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Parents' Guide to

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania

By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Remaster of classic puzzle racers promotes social play.

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
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Kids say (1 ):

It doesn't quite manage to recapture the magic of the original games, but this remaster is a good way to introduce a classic franchise to a new generation of gamers. Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania isn't a graphical masterpiece. The cartoonish monkeys and balls -- decorated with various outfits and skins once you've collected enough bananas to buy them -- are fine, but the Spartan-looking tracks are pretty dated, even when earned filters are applied. While there's some semblance of a story about a villain potentially wreaking havoc on Monkey Island, making heads or tails of the brief, highly stylized narrative clips that play between sets of levels is difficult. Understanding them is completely unnecessary in order to progress, but it would be nice if they were coherent and entertaining enough to make players want to watch them.

The good news, though, is that all of this falls by the wayside once you begin playing. The intuitive physics and simple controls make it easy for beginners to jump right in, and the wonderful imagination that went into the level design -- waterslide-like spirals, see-saw bars, labyrinthine mazes -- still impresses. It's easy to get sucked in and want to keep playing just one more level. The mini-games are a blast, too, especially if friends join in. The merger of concepts from sports-like golf and soccer with Monkey Ball's familiar visuals and whimsy is a natural fit, and the mini-games are simple enough that players needn't be a master of either the sport or Monkey Ball to have fun and experience some success. It's not a replacement for a brand new game designed to exploit all of the technical marvels and graphical bells and whistles of modern consoles, but Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania is surprisingly fun.

Game Details

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