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Review Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz: HD

Discussion in 'Video Games' started by Infernostar, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. Infernostar

    Level 20
    May 4, 2018
    Legendary Triforce ★★
    It's been a long time since I reviewed something, so constructive criticism is appreciated.

    Ever wanted to scream in agony as you repeatedly fail to roll a ball into a goal? No? That's probably for the best.

    But if you do for some reason, you've probably played Super Monkey Ball. The hardest ball-rolling simulator in existence. Full of precision platforming, brutal gimmicks, great music, and pretty visuals, this series holds a special place in my heart.

    So naturally when it was announced that the series would be coming back to consoles with a remake of the 2006 Wii title, Banana Blitz, I was ecstatic. Sure, it wasn't the clearly better 1 or 2 that they chose to remake, but the fact that the series was getting any attention at all by That Company That Only Makes Sonic (Sega), was enough to get me to buy it. But how does the game itself fair? Well let's find out.

    Banana Blitz HD departs from the norm of the series with a few new twists. The most obvious change is the introduction of, of all things, a jump button. Yes, a ball rolling simulator, apparently needed a jump button. It's not even a bad change or anything, its just rather...strange. Another key difference is how they have changed the structure of the games worlds and levels. Instead of a challenge mode with multiple difficulties, All you are given is the game's story mode, which features 8 (technically 10) worlds, with 8 stages a piece, and a boss at the end of each world. Heck, since there isn't a challenge mode anymore, that also means there isn't any multiplayer for the main game. It's 1 player only, which is a shame given how the previous games allowed for up to 4 players to all try their hands at the main games levels.

    In terms of the game being a remake, a number of alterations were made in an attempt to make the game better. First was altering the games control scheme, which originally could only be controlled through tilting the Wiimote. This...kinda sucked honestly, and as a result it feels much better to be able to use just a regular old controller instead. The User Interface was also cleaned up a bit to make it easier to see, but most of the UI isn't really necessary in order to play the game anyway. Minigames were also drastically overhauled, which are a staple of the series. In the original Banana Blitz, there were 50 four-player minigames, and most of them were terrible. Here though, they've cut that number down to just 10 and refined the favorites of the games to make them more interesting. They've even taken the liberty of adding online features and leaderboards for time attacks to give the game a longer livespan. Heck, they even through in Classic Sonic as an unlockable character the first time you beat the story mode, complete with changing all the bananas to rings and the music on the stage select to the Sonic Mania stage select theme.

    So what's the problems? Well, there's a lot. The bosses in this game, all of them, suck. Really, just the idea of trying to add bosses in a ball-rolling game wasn't a good idea on paper in the first place, as all of them are tedious, time consuming, and not exactly fun. The stage design is another major issue with the game. BB was known for making exceptionally longer and more cumbersome stages, many of which are filled with the same type of problem. Decorations with collision, meaning grazing them slightly when you are trying to go fast can send you careening off the stage. In game series that prides itself on repeatedly bashing you over the head with a hammer with its difficulty, having instances of fake difficulty like this really grinds my gears. What's even worse, is the remake also botched one of the best parts of the original game, the soundtrack. Nearly every track in the game had to be replaced due to licensing issues, and most of the tracks are just rehashed from the previous games. Not that the old tracks are bad, but they are the same things I've heard for years now. Lastly, the lack of any multiplayer outside of the minigames does hut this game a lot, especially the non-existent attempt at maybe doing online multiplayer for the story mode levels. This could have been a great opportunity to do something along those lines, but they completely missed that chance.

    Overall BB HD comes out slightly better than the original did. The only problem is, the original BB wasn't a very great game to begin with. If they really wanted to get people back into and excited about Super Monkey Ball, they should have remade the fan favorite titles, 1, 2, even Deluxe, as all three are better games with more replay value. This remake isn't bad, but it is far from as good as it could have been.

    Final Score: 7/10. It's not bad, but it's not exactly great.

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