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Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD is a high-definition remake of the original Nintendo Wii exclusive action platformer title for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch consoles. Players roll through 80 different stages, racing and jumping through winding courses and collecting stray bananas before facing off against Crabuchin and his minions in large boss battles. Combat is cartoonish and mild in nature, generally little more than ramming bad guys with your ball. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content in the game.
What's it about?
Sticking a simian in hamster ball and rolling it around an obstacle course might be one of the stranger concepts in gaming, but SEGA's Super Monkey Ball series still manages to strike a fun chord with gamers of all ages. SUPER MONKEY BALL: BANANA BLITZ HD brings the Wii exclusive entry to a whole new family of consoles, and this time in full, high definition glory. When the intergalactic pirate Captain Crabuchin swoops in from space and snatches up the Golden Banana Bunch, it's up to AiAi and his friends to take to the stars and recover it. You'll roll, jump, and bump your way through eight different worlds, collecting all the tasty bananas you can find before facing off against the different members of Captain Crabuchin's cutthroat crew of ne'er-do-wells. You can also take a break from the planet hopping story, grab a few friends, and compete against each other in one of ten different multiplayer mini-games. Finally, you can show off your monkey ball in a single event or go the distance and prove you're the top banana in a mini-game decathlon.
Is it any good?
It's hard to believe it's been five years since the last Super Monkey Ball game, but AiAi and his crew have returned to consoles with an HD remake of a previous Wii exclusive title. But Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD isn't just a shot for shot remake with an HD coat of paint though. Making the jump from the Wii to the current generation of consoles meant having to lose the motion controls of the original release. This isn't a bad thing though, as the return to analogue controls makes the gameplay much more responsive and precise. And thanks to its HD visual makeover, the game looks sharper and plays smoother than ever before.
While the loss of motion controls is actually a win for the gameplay, it unfortunately means many of the original's mini-games that relied on those controls couldn't make the cut this time around. Worse still, instead of replacing what was cut with some new ways to play with friends, the remake accepts the loss and cuts the total number of mini-games from fifty to a paltry ten. These ten might be some of the better ones from the original collection, but the massive loss makes the party aspect of the multiplayer feel anemic and flat. It doesn't mean that Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD isn't still a blast to play, alone or with friends. It's just light on content and leaves fans hungry for more.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about remakes, reboots, and remasters. What's the appeal of revisiting classic games and reintroducing them to a new audience? What are some of the ways that companies revisit their franchises to appeal to both newer audiences and classic fans?
What are some ways to have healthy, fun competition with friends? What are the traits that define a "good sport"?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Sega of America
- Release date: October 29, 2019
- Genre: Arcade
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Space and Aliens, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Mild Cartoon Violence, Suggestive Themes
- Last updated: October 29, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.