Monkey Ball 2
for Nintendo GameCube
developer: Amusement Vision
by Justin Hall
24 , 2003
Simplicity and Painful Puzzles
Super Monkey Ball is about the easiest game to start playing, ever
- steer a ball down ramps to a finish line. The monkey in the ball
is window dressing. Many levels are so easy I felt like an immediate
king gamer, with just the right intuitive understanding of rotund
simian physics. Then I found some ramps laden with bumps and holes
and moving parts that make progress impossible, and I felt like
I was trying to thread a small needle with fingers dipped in olive
Super Monkey Ball 2 doesn't require multiple opposable thumbs.
Super Monkey Ball is throttle and steering in your left thumb -
that's it. One thumb moving. All your right fingers can do is change
the scale of the map and press the "retry" button when you invariably
plunge to spinning, squealing monkey death.
While the gameplay is decidedly spare, Super Monkey Ball 2 is wall-to-wall
stimulation. Constant propulsive samba techno music. Gaudy expansive
landscape backdrops. Precarious landmasses that wobble wildly during
play. A little monkey in a ball constantly in motion; wiggling its
heart-shaped buttflesh, waving at the player, or maybe dancing a
victory dance. Super Monkey Ball 2 is packed solid with primary
colors and gyrating cute.
player Super Monkey Ball 2 mostly tests a player's patience. Most
levels can be solved either by moving tediously slowly, or by testing
the puzzles enough times to understand their function.
I played Super Monkey Ball 2 for a good hour, and then I reached
the "Reversible Gear" level Like most of the levels, you roll a
monkey down a ramp until you reach some kind of toothy moving puzzle.
Here, a large spinning gear obscures the goal - if you can time
your rolling exactly, you'll fall between the spinning tines of
the gear and reach the center. It's a skull-meets-wall frustrating
game moment. I thought to myself, "Do I want to spend the next twenty
minutes of my life studying the exact timing required to beat this
puzzle?" Nope. Unless I want to play more Super Monkey Ball 2 with
Super Monkey Ball 2 takes advantage of the Game Cube's four player
social gaming potential with a wide range of multiplayer games.
Monkeys in balls appear in a chaotic fighting game, a catchy monkey
gliding game and decent golf and bowling games. Racing, baseball
and soccer are included, along with tennis, billiards and dog fight
twelve monkey ball mini-games in all. Six come with the game when
you buy it, six more you buy with your time unlocking mini-games
through single-player success. I didn't play enough alone to unlock
all of the games and I couldn't find any cheats that would let me
unlock them without hammering my head against "Reversible Gear."
games with friends is nearly always fun. Amidst the twelve mini-games
you should find something that suits your group for at least ten
minutes. But if you enjoy any one particular party game in SMB2,
you're better off buying that specific sort of game: monkey ball
fighting, for example, isn't as fun as the fantastic Super Smash
Brothers Melee, and monkey ball racing comes in second place to
some of the great "kart" racing games.
Super Monkey Ball 2 can be played by almost any gamer of almost
any age. The premise is so simple, the interface doesn't get in
the way and there's not much of a learning curve. But there's not
very far you can run with it either. Maybe every gamer should have
a game like this in their collection. Something that anyone can
play, and people can play together, in nearly any state of sobriety.
To play Super Monkey Ball 2 you only need one thumb and a pulse.
And a bit of patience.
Hall plays too many games but manages to write sometimes.
His subjects include diversion, participation, romance, failure,
Asia and California. Nearly everything he thinks publicly emanates