Surely, everybody loves a monkey?
From Peter Jackson to Paul Frank via the Pixies, everybody loves a monkey.
And with cute simian heroes that zip around surreal, MC Escher-style levels in translucent spheres, Super Monkey Ball is one of the most challenging, charming and downright hysterical games ever committed to CD. But after four years thrilling GameCube owners, the Xbox and PS2 version feels a little dated.
For nerve-jangling thrills and scarily compelling gameplay, Monkey Ball is still a classic, easing players into the experience with simple challenges where they collect bananas while trundling towards a finishing post, yet gradually ramping-up the difficulty to frankly draconian levels where you have to roll apes along razor-thin platforms or find a way to cross impossible gaps, all without the aid of special powers or a jump button.
But despite its dizzying thrills, Monkey Ball is starting to show its age; the graphics in this Deluxe edition look a little grainy compared to the GameCube original (especially in the jerky PS2 version), the awkward loading times disrupt the dramatic pace and, although the mini games are still unspeakably brilliant for a blast of multiplayer action, in these heady days of online gaming it feels like a missed opportunity not to make Monkey Bowling playable over the net.