Super Monkey Ball: Step & Roll Wii
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Released on 12/02/2010
With the whole world at your feet, are you ready to roll?
AiAi and all his friends are stepping onto the Wii Balance Board in an all-new party game for the Nintendo Wii. Super Monkey Ball Step & Roll brings back what you love about Super Monkey Ball and promises plenty of surprises around every turn. Get ready for a whole new level of monkey madness as Super Monkey Ball Step & Roll rolls into your living room!
- Step onto the Wii Balance Board or use the Wii Remote for more traditional gameplay
- AiAi, MeeMee, GonGon and Baby, are back for more monkey madness!
- All new mind-blowing puzzle levels to test your skills
- Team up with friends in fantastic multiplayer party games including Seesaw Ball, Red Light/Green Light and Monkey Race.
Super Monkey Ball delighted hardcore and casual gamers when it first appeared on the Gamecube. The concept was simple, yet beautifully executed - roll a ball from one end of a course to a goal line at the other end. Easy!
The hook was that each ball contained one of four adorably cute monkey characters and that instead of controlling the monkey itself, the player was tasked with tilting their environment in order to manipulate the movement of the ball, often resulting in your simian friend taking an unexpected plunge to his death. Presented in Sega's trademark bright colours and sporting a fun soundtrack that didn't detract from the game play it was embraced by gamers young and old with equal enthusiasm. Add to that a series of charming and addictive mini games and Sega had a hit series on their hands.
Step and Roll
Following on from Banana Blitz (released on Wii in 2006) Step & Roll attempts to add new game play mechanics to a tried and tested formula by incorporating use of the balance board and a whole host of new mini games for party play.
As in previous outings, the main game offers a multitude of increasingly difficult environments for your monkey to navigate, aided only by your manipulation of his or her environment. The world is twisted and tilted using subtle movements of the Wii remote and this is generally handled fairly well. The courses have clearly been simplified to compensate for the lack of precision inherent in Wii controls but even with these concessions I sent more than a few monkeys diving from cliff edges to their certain doom!
The player can also tilt the world using their entire body on the Wii balance board. The game play is simplified further for this as it is an incredibly imprecise way to play. Overall use of the balance board felt clumsy and rendered the game unplayable at times. The best way to play this title is definitely still by using the Wii remote although I still pine for the analogue stick controls from the first two games. The ability to have a second player tag along and shoot obstacles out of the path of your monkey makes the usually lonely pursuit of puzzle solving more sociable and this is a welcome addition.
Step & Roll features 21 mini games to play with family and friends or on your own to climb the online leader boards. Again it is possible for one player to use the balance board while up to three others play using Wii remotes but, as mentioned above, this will serve only as a way to handicap the best player in the room (or provide a few giggles for those sitting out).
Unfortunately the selection of games is a bit of a mixed bag, with only a handful proving worth more than a couple of plays. Bizarrely, after a round is completed, players are kicked back to the game selection menu, so you always have to start over. Monkey Race and Monkey Target make a welcome return and are as hilariously fun and competitive as ever but Monkey Bowling and Monkey Golf are conspicuous by their absence. Firefighter and a skipping game amused us briefly but both Ninja Stomp and Battle Pinball were not as exciting as their names suggested.
Picture me rolling
The mini games are clearly aimed at younger players or casual gamers and are very accessible. There is definitely some fun to be had here and the inclusion of a new monkey named Jam (who instructs the player on game controls before each round) means that everyone will be able to jump in and play very quickly.
Super Monkey Ball Step & Roll is a fun puzzle/party game that has clearly been designed for children and families.
It is a charming title but probably won't appeal to devotees of the series as issues with the camera and the omission of classic mini games will leave hardcore gamers wanting more.
+ Watching other people try to use the balance board.
+ More Monkey Ball rolling joy, with plenty of single player levels.
+ Monkey Target!!
- Trying to use the balance board.
- Less is more! 5 excellent mini games would be preferable to 19 average ones.
- No Monkey Golf or Bowling!
Words by: Josie Johnson
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