Super Monkey Ball


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Date Created: 2010-09-08
Date Modified: 2010-09-08


Platform: GameCube
Release Year: 2002
Publisher: Atari
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Amazon Link: Buy from Amazon.com


Super Monkey Ball does exactly what it says on the box: it features a monkey, in a ball, and it is absolutely super. This rather odd game is similar to the classic Marble Madness, except that instead of controlling a marble through a maze-like course you control the course and must tilt and rotate it to get the cheeky little simian to the exit.

Ironically, the Gamecube's best launch game is also its least impressive graphically. It's not ugly, by any means, but the graphics are mostly purely functional and subservient to the gameplay. It may sound simple and repetitive but Super Monkey Ball is pretty much the dictionary definition of addictive, perfectly balancing the intense frustration at failing to complete a course with the absolute desire to have "just one more go". To make matters worse the later courses are so fiendishly difficult it' s as if Beelzebub himself has risen up from hell and designed a puzzle game.

The single player mode is maddeningly addictive, but it's the four-player larks, either on the standard puzzle courses or through a bunch of wacky mini-games including monkey bowling and monkey fight, that mark Super Monkey Ball as a true gaming classic. Its lack of showy graphics may unfairly limit it to cult status--just make sure you're part of the cult.--David Jenkins