Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania game review

Last Updated:

Super Monkey Ball is an addictive game series that was created by Sega all the way back in 2001 for arcades. It thrilled audiences with inventive level design and strong ideas that naturally pushed audiences towards the ‘just one more go’ mentality.

Monkey Ball was arcade fun at it’s purest, with high score competitions being the priority. When a home console port was released for the Nintendo GameCube shortly after the untimely demise of the Sega Dreamcast, people were excited — it was one of the first signs that Sega would still make new fun things without making their own hardware. The game was a smash hit, and led to a barrage of sequels for every game machine the Japanese company could make one for. 

After Super Monkey Ball Deluxe, the original creators basically left the series behind to focus on telling heartfelt stories about a criminal with an honorable soul in Kamurocho. It was then that the series quality started to fall, until AiAi and his monkey friends were all but forgotten, relegated to the confines of crossover kart racing games alongside the likes of the Bonanza Bros and Shenmue’s Ryo Hazuki.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania brings back the beloved Super Monkey Ball arcade gameplay for modern console audiences, while also continuing Sega’s streak of not releasing a brand new entry in the series since 2012’s Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz on the PlayStation Vita. It’s a remake of Super Monkey Ball Deluxe, which was an enhanced compilation of Super Monkey Ball 1 and 2 for the PlayStation 2 and the original Xbox. 

While Sega has added several much needed quality of life features to Super Monkey Ball Deluxe, it also changes many things about it. Are those changes for the worse, or do they make this Super Monkey Ball Deluxe Deluxe? Let’s get into it.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania performance

I was impressed with the performance of Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania, and even was pleased that RGG Studios went the extra mile and made a native version for Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5. Much like 2019’s Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD, the game has been remade in the Unity Engine, which is far more graphically capable than previous engines that have been used for most entries in the series, so the game is very pretty comparatively.

One of the nicest things about this port is that the engine and graphics are very scalable, so the game runs just as well on Nintendo Switch as it does on Xbox Series X/S — at least in single player modes. If you’re in split-screen multiplayer then you’ll see the frame rate and resolution lowered on weaker machines.  

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania gameplay

Banana Mania has all of the elements of a typical Super Monkey Ball experience, with monkeys in gachapon balls rolling through levels and collecting bananas on their way to goals. These levels steadily increase in difficulty, as you’d expect. 

Arcade style lives are gone, which definitely adds to Super Monkey Ball’s replayability. Get enough failures on any level and you’ll get offered the Auto Helper feature that will double your time and help keep you on track to the end of the level, but if you do take advantage of that then you won’t unlock an additional stage for the Challenge Mode.

The more I played Banana Mania, the more I felt unsure if the movement was 1:1 with the OG Super Monkey Ball games it is based on. It didn’t quite feel right. Fans that are more dedicated than me on Twitter explained that the game uses a square input gate instead of a circle input gate, which means that my stick inputs had to travel further to do what I used to be able to do with ease, which obviously made the control feel off. Apparently you can only change it on PC, which doesn’t help me while I’m playing on the Xbox SX. 

I also felt like I was wrestling with the new camera more often than the old one, which isn’t something you want to be doing at all — especially in a fast paced game where you’re rolling a marble around on moving platforms and slopes. 

Along with the remade level content from Super Monkey Ball 1, 2 and Deluxe, there’s a selection of classic SMB party games that you can play against computer opponents or your real life friends. Sadly, I had several crashes while trying to load into them. When I did get in, the game physics weren’t correct. This was especially noticeable in fan-favorite minigames like Monkey Target.

Super Monkey Ball: Like a Dragon

In a very ‘modern RGG Studios’ move, there are in-game challenges that you can complete to get coins for the shop. Both the implementation and the menu for it reminded me of  a Yakuza game’s completion list. Thankfully, in this case, they’ve left out Monkey Shogi.

It’s nice that Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania acknowledges your records on some of the in-game screens, but it’d probably be better if it showed and compared your record times against friends times after finishing a level. The game in general could use a little bit more integrated asymmetrical multiplayer, perhaps further spotlighting the leaderboards and maybe even adding friend ghosts that you can race against in time trials.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania story mode

The Story Mode from SMB2 is here, except the previously very charming cutscenes have been replaced with dull motion comics that no longer include any of the actual dialogue. It’s nice the mode is here, but the presentation is honestly just worse than before. 

As for the Story Mode levels themselves, they’re largely the same as the levels from Super Monkey Ball 2’s Challenge Mode anyway. You only really need to play one or the other, unless you’re really bothered about going for a 100% completion rate. 

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania character customization

Banana Mania has a shop where you can unlock characters, modes and outfit customization pieces for the various playable monkeys. Monkey characters from later games in the series can be found here, alongside several guest character cameos among the unlockable roster, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Tails the Fox, Kazuma Kiryu and Beat from other Sega franchises. 

This unlockable roster can be expanded even further with DLC, bringing in not only playable classic Sega console systems themselves but characters from further afield like Hello Kitty and Suezo from Monster Rancher.

It seems like there might’ve been a Sega mandate in place on certain features this year, as the Sonic Forces style customization pieces and their menu are a lot like a similar feature in Sonic Colors Ultimate. If I’m honest I’d much rather the effort had gone into adding Majima or Ichiban from Yakuza or something, as I was far more likely to use extra characters over the option to put AiAi in a hat.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania music

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania has a redone soundtrack, which is fairly good. It never really made me feel anything, but then again I can’t really say the original did either. If you’re a fan of the original Super Monkey Ball Deluxe soundtrack, there’s an option to Switch to it after the purchase of a “Classic Soundtrack DLC” pack that costs $4.99. I assume this is a licensing thing, as otherwise it just comes off as a bit money hungry.

While discussing the music, I should point out that I’m sad that Banana Mania’s theme song “Hello Banana!” was changed in the west, as in Japan it has lyrics performed by Banana Fritters (a band made up of series voice actors Koichi Yamadera, Noriko Hidaka, and Toshihiko Seki) and Super Monkey Ball series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi. 

The English version of the song is fine, but lacks the same emotional attachment to the series you can hear in the voices of the original. Having now heard both versions after the Japanese one was shared online, I feel a bit frustrated that there’s no option to switch to the obviously superior one at all in my copy of the game. 

In conclusion

I’m glad that RGG Studios took the time to make Banana Mania, but I do wonder if the changes to the controls and physics take it too far from where it started out for the game to be that good of a redo. At the end of the day it is still a remaster of a better game than last time, when they polished up Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz for the Wii, but it’s still not what I’d really like, which is a brand-new Super Monkey Ball game. 

For those new to the series, or those who are unfamiliar with Super Monkey Ball in general, or even those who have forgotten what it was like — it’s a great version of a classic, don’t get me wrong. There’s plenty of fun to be had here. It’s probably not the version I’ll go back to in the future when I get nostalgic for the times I’ve rolled monkeys around mazes in plastic prize balls in the past, but there’s still value in Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania’s very existence. 

You May Like Also

  • Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $500
  • Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $800
  • Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $1000
  • Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $1500
  • Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $2000
  • Best RTX 3060 & 3060 Ti Prebuilt Gaming PC in 2022
  • Best RTX 3070 Prebuilt Gaming PC In 2022
  • Best RTX 3080 Prebuilt Gaming PC In 2022
  • Best RTX 3080 Ti Prebuilt Gaming PC in 2022
  • Best RTX 3090 Prebuilt Gaming PC in 2022
  • Best Gaming PC Under $300
  • Best Gaming PC Under $400
  • Best Gaming PC Under $500
  • Best Gaming PC Under $600
  • Best Gaming PC Under $700
  • Best Gaming PC Under $800
  • Best Gaming PC Under $1000
  • Best Gaming PC Under $1500
  • Best Gaming PC Under $2000
  • Best Gaming PC Under $3000
  • Best Gaming PC Under $5000
  • Best Gaming PC for Warzone
  • Alienware Desktop Gaming PC
  • How To Benchmark Your Gaming PC
  • 144Hz & 165Hz Gaming Laptops
  • Gaming Laptop Under $1000
  • Gaming Laptop Under $1500
  • Gaming Laptop Under $2000
  • Gaming Laptop Under $2500
  • ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022)
  • Razer Blade Pro 17 1080p 360Hz (2021)
  • Razer Blade 14 1440p 165Hz (2021)
  • XMG Neo 15 E21 / Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 (2021)
  • XMG Neo 15 E22 / Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 (2022) & OASIS Liquid Cooling Review
  • Best Laptops For Animation
  • Best Laptop For Video Editing
  • Best Laptop Table & Laptop Tray
  • AMD Ryzen 6000 Series Laptop
  • Dell Laptop Docking Station
  • HP Laptop Docking Station
  • How To Delete Apps On Chromebook
  • How To Turn Off Caps Lock On Chromebook
  • Chromebook Won’t Turn On?
  • How To Connect AirPods To Chromebook
  • Friday Night Funkin Chromebook Installation Guide
  • How To Screen Record On Chromebook
  • How To Restart Chromebook Devices
  • How To Copy and Paste On Chromebook
  • How To Screenshot On Chromebook Devices
  • How To Right Click On A Chromebook
  • Auto Clicker for Chromebook Devices
  • Best Intel 11th Gen Motherboard
  • Best Intel 12th Gen Motherboard
  • Best HDMI 2.1 Gaming Monitor
  • Best Ultrawide Gaming Monitor
  • Best 144hz Gaming Monitor
  • Best Cheap 144Hz Gaming Monitor
  • Best 240hz Gaming Monitor
  • Best Monitor Size for Gaming
  • Best Console Gaming Monitor
  • Best Xbox Series X Gaming Monitor
  • Best Monitor for Xbox Series S
  • Best Gaming Chair under $300
  • Best Gaming Chair under $200
  • Best Gaming Chair under $100
  • Best Console Gaming Chair
  • Best Gaming Keyboard under $100
  • Best Wireless Mechanical Keyboards
  • Best Gaming Keyboard under $50
  • Keyboard & Mouse Combo Xbox
  • Keyboard & Mouse Combo Playstation
  • Best Keyboad & Mouse Combo PC
  • Best Wireless Gaming Mouse
  • Best Gaming Mouse under $50
  • Best Gaming Mouse under $30
  • Best Wireless Gaming Headset
  • Best Gaming Headset under $100
  • Best Gaming Headset under $50
  • Best Ethernet Cable for Gaming
  • Genshin Impact Characters
  • Lost Ark Review in Progress
  • Kingdom of The Dead Review
  • Yugioh Master Duel Review
  • Pokémon Legends: Arceus Review
  • FNAF Security Breach Game Review
  • Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker Game Review
  • Halo Infinite Game Review
  • Halo Infinite Multiplayer Game Review
  • Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Review
  • Call of Duty: Vanguard Game Review
  • Forza Horizon 5 Game Review
  • Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania Game Review
  • Tales of Arise Game Review
  • Age of Empires IV Game Review
  • Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl Game Review
  • Sonic Colors Ultimate Game Review
  • Total War Warhammer 3 Faction Tier List
  • Yugioh Master Duel Deck Tier List
  • How To Reduce CPU Temperatures
  • How To Stress Test Your CPU
  • How to Overclock Your CPU
  • How to Update CPU Drivers
  • How to Use AMD Ryzen Master
  • 12900K vs 11900K vs 10900K
  • Thermal Grease Vs Paste Vs Pads
  • Nvidia RTX 4000 Series: All We Know About Lovelace GPUs
  • Why Are Graphics Cards So Expensive?
  • What Is a GPU Stress Test, and Which Ones Are Best?
  • Gigabyte RTX 3080 Ti Gaming OC 12G
  • RX 6900 XT vs RTX 3080 Ti
  • ASUS ROG Strix RTX 3080 12GB
  • Gigabyte RTX 3080 Ti Gaming OC 12G
  • Gigabyte RTX 3080 Gaming OC 10G
  • ASUS TUF AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT
  • Sapphire Pulse AMD Radeon RX 6600
  • Best Intel 11th Gen Motherboard
  • Best Intel 12th Gen Motherboard
  • Motherboard Manufacturing
  • How To Check Your Motherboard
  • How to Update Your Motherboard BIOS
  • How to Enter Motherboard BIOS
  • B560 vs Z590 Motherboards
  • B560 vs B460 Motherboards
  • CPU Fan vs CPU Fan OPT Headers
  • Best Ethernet Cable for Gaming
  • Internet Speed For Gaming
  • What Power Supply Do I Have?
  • Full vs Semi vs Non Modular PSU
  • Is Liquid Cooling Worth It
  • Best HDMI 2.1 Gaming Monitor
  • Best Ultrawide Gaming Monitor
  • Best 144hz Gaming Monitor
  • Best 240hz Gaming Monitor
  • Best Monitor Size for Gaming
  • Best Console Gaming Monitor
  • Best Xbox Series X Gaming Monitor
  • Best Monitor for Xbox Series S
  • How To Change Monitor Refresh Rate
  • How To Overclock Your Monitor
  • How To Use Laptop as Monitor
  • How to Clean a Monitor Screen
  • What to Look for in a Gaming Monitor
  • G-Sync vs G-Sync Compatible
  • 60Hz vs 120Hz vs 144Hz vs 240Hz
  • Best Gaming Chair under $300
  • Best Gaming Chair under $200
  • Best Gaming Chair under $100
  • Best Console Gaming Chair
  • Noblechairs Epic Copper Edition
  • EwinRacing Flash XL Series
  • Secretlab Titan EVO 2022 Series
  • Are Gaming Chairs Worth It?
  • Gaming Chair vs Office Chair
  • A Console-Lover’s Beginners Guide To PC Gaming
  • Best Gaming Keyboard under $100
  • Best Wireless Mechanical Keyboards
  • Best Gaming Keyboard under $50
  • Keyboard & Mouse Combo Xbox
  • Keyboard & Mouse Combo Playstation
  • Best Keyboad & Mouse Combo PC
  • ASUS ROG Strix Flare II Animate
  • Varmilo MA87M Beijing Opera
  • Corsair K70 MK2 Low Profile
  • Ducky 'Year of the Dog' RGB
  • Mechanical Switches Guide
  • What is a Mechanical Keyboard?
  • Best Wireless Gaming Headset
  • Best Gaming Headset under $100
  • Best Gaming Headset under $50
  • Best Wireless Gaming Mouse
  • Best Gaming Mouse under $50
  • Best Gaming Mouse under $30
  • Razer Viper Ultimate vs G Pro Wireles
  • SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless
  • How To Enable TPM 2.0 In BIOS for Windows 11
  • Windows 11 Home Vs Pro: What Are The Differences?
  • What is Vulkan RunTime Libraries?
  • How To Optimise Windows 10 For Gaming
  • How To Check Computer Specs
  • Best Gaming Streaming Services
  • Best Free Antivirus Software
  • Best Operating System for Gaming
  • How To Use MSI Afterburner
  • How To Update Gigabyte BIOS
  • How To Reduce CPU Temperatures
  • How To Stress Test Your CPU
  • How To Stress Test Your GPU
  • How To Lower GPU Temperatures
  • How To Check Your Motherboard
  • AM5 Socket: Everything We Know
  • How To Apply Thermal Paste
  • How To Change Monitor Refresh Rate
  • How To Overclock Your Monitor
  • How To Use Laptop as Monitor
  • PC Component Compatibility
  • How To Use Anti Static Wrist Strap
  • How To Tell If your PC Can Run A Game
  • How To Check Computer Specs
  • How To Use Xbox S/X Controller on PC
  • How To Use a Keyboard and Mouse Xbox
  • How To Use PS5 Controller on a PC
  • How To Use a Keyboard and Mouse PS4
  • How To Use PS4 Controller on PC
  • How To Use PS3 Controller on PC
  • How To Use MSI Afterburner
  • How To Update Gigabyte BIOS
  • How To Add Roles in Discord
  • How To Stop Discord Opening
  • How To Report Discord Server
  • How To Block Ads on Twitch
  • How To Change Twitch Name
  • How To Get Bits on Twitch
  • How To Appear Offline on Steam
  • How To Unhide Games on Steam
  • How To Install a DLC on Steam
  • How To Share Games on Steam
  • How To Fix Steam Slow Download
  • How To Find Your Steam ID
  • How To Uninstall Epic Games Launcher
  • Epic Games Launcher Not Working?
  • Where Does Epic Games Install Games?
  • How To Delete Epic Games Account
  • How To Unlink Epic Games Account
  • Sytem Requirements - Games
  • Forza 4 Horizon System Requirements
  • Battlefield 2042 System Requirements
  • Fortnite System Requirements
  • CS GO System Requirements
  • Cyberpunk 2077 System Requirements
  • Minecraft System Requirements
  • League Of Legends System Requirements
  • Escape From Tarkov System Requirements
  • Valorant System Requirements
  • GTA V System Requirements
  • DOTA 2 System Requirements
  • Adobe Photoshop System Requirements
  • Adobe Premiere Pro System Requirements
  • Windows 10 System Requirements
  • Windows 7 System Requirements
  • Adobe Creative Cloud System Requirements
  • Computer Gaming and Wellbeing
  • Video Game Industry Statistics
  • Video Gaming Monetization Statistics
  • Gaming Video Content Market Statistics
  • Gamer - Audiences, Behaviour, preferences & Time Spent
  • Console Gaming Statistics
  • Esports Gaming Statistics
  • Rise Of Microtransactions
  • Nintendo Switch Prime Day Deals
  • Video Game Prime Day Deals
  • Computer Black Friday Deals
  • Gaming PC Black Friday Deals
  • Laptop Black Friday Deals
  • Motherboard Black Friday Deals
  • Gaming Mice Black Friday Deals
  • Gaming Desk Black Friday Deals
  • Gaming Headset Black Friday Deals
  • Gaming Chair Black Friday Deals
  • Monitor Black Friday Deals
  • Cyber Monday Gaming PC Deals 2022
  • Cyber Monday Laptop Deals 2022
  • Gaming Laptop Cyber Monday 2022 Deals
  • TV Cyber Monday Deals 2022
  • 55 Inch TV Cyber Monday Deals 2022
  • Gaming Keyboard Cyber Monday Deals
  • Gaming Chair Cyber Monday Deals
  • Cyber Monday VR Deals 2022
  • Secretlab Cyber Monday Deals 2022
  • Alienware Cyber Monday deals 2022
  • Amazon Cyber Monday Deals 2022
  • AMD Cyber Monday Deals 2022
  • Apple Cyber Monday Deals 2022
  • ASUS Cyber Monday Deals 2022
  • Corsair Cyber Monday Deals 2022
  • CyberPowerPC Cyber Monday Deals 2022
  • Samsung Cyber Monday Deals
  • Tales of Arise game review — The stalwart JRPG series enters a new era
  • Age of Empires IV game review — It’s good to be the king
  • Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl game review — A smashing time?
  • Sonic Colors Ultimate game review — Has Sega reached for the stars?
  • Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania
  • Destiny 2 Season 17 is Bringing Yet Another Light Subclass Rework
  • Genshin Impact Friendship Level – How to Increase and Farm EXP
  • Genshin Impact – Spiral Abyss Guide
  • Lost Ark Fused Leapstones Guide
  • Learn about our review process
  • Evil Dead: The Game – A mostly groovy homage to a classic
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong Review
  • Achilles: Legends Untold Early Access Review
  • Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters Review
  • The Rise of Microtransactions
  • A Brief History of Video Games