Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble Preview – Full of Joy & Ambition

    A guaranteed fun time.

    Super Monkey Ball is one of SEGA’s most fun properties. The series doesn’t take itself too seriously, letting you roll around these massive stages as a monkey inside a ball. Coming from RGG Studio, the series is almost a complete 180 from the studio’s namesake series, Like a Dragon. While the series has mostly been quiet in recent years outside of remasters, SEGA announced Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble earlier this year.

    As the first new Monkey Ball title in over 10 years, I wondered how the team would create an experience that not only respected its roots but innovated and brought new ideas to the table. At Summer Game Fest, I had the opportunity to preview Banana Rumble before its release later this month. I’m happy to share that Banana Rumble feels like an excellent evolution of the series with loads of fun new ideas.

    Right off the bat, Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble feels like a labor of love. It’s clear that this game has the highest production value in the series, with cutscenes appearing for the first time alongside over 300 items to customize your monkey with. Banana Rumble features two main modes: Adventure Mode and Multiplayer Mode.

    Adventure Mode features 200 brand-new stages to complete as you work your way through the main story of the game. This is where these cutscenes come in, as the characters interact frequently with one another as the story of Banana Rumble unfolds. Chasing after the legendary Banana, you can play with up to four players together in Adventure Mode and embrace the chaos. 

    I got the chance to see some of the areas of Adventure Mode, and it looks massive. There are different worlds that have stages, so you will travel through different themed courses as the story progresses. I was also impressed with the cutscenes and story, as they are legitimate and have lots of dialogue between the main characters.

    Each of the story stages offers different missions you can complete, so completionists will have a ball as they roll to earn 100%. SEGA and RGG Studio have even implemented in-game achievements for Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble, so you can earn rewards and trophies despite the Nintendo Switch not having an achievement system. 

    Multiplayer Mode has all sorts of fun ways for you to play with up to 16 players. You can choose from Banana Hunt, Goal Rush, Ba-Boom, Robot Smash, and Race in this mode. Each of these offers chaotic fun like never before since this is the first entry in the series to support 16-player multiplayer. I got to test out three of these modes, and they were each a blast.

    Banana Hunt had me chase to collect as many bananas as possible on a small course before time was up. I had to knock away other monkey balls and attempt to rake in as many bananas as possible. As the mode progressed, items like lasers began to spawn on the map, opening up a new level of challenge. Robot Smash was also a great time, reminding me of certain minigames from Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. I’m excited to see what else lies in store with the rest of the multiplayer content.

    The new Spin Dash is incredibly fun to use and brings a new level to the controls of traditional Super Monkey Ball with the charge-up. It’s great for controlling your momentum and flinging yourself back onto the stage if you’re about to fall off. I came away really impressed with the ambition of this release, as it’s not always a given that series revivals offer a plethora of new content like this. The team has poured so much love into this game in every area, and from talking with SEGA, it sounds like there are plans for loads of post-launch support.

    People often have concerns about how games run on Switch, but there is no need to worry here. While the game certainly wasn’t running at an extra-crisp 4K, it looks and feels great on Switch, with a smooth experience across the board. Despite 15 other players racing against me across massive stages, I did not notice any frame drops or major resolution dips.  

    Overall, I’m so excited for fans to get their hands on Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble. This really does feel like a massive return for the series, and fan support will determine whether or not the game heads to other platforms like PlayStation 5 or PC. I’m looking forward to checking out the game myself later this month and completing the hundreds of stages available.

    On Nintendo Switch, Super Monkey Ball feels right at home. Its party-style nature makes it perfect for playing with friends and family alike, and if the rest of the game is anything like my preview, I can easily see it being a smash hit within these demographics. This game is so fun and has the potential to be the life of any party. As silly as it sounds, I had so much fun playing Banana Rumble during my preview session, and I think that’s all you can ask for from a game.

    Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble launches on June 25 for Nintendo Switch.

    Noah Hunter
    Noah Hunter
    Noah is Final Weapon’s Editor-in-Chief. He co-founded the website in June 2019 and has been writing for it ever since. In total, he has over five years of writing experience across many publications, including IGN Entertainment. His favorite series include Xeno and Final Fantasy.

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