Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz

Review: Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz

5:00 PM on 11.19.2012 // Chris Carter

As original as vanilla ice cream

Monkey Ball hasn't done much to change up its tried-and-true formula in the past decade, and tends to play things fairly close to the chest. You're a monkey, you're in a ball, and you have to roll around to collect bananas. Full stop, you know what you're getting here when it comes to most of the franchise.

After a number of ports, rehashes, and eventually a culmination of a $2.99 mobile game (that's constantly on sale for $0.99), even as a fan, it's easy to become disinterested.

So what did I find after playing the Vita's first ever Monkey Ball game? Yep, this is pretty much the same thing you played all the way back in 2001.

Just worse.

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz (PlayStation Vita)
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Release: October 23, 2012
MSRP: $29.99

The "story" in the Monkey Ball franchise is basically meaningless, as the setup continues to be simple: you get to roll around in various courses in a manner similar to Marble Madness, grab collectibles, and make it to the end before running out of time.

Survival isn't the core goal, however -- it's also a score-attack game, as you race for the highest point total possible in the shortest amount of time. Of course, you're only going to get as much enjoyment out of beating your own scores as you put in.

The controls are mostly a non-issue. You can (thankfully) utilize the left analog stick to roll around in lieu of using gyroscopic controls. The camera takes some getting used to since it's placed very close to the ground and can't be changed, but rolling around is easy enough -- literally the only button or directional device you'll need to ever use is the left analog stick.

As you roll around the 100-ish levels in Banana Splitz, everything will feel pretty familiar. There will be twists, there will be turns, and you'll most likely go flying over the edge a few times. But somehow, someway, it's still mostly fun.

Over the course of the game, pretty much every level serves its purpose without feeling too difficult or too easy, and the game's vibrant colors really pop on the Vita's OLED. In essence, the single-player portion is an utterly inoffensive, if very safe portable version of Monkey Ball, with a solid amount of level diversity between maps. There's not much else that can be said about it.

Okay, so part of Splitz is your run-of-the-mill Monkey Ball experience -- so far so good, right? Well, while the Solo Play portion is mostly fine, everything else is fairly miserable.

Firstly, the menus are a huge drag -- and there are a lot of them, which makes very little sense given the game's simplicity. Since you can't use button inputs on the menus, you have to drag to different options, and they're hyper sensitive. I found myself groaning on more than one occasion -- for god's sake, developers, just let me use the d-pad on menus.

The minigame collection is also fairly disappointing, and can barely be called a distraction. Some games, like Monkey Rodeo, use a poor, forced implementation of the rear touch pad that's painfully shoehorned in. Number Ball is basically a rehash of the number-tapping game already found in Welcome Park (which comes pre-loaded on every Vita).

If you're looking for fun, you won't find it here, as Banana Splitz continues on that same pattern for all of the scant eight included minigames. Outside of Love Maze, where you control two monkeys (one with each stick) with an overhead view, none of them are worth playing more than once. Love Maze is so good that it may be worth picking Splitz up from the depths of the bargain bin one day just to check it out.

While Monkey Target, Bowling, and Billiards can be played asynchronous manner with one Vita, they're so woefully generic that odds are you won't want to. With some ingenuity, multiplayer Love Maze could have easily been playable on one portable and added some credence to the minigame collection, but all we have in the end is a wasted opportunity.

The final massive disappointment is the highly lauded Create-a-track mode, which makes use of the Vita's camera to construct a track. Don't get your hopes up here; it's pure garbage. You're supposed to be able to take a picture of something and create a new course, but it just plain does not work.

Very rarely will the created track actually resemble anything you took a picture of, and sadly, the game doesn't allow you to customize the level (such as setting it to an easy, medium, or hard predisposition). Most of the time, the track will turn out to be a snooze-fest, which makes you even less likely to return and use it more than a few times.

Whoever designed this portion of the game needs to go back to the drawing board, as a fully fleshed out create-a-track mode could have some real potential on the go, as would a QR code system, such as the one in Nintendo's Pushmo.

If you really love Monkey Ball, have no intention of playing anything outside of single-player, and come in with low expectations, you might enjoy Banana Splitz if it ever goes on sale one day. While it's not offensively bad like Super Monkey Ball Adventure, you'll most likely want to roll right on past this one.



Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz - Reviewed by Chris Carter
Average - Like a meal of lukewarm water with white bread. It filled my time and my belly, but lacks any discernible flavor or nutritional value. A game that left me no different than it found me. Just passing through.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Chris Carter, Reviews Director
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidChris Tips
Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz

  Oct 12

Monkey balls in your face: A Super Monkey Ball musical

Sega and Random Encounters team up for a three-part Super Monkey Ball series

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Is Toei using Kamen Rider Ghost to address suicide in Japan?

Let's talk about Xenoblade Chronicles

Cblogs of 11/27/15 - Life is Strange, and Sad

Top 5 Reasons Star Wars Battlefront KICKS ASS!

Attack of the Friday Monsters: A Little Slice of Childhood

Top 5 Reasons Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 IS AWESOME!

Cblogs of 11/26/15 + Combat Heropon-isms

Video games go mainstream

I’m Not a SJW, I’m an Anthropologist: Making the Case for Diversity in Games

Insidia REVIEW - A whole dark, gloomy, and kinda creepy world to explore

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
In light of the fact that Xenoblade Chronicles X is fast approaching, I suggest we start planning out a Destructoid Squad! NNID is TysonOfTime. From what I've heard, it doesn't appear Squads are region locked (except for Japan), so everyone's welcome!
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Typing of the Dead > all other typing games.
Lawman avatarLawman
Listening to this on a Tall Oaks level of RE: Revelations 2's Raid Mode is entrancing, for some reason.
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Need a reason to support Indivisible? Shantae is in it!. Back it or spread the word, every bit of help counts.
KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
Sometimes I miss how hilariously janky Brawl was, and I still have a lot of fun playing it. Not sure if I could ever take it seriously as a competitive game, but I want to enter at least one Brawl tournament in the future. You know, if I can find one.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
I love how on a slow news day I can always turn to Qposts for something else to read and think about. Keep up the mojo fellas!
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
I finally caved in to those sweet deals, got Shantae and The Pirate's Curse, Downwell and Super House of Dead Ninjas :)
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I hope that Prototype runs better on my dad's old laptop than it does on my AMD gaming rig. Some badly coded games run like ass on AMD cards.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Please spare me from issues in the process of publishing my blog! Especially since I modified CSS to unnecessarily pseudo-crop an image, and make it so some images float next to text, and make it look decent on mobile. I'm a frickin' nerd, love it.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
The night brims with defiled scum, and is permeated by their rotten stench. Just think, now you're all set to hunt and kill to your heart's content! #FashionBorne [img][/img]
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Two more days to get in on the unofficial Christmas Card! [Url][/URL]
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django has got a mystery sale on T Shirts and Tank Tops atm, $5 for each. Only catch is they're random. But I've had some good luck, got a Captain Falcon one before, Zombies ate my Neighbors and a Persona 4 X Earthbound crossover.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
I would really, really love if "publish now" could work without me having to post a blog multiple because the site is such a mess right now.
fitzen avatarfitzen
I got it all the way back in spring, but I still haven't finished Majoras Mask. Think I've done the first temple.. It's hard not knowing where to go. All those linear corridors and objective markers in games has made me dumb and impatient.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
A weekend open forum posted every Friday night would be really cool, at least until we get real forums again.
Parismio avatarParismio
Went snowboarding for the first time in years. Crashed a lot, many times into trees. All that training in FF7 didnt do squat!
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
If I were to get Age of Empires II HD to play with you all, do you all have the DLC?
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
I am relieved to know Creed is a Rocky spin-off and not a feature-length documentary about the band.
Steven Hansen avatarSteven Hansen
the worst thing about that jesssica jones program is i keep getting "basketball jones" stuck in my head
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Been playing Gears of War 3's campaign on Xbox One. Looks great on there, and Sam's voice actor is Chloe's voice actor in Uncharted 2/3. Hell yeah!
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -