Published on June 25th, 2024 | by James Davie

Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble Review (Switch)

Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble Review (Switch) James Davie

Summary: If you fancy a rumble that's not in a jungle, then this latest Super Monkey Ball offering will make you go bananas. There plenty on offer here that'll please returning fans and newcomers alike, with outstanding accessibility options, a lovely smorgasbord of levels spread across diverse and vibrant worlds.


Go bananas!

Time for another round of monkey balling in Super Monkey Ball: Banana Rumble. Can you believe the latest entry marks the franchise’s nineteenth appearance! Last time out, these cheeky monkeys went crazy because they were induced with Banana Mania, but now they look to give the tectonic plates some good shaking with this latest entry. These monkeys don’t know how to calm down, they’re too excitable, but of course that is the essence of the franchise’s moreish Time Attack-based gameplay and the difficulty and finesse that goes along with it, like trying to maneuver  a ship through stormy weather as the waves batter the hulls. The good news is if you enjoyed previous outings of Super Monkey Ball, you’ll find Banana Rumble to be another satisfying slice of hamster ball-steering.

We know the story when it comes to monkeys in videogames-they love and they can’t get enough of bananas. Whether it’s Donkey Kong or the miscreant monkeys from Ape Escape, bananas are primates’ favourite snack, sometimes to an unhealthily obsessive degree. For the monkeys in Super Monkey Ball, they’re on a quest to track down and find a sacred “Legendary Banana,” along with their friend Palette. This of course somehow involves rolling through a bevy of delightfully complex and quirky courses in the hopes the Legendary Banana reveals itself.

Like many simple arcade pleasures, the story of Banana Rumble is straight-ahead for the purposes of providing context. If you’re looking for emotionally-enticing sustenance to go along with them tasty bananas you’ll be disappointed, but if the lack of context doesn’t bother you, you’ll find that you’ll be in for a fruity and satisfying treat.

Banana Rumble carries with it the allure of being a cheerful party game that you can play alone or with friends. The main course is Adventure Mode, where you take on a series of increasingly more difficult stages that throw more and more wrinkles at you. These come in the form of twists, turns, boost pads, moving platforms, spirals, courses that swerve, courses that threaten to bolt you off course, and courses that force you to handle the ball delicately and with deft precision. There are plenty of levels spread across vibrant and meticulously designed stages, where your main objective is to collect as many bananas as you can, along with special golden bananas, often found levitating and twinkling above the ground.

The variety of levels, their vibrancy and their steadily-ramping trickiness is delightful to behold. Super Monkey Ball games have always prided themselves on testing the player’s skill as they attempt to maneuver a monkey in a hamster ball through stages trying to reach the goal, but Banana Rumble has a sweet selection of sometimes devious and sometimes perplexing, but oh-so satisfying courses that always feel manageable and moreish to play.

Adventure mode can be played in either single or co-operative style with up to 4 players taking on a gargantuan 200 stages, which should provide plenty of monkeying around for those who like their party and co-op modes. In terms of minigames, Banana Rumble hits the ground running with a plethora of returning minigames from previous entries like Banana Hunt, Monkey Race and Robot Smash. Disappointingly, there’s a lack of new minigames and there aren’t many besides, but at least up to 16 players can square off in Versus Mode offerings, so that does a bit to make up for the lack.

The raft of new accessibility features are very welcome too. If you find your ball keeps tumbling off course, a pop-up will eventually appear, granting you a gentle reprieve from the demands of the level in the form of Helper Functions. Helper Functions allow you to rewind levels and be guided through stages so you can get used to the lay of the land. The ability to restart checkpoints during stages is another admirable touch, although with the stages being so brief it’s not an imperative accessibility option, but it’s commendable to have nonetheless.

The gradual increase in difficulty of each stage will give you the incentive to play with temporary (and metaphorical) water wings as you acclimate to the stage that’s giving you trouble, which is a welcome addition. Banana Mania wants everybody to embrace and enjoy the cuddly atmosphere and the progressive hill climb of the difficulty that never feels overwhelming and uninviting thanks to the incorporation of these difficulty stabilizers.

The pleasure of playing Banana Rumble is nestled in the taut controls that bridge a very fine gap between controllable and just unpredictable enough enough to provide challenge. What this means is that while you can indeed finesse the ball with relative ease, you need to be mindful of the physics and how much speed and momentum you apply to say a downward descent, and when powering up your monkey ball, the amount of power you choose to initiate. You might see a ramp and think that you’ll zip the finish line with ease by using it, but what with the chasms and the possibility of overshooting the mark so that you find your poor self bowling down an abyss, you’re never quite safe and secure. Banana Rumble rewards precision and quickness in equal measure, and if you can master both, you’ll enjoy the numerous ways the game up-scales its challenge.

If you’ve played previous Super Monkey Ball games, there’s not a whole lot that you haven’t seen before. The modes and options available are very familiar, and series veterans may find this entry doesn’t stand enough apart from its predecessor Banana Mania,  but the new additions and accessibility options are pleasing, showing promising steps towards the future of the franchise.

If you fancy a rumble that’s not in a jungle, then this latest Super Monkey Ball offering will make you go bananas. There plenty on offer here that’ll please returning fans and newcomers alike, with outstanding accessibility options, a lovely smorgasbord of levels spread across diverse and vibrant worlds. Banana Rumble clearly aims to offer plays as pleasing and as enjoyable a monkey-balling experience as they can muster, and while it certainly could do with providing new minigames and a revitalization, what’s here is more than good enough to satiate little monkeys and giant gorillas’ appetite for SEGA’s cherished and lovable Monkey Ball franchise.

About the Author


Back to Top ↑
  • Quick Navigation

  • Advertisement

  • Latest Posts

  • First Look

  • Join us on Facebook