Super Monkey Ball: Step and Roll

March 16, 2010

Super Monkey Ball is a fresh take on a budding genre, and the included party games are so engaging that it even outpaces the stellar single-player experi…

…Sorry. For a second there, I had a flashback to 2001. Let me try that again:

Super Monkey Ball is a series that started out promising, but has been run into the ground as the genre became increasingly crowded. The party games have gotten so schizophrenic that they don’t crack the top 20 on the Wii, and this Step and Roll‘s Balance Board support isn’t enough to save the fact that we’ve been getting the same single-player game for ten years.

The new Balance Board control is what you would expect, which means that it’s hard. The levels are the same, and they’re hard enough to navigate with standard controls. Anyone who has played Wii Fit‘s games with tilting panels and rolling balls should know how this works, except now it’s almost impossible. It’s frustrating to the point that including remote controls seems almost merciful. The standard control is fine, but it’s just not worth buying another game for. These levels aren’t particularly creative, and they feel generic enough that there’s nothing memorable. 

Minigames have evolved over the past decade, and Super Monkey Ball hasn’t taken any steps forward. On a system with Wario Ware, Wii Sports Resort and even Rayman Raving Rabbids, there’s just no reason to play these. It’s sad, since they were such a delight in the original.

Lots of content has been stripped out of this version. Not only are there half as many minigames, but gone is the jumping mechanic and the periodic boss fight. What content is here is stretched out in a painful way, with all-too-frequent rolling of the credits, and an obnoxious host monkey and no good way to skip him.

Super Monkey Ball was supposed to thrive on the Wii, a console seemingly designed for it, and even a Balance Board game sounded promising. Sega dropped the ball, and they dropped it into the bargain bin. Don’t worry about picking it up.

Score: 1/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.