get top scores on every level will have a hard (but good) time trying to do it with this game. A recommendation for all GameCube owners for its crafty design and originality.
Overall Score: 8.3/10
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