As a child, I bear in mind spending hours taking part in Tremendous Monkey Ball and Tremendous Monkey Ball 2 on the GameCube with my sister. The video games are lighthearted and colourful, have enjoyable single-player and multiplayer modes, and the monkeys really feel like one thing out of a Saturday morning cartoon. I haven’t touched the collection since, and I figured Banana Mania can be the right nostalgia journey for me. Whereas it’s a number of enjoyable, I additionally discovered it surprisingly irritating.

Banana Mania is a remaster of the primary three Tremendous Monkey Ball video games: Tremendous Monkey Ball, Tremendous Monkey Ball 2, and Tremendous Monkey Ball Deluxe. For those who’re not acquainted with the collection, the Monkey Ball video games are largely about rolling monkeys in translucent balls by means of more and more difficult maze-like programs. However as a substitute of controlling the monkey within the ball, you management the course, tilting it to make the monkey ball roll round.

The early levels in Banana Mania’s single-player story strike a pleasant steadiness when it comes to issue. When it looks like you could have simply sufficient management of your monkey because it careens down a slope or over obstacles to get it towards the purpose, the sport is a blast. About midway by means of the story mode, although, Banana Mania grew to become punishingly tough for me. Many levels required a degree of finesse, contact, and a little bit of luck that I typically simply couldn’t obtain, which meant that I usually fell off of a tiny steadiness beam or hurtled off a ramp as a result of I didn’t method it on the proper angle.

A degree from Tremendous Monkey Ball Banana Mania.
Picture: Sega

Fortuitously, Banana Mania affords a helper mode, which doubles the period of time you need to full a degree, drops arrows alongside the optimum path, and allows you to activate gradual movement to have extra management. You’ll be able to entry the helper mode from the pause menu, or the sport will immediate you to show it on should you fall off a stage sufficient instances. It’s, certainly, very useful.

However as I received additional into the sport, I discovered I might typically strive a degree a couple of times earlier than giving up, flipping helper mode on, and transferring by means of the entire thing in gradual movement. Quite a lot of instances, I couldn’t beat a degree even with helper mode, so I’d simply skip it, which you may also do from the pause menu. (Skipping a degree prices some in-game foreign money, although, and should you don’t have sufficient, you’ll should earn extra by means of taking part in different ranges or modes.)

I’m certain there are individuals who will revel within the problem, however Banana Mania was simply too punishing for me. I’ll admit that I used to be stunned by the issue, however possibly I simply forgot about it after years of not taking part in the unique video games. If the later ranges have been too robust for me, they in all probability received’t be straightforward for the youthful goal marketplace for which the sport appears to be designed. Although it’s good which you can skip ranges, even when that has an annoying value.

There’s much more to Banana Mania than the difficult single-player, although. There are additionally 12 multiplayer social gathering video games, which embrace issues like bowling, billiards, and golf. (Sure, the beloved Monkey Goal is again, and it’s nonetheless nice.) Most of those video games are straightforward to play, and every enables you to customise some guidelines to your liking. I performed them for a pair hours with my sister and a few household, and we had a blast biking by means of them. Many don’t have an excessive amount of depth, but when we received bored of 1, we’d simply hop into one of many 11 others.

I even have to say one of the crucial charming components of Banana Mania: Sega took a cue from Tremendous Smash Bros. by including various online game icons as playable characters you possibly can unlock or buy as DLC. A lot of them are Sega legends, corresponding to Sonic and Tails and precise Sega consoles, however there are some non-Sega characters as properly, like Sanrio’s Hello Kitty.

Sonic was my favourite character within the sport, however you possibly can’t play as him in multiplayer.
Picture: Sega

I beloved utilizing the non-Monkey Ball characters as I performed by means of the story mode. My favourite was Sonic; rolling round because the blue hedgehog nearly felt like taking part in an prolonged particular degree in a Sonic The Hedgehog sport. You’ll be able to’t play as the additional characters in multiplayer, although, which is disappointing. I’d love to have the ability to play a spherical of Monkey Billiards as Kiryu from Yakuza.

I’m torn by Tremendous Monkey Ball Banana Mania, which feels prefer it affords two very completely different experiences in a single package deal. Most of the multiplayer social gathering video games stay simply as enjoyable as they have been after I performed them as a child, however the single-player didn’t maintain up in fairly the identical manner for me. Usually, it’s fairly enjoyable, however generally the issue can drive me bananas.

Tremendous Monkey Ball Banana Mania launches October fifth, although gamers who purchase the Digital Deluxe model can play it early. The sport can be obtainable on PS5, PS4, Xbox Sequence X / S, Xbox One, Nintendo Change, and Steam.


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