Sega has a vault full of entertaining puzzlers that still elicit a substantial amount of fanfare - you can point to Puyo Puyo, Chu-Chu Rocket, and Columns as the sort of games that thrive within that genre for the legendary Japanese publisher/developer.
Back in 2001, gamers got introduced to a unique puzzle-platformer hybrid called Super Monkey Ball. After capturing the imagination of players in the arcade, the series made its way over to the Nintendo GameCube and garnered even more attention. Since the series’ original release, Super Monkey Ball has excelled and fallen flat at various periods. Following the massive fan support shown towards Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD, the development team behind that title put plans in place to celebrate the series’ 20th anniversary in a very special way. That celebration is actually playable in the form of the quality remaster called Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania.
For fans of AiAi and his band of money heroes, there’s a lot to appreciate within this remastered package. Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania recreates all of the stages featured in Super Monkey Ball Deluxe, which in itself is a compilation of everything that came with the series’ first two games. That means you’re given a vast array of simple, intermediate, and mind-numbingly difficult stage layouts to play through. Even after all these years, the Super Monkey Ball formula still provides a ton of fun - carefully maneuvering through each stage as you attempt to collect every banana and get to the goal as quickly as possible will never grow stale. Some stages have been retooled in order to give newcomers a sliver of a chance at completing them - thankfully, old school fans can enjoy those same stages in their original form if they so choose. Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania does a great job of doing right by its longtime fanbase and giving newcomers the options needed to overcome its high challenge factor (the helper function and unlockable jump button help out majorly in that regard).