Super Monkey Ball is a series of arcade-style platform games created by Sega. The gameplay is similar to the famous Marble Madness arcade game, with one important difference: MONKEYS! Oh, and something about tilting the world instead of having direct control of your character. But mostly monkeys.
As mentioned above, the setup is quite similar to Marble Madness, with the player tilting their monkey character through a series of themed worlds. The game's challenge is in the fact that the vast majority of levels have no walls, forcing the player to avoid falling off the edges of the floor. Oh, and a majority of levels feel like they were designed by an insane physics professor.
The series is known for both its cutesy look and the fact that it's essentially the definition of Surprise Difficulty. Think I'm joking? Let's just say that you will never think of the phrase "fall out" in quite the same way ever again.
That's not all, however: Monkey Ball games are known for their famous "party mode," consisting of several mini-games. Said mini-games were very well-done on the GCN versions. The Wii version... more hit or miss, with the developers experimenting with a range of control schemes for the then-new Wiimote.
The list of Super Monkey Ball games is as follows:
- Monkey Ball (The arcade game that started it all.)
- Super Monkey Ball (A Game Cube remake of Monkey Ball. Introduced Party Mode.)
- Super Monkey Ball 2 (Obviously, the sequel to Super Monkey Ball.)
- Super Monkey Ball Deluxe (A remake of Super Monkey Ball and its sequel, for Play Station 2 and Xbox. It also featured a number of original levels.)
- Super Monkey Ball Jr. (The first mobile version, it featured full 3D graphics...on the Game Boy Advance.)
- Super Monkey Ball Touch & Roll (Another attempt at a mobile Monkey Ball, this one on the Nintendo DS. Received mixed reviews.)
- Super Monkey Ball Adventure (A poorly-recieved adventure game with less emphasis on the party and regular modes)
- Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz (A Wii launch title, Banana Blitz featured a new cel-shaded look, motion controls, and tons upon tons of party games.)
- Super Monkey Ball iPhone (retains the look and motion controls of Banana Blitz, using the iPhone's tilt motions. It's gotten mixed reviews.)
- Super Monkey Ball Step and Roll (Another Wii game, using the Balance Board this time.)
- Super Monkey Ball 3DS
- Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz (PS Vita)
- Also, the Monkey Ball appearances in all three Sega Superstars games; Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing is particulary notorious for the Monkey Ball tracks having the same difficulty as the series they're based on.
This game features examples of these tropes:
- Announcer Chatter: "FALL OUT! FALL OUT! FALL OUT! CONTINUE? FALL OUT!..."
- Attack Its Weak Point: Every boss in Banana Blitz. Notable is the final boss, which you attack its butt For Massive Damage.
- Battle Tops: An early stage of Super Monkey Ball 2 is called "Spinning Top." The sole obstacle in this stage is a humongous top that knocks the monkey completely off the stage if touched due to its spinning. The goal ring is located dangerously close to where it spins, and 1-up yielding bananas are hung from its edge.
- Bottomless Pits: While not technically bottomless, the levels are basically floating in one.
- Camera Screw: The camera follows the direction the monkey's rolling, which is great in some stages, and makes others almost impossible without very precise control over your ball.
- Cel Shading: This started in Banana Blitz and has been used onward.
- Charged Attack: The multiplayer, sumo-like minigame "Monkey Fight" lets you get by with little rabbit punches or charged up massive blows.
- Difficulty Spike - Happens in every game.
- The first game had a giant difficulty spike between Advanced and Expert, Advanced was easy, while many people would get stuck quickly on Expert mode.
- Super Monkey Ball Step and Roll had a giant spike between worlds 6 and 7, world 6 had a lot of easy stages that aren't too hard, but World 7 will kick your butt.
- 2 ramps it up on Pistons and decides to go nuts once you hit Expert Extra. Conical Slider anyone?
- Everything's Better with Monkeys
- Game Breaking Bug: What is considered the hardest level in Banana Blitz also happens to come with a glitch in which you can fall right through a solid platform near the end. Luckily, this was fixed for the PAL version.
- Guide Dang It: Switch Inferno and Labyrinth in Super Monkey Ball 2.
- There's also the infamous hidden bananas in Banana Blitz, for which said guide hasn't even been finished yet since they're invisible.
- Idiot Ball The story mode of 2 and Deluxe would be over much faster on several occasions if Aiai, Meemee, Baby and Gongon didn't just stand around like idiots with Aiai monologuing in front of Dr Bad-Boon whenever they had the chance and actually all just went straight at him with their magic flying powers. Let's see:
- World 3/Under The Ocean, they let him get away when they finally find him hiding in a sunken ship, then when they finally catch up to him on the surface where he's easily vulnerable they decide to dawdle and let the giant whale coming up behind them time to swallow them up even when they actually realize the whale is behind them they just stand there instead of trying to fly away and leave the whale to just swallow up the doc.
- World 4/Inside A Whale, despite them all being trapped and Dr Bad-Boon having no methods of escape they just leave him be and decide to focus on escaping instead of just dealing with him and THEN escape. There's even a part where HE comes to them offering Meemee a massage and Aiai just decides to put himself between the doc and her instead of actually just knocking him over in his ball.
- World 6/Boiling Pot, after getting inside his base the doc shows up with a very obvious laser gun in his hand which they somehow completely fail to notice and flat out just stand there letting him shrink them with the laser instead of just rushing straight at him before he gets a chance to use the gun!
- World 7/Bubbly Washing Machine, after they tickle Bad-Boon when inside his clothes getting him to return to normal size they once again just stand there and let him run away!
- Jack of All Stats:AiAi falls under this in Banana Blitz.
- Marathon Level: Ultimate mode in Deluxe.
- Nintendo Hard: Yes, it looks cutesy, but it will kick your ass the first time you play it. And the second time. And the third time...
- Product Placement: In earlier games, all the bananas had Dole labels.
- Comes full circle now that, as of late, Sega is advertizing Step 'n Roll on Chiquita bananas and vice-versa.
- Scenery Porn: Exaggerated in 2. Considering that Amusement Vision worked on F-Zero GX after 2, it's no surprise.
- Schizophrenic Difficulty
- Shifting Sand Land: Detrius Desert from Banana Blitz is this to the letter.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Banana Blitz has the bizarrely-titled world of Smooth Sherbert, which fits this perfectly. (Except for the ice, thank God. Super Monkey Ball with slippery ice levels would have made people angry enough to kill.)
- Womb Level: The Inside The Whale world in 2, although it looks really nice.
- Looking at the scenery, this whale swallowed the freakin Empire State Building whole.
- Still, the dark blue inside of the whale and splashing ocean water below is much more pleasant than the squicky red of many levels like this.