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Super Monkey Ball Touch and Roll Review - DS

6
Gameplay: 6 stars 6
Graphics: 8 stars 8
Audio: 4 stars 4
Multiplayer: 5 stars 5
Innovation: 5 stars 5
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In all the SMB games, you pilot a small ape in a large plastic ball through environments filled with hazards that threaten to push your poor chimp off into an abyss of doom. On top of multiple levels of the adventure mode, there were also a few multiplayer "party" modes that would place your monkey in unusual situations, like tenpin bowling. It was fun. We had all had a laugh, tried to get further in the single player adventure, and then gave up after it all good too hard.

Gameplay



Ahh, Super Monkey Ball. You were so good on consoles, and even on the GBA, but damn it, this DS version is a step backwards. All the frustration from those devilish level designs on the Cube and it's buddies is here, but it's horribly amplified by painful touch control and a shoddy camera system. In the console versions, you controlled your monkey by tilting the environment itself, and gravity does the rest. On the DS, you tilt the world with the stylus, which may seem clever in writing, but man, it sucks in action.

You can't halt your monkey once it starts rolling, so if you're waiting for a platform to arrive, you can't just sit there patiently. You have to constantly tap away to try and keep the damn ball in the same spot, by which point the damn platform has run away again. So you spin around in circles, trying to time it perfectly, only to misjudge and scream off the ledge. You can use the D-pad, but then you sacrifice any precision movement whatsoever.

And then there's the camera. It's all over the place. Every time you try (in vain) to keep your chimp in the same spot, the camera shifts, so you can't see the obstacle in front of you. It spins around, blocks your view, and is entirely out of your control. I must have died the 'Starfish' level over 30 times just because I couldn't properly time my roll into the centre of the puzzle. By that time I was swearing at my DS, and stabbing my stylus into my leg. It's. Really. Annoying.

No, seriously.

So yeah, there are over a hundred of these worlds for the masochistic to run through, but if you're anything like me, you'll get through 30 and then just give up. Yes, the puzzles get harder as you get further on, but that's on top of all the other issues. It's just not worth it. You'll dodge deadly bongo drums that threaten to ricochet you off the edge, and will avoid spinning, dropping and rotating spikes that all do much the same. And there are holes in the later levels that you'll push your balls down so many times it's not funny. Wait... what?

Graphics


The worlds are in nice 3D on the top screen, it runs at a silky-smooth 60fps. Your monkey (and ball) is on the bottom screen, ... (continued next page)