Mar 27, 2012
Sega’s franchise about a dystopian future where monkeys must roll around tilting mazes for the amusement of a watching audience is finally on Android. Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition, a port of the iOS release, features 125 perilous levels that must be tilted to get the monkeys through safe and sound, lest they fall to their doom. Thankfully, they have multiple lives, and can earn extra ones by collecting bananas in the levels.
The game’s core conceit is still enjoyable to play with, and still extremely challenging to try and conquer. However, the mini games are still probably the best part of the Super Monkey Ball experience. Monkey Bowling is a fun game of bowling, involving monkeys incased in plastic balls. I used to sink a ton of time into the Game Boy Advance Super Monkey Ball Jr. (yes, a Monkey Ball game that controlled with a d-pad. It was actually really good.) and I could see myself doing the same here, though the swipe and tilt controls are a new challenge. Monkey Golf is very challenging in and of itself, but a solid arcade golf game, especially considering that it’s a mini-game part of a larger package. Monkey Target has players flying through the air, then trying to land three balls near the center of a target. It’s fun, and it incorporates the Monkey Ball mechanics the best. Tablets get an exclusive mini-game as well, Monkey Base. This is essentially the classic Warlords game from Atari, but with monkeys in balls, and 4-player support on one device.
The problem with Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition is quite simply that the controls are extremely unwieldy. The tilt controls are all extremely sensitive to the point where minor adjustments are difficult to make. There’s no calibration for angles besides the default one as well. Tilting forward causes awkward viewing angles as well. Drawing a straight line in the minigames where necessary becomes extremely difficult on a phone screen because the game is in landscape orientation. It is much easier on tablets, though the swipe length is rather long.
A game where the controls must constantly be fought with is not very fun. As such, my time with Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition was rather disappointing. The core is still well-done, but for those that check this one out, be prepared to fight the controls.