Super Monkey Ball Step & Roll Review

Sega attempt to ape their past success on a new piece of hardware. Can they return balance to the precariously positioned series?

By Rupert Higham, February 16, 2010


Even a hole this huge can be a challenge to navigate through using the Balance Board.

The Wii Balance Board on the other hand is a painfully torturous exercise in frustration, offering no way near the precision required to deal with the game’s tricky environments. Shifting weight between feet is slow and clumsy and is compounded by a camera that refuses to keep up with the action, making consistent movements almost impossible to judge. For a game that promotes Balance Board play in its title, it’s pretty shocking that this element didn’t receive more play-testing. Perhaps Sega have genetically engineered a small team of banana-powered monkey testers to play-test the Balance Board, because I have yet to meet a human being able to exert any degree of mastery over it.


There are a the usual array of background themes, but as usual, they have no bearing on the levels.

The Balance Board controls fared a little better on the Mini Game front, with Monkey Racing and Sky Diving in particular offering a decent enough sensation of control, but the majority of the 21 games fall back on RSI-inducing stomping (Balloon Race, Firefighter, Ninja Stomp) or unresponsive weight shifting (Battle Pinball, Hovercraft Battle). The genuinely playable games come into their own with a Wii Remote, though beyond Monkey Target, very few of them warrant any kind of repeated play. Naturally the simplistic build of these games is elevated in the multiplayer arena, but the Wii is notoriously loaded with mini game compendiums and unfortunately, S&R doesn’t offer anything significantly interesting enough to rise above the competition, and it’s worlds away from exceptional quality of Monkey Billiards, Golf, etc in the earlier games.


The Sky Diving can be enjoyable using the Balance Board, but even then it is more suitably controlled using the Wii Sports Resort-style Remote interface.

Ultimately your purchasing decision rests on your comfort with the Wii Remote as control method. If you are a die hard SMB professional that truly mastered the Wii Remote and you’re longing for 70 plus levels of challenge, the main game will satisfy that. Those looking for a less specialised package however will be completely impaled by the difficulty spikes and miserably underwhelmed by the mini games, leaving S&R in a rather unfortunate position.

6 out of 10

Mad as a gorilla? Check the scoring guide. Cheeky as a chimp? Bite into the forum. Or just leave a comment below.

Posted in Reviews, and tagged with , , , .

9 Responses to “Super Monkey Ball Step & Roll Review”

  1. Joe Redifer says:

    Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz did NOT allow for the analog stick on the nunchuck to be used in the main game. I really wish it had, otherwise it might be a decent game, but it failed. Same with this game. It’s too bad, only the first two SMB games on the Gamecube are any good.

  2. Rupert Higham says:

    My sincerest apologies Joe, you are of course right. The Wii launch line-up is a little hazy in my recollection and I think I fused the one decent thing about SMB Adventure (analogue stick controls) with SMB BB. Thanks for the heads up.

    You’re spot on about the first two games being leagues ahead of recent versions too. SMB Deluxe was a great compilation that added a handful of new extra levels to mix though.

  3. I’ve tried this on iPhone and it’s just awesome. I totally love the coop mode where one can play as usual while the other one can blast the obstacle out of the way and you can battle with your buddies with those mini-games.

  4. Doree says:

    Er, has anyone noticed that banana crop circle is in the shape of a Dreamcast spiral? SEND THIS TO UKR!

  5. safire says:

    dude i dont even know how to play =(
    :0 sooooo mad

  6. safire says:

    it wont let me like i used to have that same game (Super monkey ball) when i was little and my friend stole it

  7. safire says:

    ahh sooooo mad at my friend

  8. safire says:

    but i still like your website it is really cool


Kikizo Classic: