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Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania Celebrates its 20th Anniversary

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania Game
Courtesy of RGG Studio

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania

Publisher: Sega
Release Date: October 1, 2021
Available as: Digital and Physical

Over 20 Years Of Monkey Business

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is the first original title in the Super Monkey Ball series since Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz was released in 2012. An HD remake of Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz was released for all major platforms in 2019. Its remaster's success prompted the development of a new Super Monkey Ball. Any of this wouldn't be possible without the dedication of RGG Studio behind it. Yes, that RGG Studio. Due to the success of the Judgment and Yakuza series, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has seen a good rapport with Sega.

This would reach higher levels due to RGG Studio's faithful ports of Sega classics. In Yakuza and Judgment, players can play Sega classic titles at Club Sega. Several ports, including Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown, were done by the development studio. Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz HD was seen as one of the company's first "preservation tasks" for Sega. Earlier in 2021, the company revitalized Virtua Fighter 5 with the release of Ultimate Showdown and, with the release of Banana Mania, now revitalized Super Monkey Ball.

super monkey ball gameplay
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania - PlayStation 5 Direct Capture

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania -- A Long Ball Running

Fans of the Super Monkey Ball series will be thrilled to know the game is without any filler. Meaning that from the moment the player enters "Story Mode," they are instantly placed in the Monkey Ball action. The goal of Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz is to get to the goal at each stage by rolling the monkey across the stage. The player isn't controlling the monkey ball directly, but rather tilting the environment and guiding the monkey that way. Through proper use of physics and strategy, players can clear stages in seconds.

Well, players can already clear stages in seconds by default but faster and with steeze. The Super Monkey Ball fandom is concentrated but it's filled with fans whose sole purpose is pushing the game to its limit. It's a common game in speed runs including Games Done Quick. It also houses the most devoted fans, as was the case with Nick Robinson. One of the videos that brought Super Monkey Ball in its recent limelight was his trip to find the announcer for the older titles. This included going to Japan and back...and back again. It's an interesting video and it helped Super Monkey Ball remain a trending topic.

Courtesy of Nick Robinson YouTube

AiAi And The Monkey Crew Brings Guests

One of the major selling points for Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is the plethora of cameo characters included. Advertized on the back of the case is the option for players to 'roll' with Sonic and Tails. What's charming about playing Sonic and Tails is that the bananas they collect are replaced with rings. The rings even make their iconic sounds upon collection, similar to Sonic games.

These were two of many characters featured as guests among the roster, with two extra included in the base game. The other characters were Beat from Jet Set Radio and Kazuma Kiryuu from Yakuza, referring to RGG Studio's legacy.

Players will have to spend in-game currency to unlock the bonus characters as well as other cosmetic items. These items can be fitted on your favorite monkey, from hats, shirts, shoes, and the balls they roll in. As with other Super Monkey Ball games in the past, there are tons of multiplayer mini-games. There are also competitive modes, which include online ranking time-trials and challenge modes separate from story mode.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania Kazuma Kiryu
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania - PlayStation 5 Direct Capture

All Of Your Favorite Stages Return In Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania

By default, the player has access to Story Mode, which revisits some of the levels from previous titles. Players can also try retro courses from Super Monkey Ball 1 and 2 in challenge mode. The stipulations for completing courses are relaxed in comparison, giving the player infinite retries. After several retries, the game will offer an "Easy" mode titled Helper Mode for that particular course. With Helper Mode turned on, players can slow down gameplay and follow a designated path. Using Helper Mode will invalidate mission achievements, so it's best used sparingly.

Other courses including the classic courses from Super Monkey Ball Deluxe are included as bonus purchasable levels. Once again, with in-game currency earned via playing the game, other special modes can be unlocked. These also include the ability to jump, which in a game based on physics, sounds broken. Regardless of how the player tackles the courses, there are hundreds of levels and challenges to keep players enthralled.

sonic monkey ball gameplay
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania - PlayStation 5 Direct Capture

The Definitive Super Monkey Ball Experience

From the days when Super Monkey Ball was sponsored by Dole bananas up until this point, the series has remained consistent over the years. Several outliers such as Super Monkey Ball Adventure attempted to be original, but die-hard fans of the series are easy to please. All Super Monkey Ball fans wish for is, well, their monkies in balls. Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is the first main title in the series for almost a decade and it hasn't skipped a bump. Just be sure that the "bumps" that players skip are the ones that don't end up missing the goal post. (As I've had, far too many times, playing this)

monkey ball story mode
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania - PlayStation 5 Direct Capture

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is available on the PC, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S.

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