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Old 02-26-2006, 10:36 PM   #1023
Joe Redifer
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 20,140
Super Monkey Ball: Touch & Roll
Nintendo DS

You may wanna pass this game up. Read on.

Instead of making a real Super Monkey Ball 3, Sega has decided to do crappy ports and offshoots. Just like we'll probably never see another real Shenmue, a real Super Monkey Ball 3 seems unlikely at this point, so we must take all of the scraps we can get. The DS version is one such scrap in which you can use the touch screen to control the game. Yee ha.

The bottom screen is completely useless. The bottom left
icon shows your monkey speed. What the hell good is this?

Graphics: 6/10
Many of the stage designs are stolen from the two previous real Super Monkey Ball games. But instead of the nice checkerboard floor from those games, we get what looks like a 1970's disco floor in some levels. It looks pretty bad. There is light source shadowing on many of the floors and I guess that's good. The monkeys are now simple sprites and are not as animated as they are in the Gamecube versions. It moves at a slower framerate which dos not help the control, and the control needs all the help it can get, believe me. The monkeys are now represented as simplified cartoon characters as well. It looks better and moves more quickly than the GameBoy Advance's Super Monkey Ball Jr, but it's not on par with other DS games.

The original stages in this game are pretty fun and
not too tough. There are only 10 stages per level.

Sound: 3/10
What we have here is probably some of the worst music in any videogame ever. It's really, really bad. You will need to turn the sound all the way down. If you like this music, then you are a horrible human being and deserve to die. I give it three points for the following reasons: #1 - The monkey sound effects are all pretty accurate, though the narrator seems absent. But what good are decent sound effects if the music forces you to play with the sound completely off? #2 - the music in "Ice Lolly Land" is actually almost kind of good. Or perhaps it just seems god compared to the rest? That may be the case. #3 - As bad as it is, it could probably be even worse. The GameBoy Advance version sounds much better in every aspect, and it even had the narrator. Maybe the GBA sound hardware is better than the DS? Definitely not, but Sega seems to think so.

Thankfully you can't hear the music in these pics.

Gameplay: 5/10
At first you'll think this game is pretty good. I did. I was surprised at how well it controlled with the d-pad. You can also try to control it using the touch screen, but only do that if you hate to win. The entire area of the touch screen is used, meaning you need to move the stylus or wrist-strap-thingy all the way across the screen to go from extreme left to extreme right. Quick adjustments are impossible when controlling it this way. The touch screen would have been so much better utilized if the game was played on the bottom screen (it's not) and the touch area was only the size of the actual monkey ball. It would be pretty easy to make minute adjustments with the stylus in that scenario. But Sega didn't ask me, so they failed. We're forced to play with the d-pad for the best control. For the first 60 stages or so, it works out pretty well. There are some rehashed stages from the real Super Monkey Ball games, but they don't present much of a problem. But when you get to "Fluctuation" which is near the end of the Ice Lolly Land area you will come up against a brick wall, and that wall is the game's control. This is the same stage as the Expert Floor 4 in the original Super Monkey Ball, a stage that most everyone can get past easily on the Gamecube. And even though there isn't a lens flare in your face on the DS version, it is impossible to traverse to the goal on the last 1/4 of the stage. This stage has absolutely no business being in here. Super Monkey Ball Jr. on the GBA had some rehashed stages, but they were redesigned so you could complete them with the crappy control. Not here. The DS is simply not capable of the fine control that stages like this demand. The original stages in this game don't pose much of a problem because they seem to be designed with the crappy control in mind. But I have to drop the score quite a bit for this blunder, and you need to beat this stage in order to unlock more. I GUARANTEE that you can't get past this stage. This game gives you a 1up for every 10 bananas you collect, and I've tried this stage well over 60 times with no luck. I usually get there with at least 15 lives in tow. Just to make sure it wasn't me, I tried the original Super Monkey Ball on the Gamecube. I beat this level on the first try and then proceeded to beat the entire Expert mode. The minigames/party games are also here, but they kind of suck. Most require the use of the touch screen to play and they are really half-assed in their presentation. We also get a new staff credits game that is even worse than the one in Super Monkey Ball 2. Not only is it longer than the game itself (it feels to be about 5-10 minutes long AT LEAST), it is boring. I recommend pressing L+R+Start+Select the second the credits start to reset the system. Don't worry, your data will be saved.

You shouldn't fall off in this stage. Whoever is playing
here must be using the crappy touch screen control.

Wrap up:
If you like painful music and stage design that doesn't take into account the horrible control, you will LOVE Super Monkey Ball Touch and Roll. Amazingly this was programmed entirely by the Japanese. What happened?
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