Super Monkey Ball: Touch and Roll Review

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Developer: SEGA Publisher: SEGA
Release Date: February 21, 2006 Also On: None

The Super Monkey Ball series on consoles started back in 2001 when the Nintendo GameCube launched. It became a popular series due to its simple concept and addictive gameplay. After a few titles and even more success with the series, SEGA decided to bring all of the monkey-rolling action to the Nintendo DS. Unfortunately, Super Monkey Ball: Touch and Roll isn’t the best of the series but it’s a fun game that fans will really enjoy on-the-go.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Super Monkey Ball, the game is played entirely using analog control to tilt the in-game level and send a monkey, trapped inside of a ball, across a goal line. The concept is similar to the classic Marble Madness, only the control is put on the level instead of the ball itself. Of course, the levels are usually construed in extremely awkward and difficult ways, offering quite a unique and interesting, not to mention addictive challenge.

With 100 levels total, there’s quite a workload in Super Monkey Ball’s Mission Mode. Each level gets progressively harder, offering new challenges and altered terrain to roll your monkey over. Where an early level will have barriers and walls protecting you from rolling off of the map, later levels will have ramps and pits and all sorts of challenging obstacles. One of the levels that I had the hardest time with wasn’t actually large or drawn-out at all, it was constructed like a roulette table. The trick was to roll your monkey into the hole in the roulette wheel before the wheel struck your ball and sent you flying off-screen. Of course, I died about 10 times before finally accomplishing this.

Though there are 100 levels, a good percentage of them don’t take very long to complete and the game itself could be completed in a couple of hours if you’re an experienced Monkey Ball player. Thankfully, SEGA included some mini-games to spice the package up. Monkey Golf was my personal favorite, allowing you to play mini-golf on all sorts of twisted levels. Monkey Hockey was a fun air hockey-based game, but I thought it was far too difficult to use the stylus and control your paddle.

Visually, Touch and Roll is pretty basic. The levels contain a few specific color schemes and the backgrounds are so stark that I didn’t really notice them. The music is pretty cute, but overall, none of the production values really stood out. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I didn’t care much about what Monkey Ball looked or sounded like because the gameplay and control concept is so original on its own. Touch and Roll is a good package for Monkey Ball fans or newbies like myself, but it’s nothing too fancy. It’s basically just the same thing you’ve enjoyed for years in a handheld format (a first, unless you owned a N-Gage or played the GBA), but there’s nothing wrong with that.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 7
Written by Cliff Review Guide

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