Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Top Five Super Monkey Ball Games

With the recent official announcement of Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC later this year, SuperPhillip Central is in the mood for some monkey business. Make that some Super Monkey Ball business with the best entries in the long-running arcade-style series. It's time to go bananas.

5) Super Monkey Ball 3D (3DS)

Imagine, if you will, a Super Monkey Ball game that launched with the Nintendo 3DS that eased you into the game and let you essentially play with training wheels on. Sounds typical of a Super Monkey Ball game, yes? I mean, the first world or so usually always has few ways to truly fail them in an overly simple fashion. However, what if there was a Super Monkey Ball game that pretty much left those training wheels on for the duration of its adventure? Enter Super Monkey Ball 3D. While the game has some fun features to it, plays well enough (save for the dreadful collection of mini-games), and has an okay amount of content, Super Monkey Ball 3D is hardly a standout game in the series, but at least it's better than the entries that didn't make this list, right?

4) Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz (Wii)

Super Monkey Ball is a series that was synonymous with releasing as a launch game for a Nintendo system. It worked out that way with the Nintendo Wii with Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz. This entry introduced motion controls and a jump mechanic to the series. Seeing how this wasn't implemented in pretty much any other Super Monkey Ball game, it's pretty clear to see that this wasn't too well received. That said, Banana Blitz offered a creative concoction of crafty levels to play through, sported some enjoyable boss battles (for the most part), and has without a doubt my favorite soundtrack in the franchise. With the recent remaster announced (and again, one of the main reasons why this list is even on SuperPhillip Central to begin with), it'll be interesting to see if the issues players had with the original Banana Blitz will be remedied.

3) Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz (PSV)

The only Super Monkey Ball game that was exclusive to a PlayStation platform, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz returned to the familiar formula of the Super Monkey Ball series. It was as simple as rolling your chosen monkey in a ball through increasingly more difficult courses without worries of using motion sensing technology or a jump mechanic. However, like every Super Monkey Ball game after Super Monkey Ball 1 and 2, Banana Splitz had its fair share of problems, too. For one, the game was insanely difficult--and the fact that lives and continues were hard or near impossible to obtain meant that it was a breeze to get a game over once you reached the ridiculously challenging and close to unfair later levels. Add that to mini-games that shoehorned in the PlayStation Vita's various functionality to poor effect, and you have a Super Monkey Ball game that had potential but failed to truly delight.

2) Super Monkey Ball Jr. (GBA)

Super Monkey Ball Jr. is special for being one of the sole entries in the franchise made by a Western studio--of course, with the original development team supervising. It's also one of the only Game Boy Advance games that used the system's 3D graphic capabilities, and doing so in a dazzling display--for the time and for the hardware power of the system in general. While many of the stages in Super Monkey Ball Jr. were lifted directly from the original Super Monkey Ball, having the ability to play a miniature version of the game on a system that could fit in your pocket was extraordinary back in the day. Not only this, but the actual game played well and showed that the series had great potential in portable form. ...Unrealized potential--but potential in portable form nonetheless!

1) Super Monkey Ball Deluxe (PS2, XBX)

Rather than select the original Super Monkey Ball that released with the Nintendo GameCube or its sequel, I'm opting to cheese things a bit and include Super Monkey Ball Deluxe on this list--and making it number one here as well. It contains all of the best parts of Super Monkey Ball 1 and 2, with all of its glorious, delectable content and stages, but it also features dozens upon dozens of wholly original and exclusive stages to the Deluxe version. Super Monkey Ball Deluxe brought the series to the greatest heights it has ever been at, and combining two of the best Super Monkey Ball games as the number one pick on this list of best SMB games might be a bit cheap--just like some of those Master level stages in the game--but I did it anyway!

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