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iPhone app hands-on: <i>Super Monkey Ball</i> (with screenshots)

After a few hours of playing the iPhone version of Super Monkey Ball, CNET's Ben Wilson declares it is as fun as promised.

We've been playing Super Monkey Ball for a few minutes--OK, hours--now, and it's every bit as fun as promised. If you're not familiar with this title, which has been made uber-popular on other gaming platforms, the gameplay is thus: you are one of four monkey characters who happens to reside in a clear sphere. Your goal is to roll around a series of precariously strung platforms into the goal portal. On the iPhone, control is accelerometer-based--simply tilting the device back and forth controls your momentum.

'Super Monkey Ball' is a lot of fun
Super Monkey Ball is a lot of fun iPhone Atlas

Our initial observations:

  • The controls take some serious getting used to, even if you're used to the motion-sensitive Nintendo Wii version of this game. It's very easy to get rolling too fast; we haven't yet mastered exact maneuvers.
  • You can hold your finger on the screen to rapidly start a level during the "fly-in" intro.
  • Tap the timer to pause the game
  • If your iPhone is resting on a flat surface when the level starts, the accelerometer will be at full-forward throttle, and you'll likely fall off the edge.
  • There are five worlds and 110 stages.
  • Like other versions of the game, you must unlock the more difficult setting by completing various stages.
'Super Monkey Ball' uses the iPhone's internal accelerometer
Super Monkey Ball uses the iPhone's internal accelerometer iPhone Atlas

Phone call interaction If you receive a call while playing Super Monkey Ball, play will be interrupted and you will be presented with the traditional "Answer" or "Decline" screen. If you decline the call, Super Monkey Ball will be automatically paused and you can immediately resume and return to play. If, however, you accept the call, Super Monkey Ball will restart and your previous game will be eliminated.