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Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz (PS Vita) review: Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz (PS Vita)

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The Good Classic Monkey Ball levels are nicely challenging
Colourful visuals

The Bad Minigames are dull and often confusing
Multiplayer modes rely on those same minigames
Edit mode doesn't let you create your own courses

The Bottom Line Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz's disappointing collection of minigames can't live up to the standards of classic Monkey Ball gameplay.

5.0 Overall

The beauty of Monkey Ball has always been in its simplicity. Those teetering-on-the-edge, twitchy moments as you coaxed your monkey-filled ball across treacherous platforms, moving obstacles, and gaping chasms were wholly compelling, and a lot of fun to boot. And so they remain in Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz, for the most part. While the standard Monkey Ball challenges are largely well-designed, colourful slices of classic Monkey Ball action, Banana Splitz's other modes are a convoluted, frustrating mess. The minigames range from dull to horribly confusing, giving you little reason to try to compete against others.

The classic Monkey Ball levels are bright and colourful.

It's best to stick to the classic Monkey Ball mode. There, you must guide the cute monkey ball of your choice by tilting platforms with the analogue stick and rolling the ball around a devilishly challenging selection of courses, which are spread across beginner, normal, and advanced difficulty levels. Each course sports a different and wildly colourful theme that sets the tone for the challenges ahead. The beginner levels are bright, palm-tree-infused affairs with wide platforms, simple curves, and easy-to-reach bananas. Normal ushers in dinosaurs and prehistoric objects that try to smash your ball out of the way, while advanced brings the pain with heaps of jumps, holes, and impossibly thin platforms to navigate.

The advanced difficulty level almost errs on the side of being too hard, but there's always a way to make it through each level and towards the goal at the end, even if the solution isn't immediately obvious. That's so long as you stick to the analogue stick controls, though. Trying to complete anything but the easiest of levels with the motion controls is a painful experience--they simply aren't accurate enough, not to mention that it's difficult to see the screen when you're tilting it away from your face to slow your monkey ball down. That lack of precision also makes collecting bananas all the more difficult, which you need to do to earn high scores, or extra lives and continues should you fall off the edge of a platform one to many times.

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