Super Monkey Ball
2001 Amusement Vision / SEGA

What happens when an evil monkey decides to steal all your bananas? Well you get inside your little bubble and make your way through dozens of air born platforms that you control by tilting in all angles and directions in order to get your monkey to the goal line. Super Monkey Ball is a tribute to old school gameplay in a next generation environment; a 3D mix of Marble Madness and Kirby's Tilt N Tumble, mixed with a variety of extra multiplayer and bonus games.


  • 7 different play modes
  • 1 - 4 player action
  • balls...what else do you need?
  • Only for Nintendo GameCube

Jason Nuyens: Though the concept might seem a little too simplistic, moving monkeys around in plastic balls is actually quite addictive. If you can find a good crowd to play with you will be hooked on this game for hours.

At first glance, the single player game seems to be a bit straight forward and lacking. However, once you start to get to the more challenging levels it makes for a barrel of laughs. Is the game hard? Well yes, but who ever complained that Konami's "Contra" was hard? Don't fool yourself people, difficulty is a good thing. Like Waverace: Blue Storm, the game's difficulty is actually one of the more addicting and fun factors of the game. What's worse is that you have this constant feeling while playing that you will pass level X on your next try.

Quite simply, Super Monkey Ball is one of the most amazing multiplayer games to ever be released. Add to the fact that it's a launch game and you have a recipe for a winner. Don't let these cute monkeys deceive you, the game is brutally fun and addictive.

The only thing that is slightly lacking would be the sound. The music was a little bit uninspired. Other than that, Super Monkey Ball is a go.

Mark Medina: Probably the greatest thing about this game is that it's so unassuming, in that you are genuinely very surprised at its extremely high quality. Super Monkey Ball doesn't trumpet amazing graphics, it doesn't boast about some fantastic new complex control scheme, it doesn't serenade you with wonderfully atmospheric music, and it makes no bones about being technologically advanced. What it does do though, is grab you and hook you in, and it doesn't let you go.

The main game is devilishly addictive, and the learning curve facilitated by the 3 difficulty modes (plus the ultra-rock-hard Master Mode) is perfectly spot on, gradually getting you used to the simple yet effective control scheme and then making you tear your hair out at the difficulty of some of the later stages. Yet no matter how badly you perform, it never ever feels like it's working against you. Any falling off the platforms feels entirely your fault and at the same time, you always get the sense that you're just that little bit closer to that elusive goal. You always have the feeling that just one more go and you'll be able to pass that level, just one more go....

Put simply, I love the game based solely on the main game. When you add in the other modes of play, the game goes to a higher level where other lesser games wish they were regarded. My personal favourite mini-game is Monkey Bowling, particularly the challenge mode. Stringing together 10 spares in 11 tries means you can only miss one of them once, so it can be quite nailbiting on its own.

Quickly running through my take on the rest of the mini-games then, Monkey Billiards is a very fun alternative to the real game, and Monkey Golf is excellent little mini-golf fun. The other three mini-games are primarily geared for serious multiplayer fun, so due to the fact that I have yet to properly experience multiplayer Monkey Race/Fight/Target, I can only go by others high opinions on those mini-games.

Back to the main game though, countless hours can be clocked up just trying to get the bonus levels and the ultra-elusive Master mode. Add in the other incentive of unlocking unlimited continues, and it's no surprise that Super Monkey Ball has plenty of replayability.

In conclusion, all I can really say is that Super Monkey Ball is an unmissable game, any cube-gamer worth their salt should go and grab it without hesitation. There really isn't anything left to say. Highly recommended.

Tim Knowles: I had never intended to buy this game, until I sat down and got to enjoy the great, fun game that is Super Monkey Ball. If you have ever wanted to roll monkeys trapped inside transparent balls around numerous levels, collecting big juicy bananas along the way, then this is definitely the game for you.

The Main Game mode, with over 100 levels sectioned off into three difficulty levels, starts out fun and easy but the latter levels in the game get extremely difficult and you will often get frustrated. But thats not to say you wont be having endless amounts of fun doing so.

The multiplayer mode, however, is where I believe Super Monkey Ball truly shines. Whether it be the main game levels - played simultaneously, or the outrageously fun mini games such as Monkey Fight, Monkey Bowling and Monkey Race; they all provide enough action and fun to keep you playing for hours on end.

Ive emphasized the word Fun many times throughout this review, purely because thats just what this game comes down to. Super Monkey Ball isnt about system selling graphics with huge amounts of polygons being thrown around the screen, instead it's about insane levels of addictive-ness and fun. Sega at its pure best.

Will Stevenson: The word "addictive" hardly needs any more explanation than the three words Super Monkey Ball. With over 100 levels of precision ball rolling found in the arcade original, along with six all-new Gamecube exclusive separate mini-games, Super Monkey Ball doesnt falter once.

Its often said that while the main game is good, Super Monkey Ball's main attraction lies in its value as a party game. An extra couple of joypads (friends too, if you can manage it) will certainly add to the fun, but in my opinion its the Main Game mode thats going to keep me (and you) coming back. I loved Monkey Fight, and Monkey Bowling was great, but nothing in this game can match the feeling of achievement you get from completing that floor you just wasted your last 3 continues on. The other portions of Super Monkey Ball are all great additions with the possible exception of Monkey Target, which I never really got into, and if nothing else prove that a lot of work has gone into this game.

Super Monkey Ball's visuals are fairly simple, and wouldnt look out of place on the Dreamcast, but what it lacks in technical brilliance it makes up for in sheer creativity. Ive found the music to be generally very good, and Im sure that had I not been concentrating so hard, I would have been humming along. Indeed, its the frustratingly difficult, and even more frustratingly addictive gameplay that has kept me indoors when I should have been outside. Make no mistake dear readers; this game will take you by the balls. Heh.

Note: NTSC Version reviewed by Jason, all other reviews are from the PAL version.

N-Sider Review Staff