For those who haven’t been paying much attention in recent years, SEGA has had a new puzzle/platforming game that has been quite successful. The series is the Super Monkey Ball series, which is just an odd ball series where you run around mazes as this little monkey. The games have been light hearted, enjoyable, and most of all really engaging. Now SEGA and developers Traveller’s Tales have teamed up to try and give the series a whole new experience in Super Monkey Ball Adventure for the PSP. So how does the game pan out? Read our full review to find out!
For me, the Super Monkey Ball series has been a great example of how simplistic ideas can be turned into great games. The idea of a video game is of course to make for an enjoyable experience, and this series has manages to do that thus far. In Super Monkey Ball Adventure, you can see right out of the gate the developers wanted to bring more to the table. First off there is a much deeper storyline (although still not that deep) than ever before in this game. The basic idea is the main characters of the game must travel through the five different kingdoms of Monearth to bring back happiness once again. To me a story is somewhat optional for a game like this, and after seeing the execution on this game I believe most will agree that they could have left this out.
Previous Super Monkey Ball games have had one goal in mind, and that is to have you go from the start of some crazy maze/puzzle and see if your reflexes were good enough to make it down to the end. Although this is still a part of the game, a lot has changed in this game as well. The game has taken a much "larger" scale than ever before, as you literally will go from one spot to the next, taking on mission after mission. The game now also has a lot of special powers for your monkey ball, which allow you to do some new moves to help you through the puzzle. The special abilities are actually a great idea and something that if implemented correctly would be a great thing. Unfortunately they were not implemented well at all.
The biggest reason these new features don’t work well is that it just doesn’t seem like the developers looked at the big picture. Many times you will be doing a puzzle and it will seem impossible, well chances are it is; without certain abilities. The game gives the user a lot more choice in the matter, but with this choice comes frustration and confusion. Not only are that but there load times in between different locations that really take away from the pace of the game. So to be perfectly honest the whole story mode is extremely disappointing, and one that most will have no need to go all the way through.
Luckily the game is not solely a story-based game, as there are multiplayer mini games and a puzzle mode, which both are great. What is somewhat humorous about this is that the two things that are not new to the series are definitely the two brightest spots the game has. The puzzle mode is just going back to go old fashion Monkey Ball puzzle, and the mini games are just some great short entertaining ways to spend some extra time with the game. Neither are overly complex, and unfortunately they just don’t add enough to help the games overall outlook.
Visually Super Monkey Ball Adventure does have some great upside along with some unfortunate downsides. The game like it has in the past displays some great color on the PSP and manages to keep that same style alive and well. Unfortunately with this much larger world comes a much more need for detail, as the game starts to feel a bit bland at points, and also manages to have some slowdown issues as well. The game isn’t bad looking but has work to get to be in the positive category as well.
What was so great about the previous games unfortunately is hard to find in the main portions of the new Super Monkey Ball Adventure. The story mode was one that if I was not reviewing this game, I would have put down a lot quicker than I did. It is just so frustrating to see a game struggle with so many little issues, and on top of that the game actually plays harder than it was intended to. The outside modes with the original style along with the mini games are good, but not enough to keep the game enjoyable in the long run.
It is really unfortunate to see a game that has had so much success in the past struggle as much as Super Monkey Ball Adventure does on the PSP. Most people who pick up this game I believe are going to be disappointed from start. This is a game that unfortunately has high aspirations, but unfortunately fails to meet gamers’ expectations.
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