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Super Monkey Ball for iPhone – Review

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If there is one word I can think of to describe Super Monkey Ball on the iPhone that word is “frustrating”.

It’s not that Super Monkey Ball is bad, in fact, it’s quite good – I like it a lot, and have spent FAR TOO MUCH TIME playing it over the weekend. The game is just very, very challenging, and as a result – it can be extremely frustrating at times.

The game features 110 levels, and 3 modes of play (Main Game, Instant Play, and Practice). The Main Game is – of course – the main game where you go to unlock new levels by completing the unlocked levels. Instant Play is for when you only have a few minutes to devote to the game, and a random level is selected for you. Practice is where you can go to spend time trying to discover the correct way to move through a particularly challenging level.

You have four monkeys to choose from: AiAi, MeeMee, Baby, and GonGon. Each one has different pros and cons. GonGon is the one I recommend to those having a difficult time with the game. He is the heaviest character, and seems to be the easiest one to use.

The graphics on the game are exceptional, and feel as rich and colorful as anything I’ve seen on the Nintendo DS. I think everyone can agree that the graphics look great. The controls, on the other hand, are a different matter.

Super Monkey Ball is a very sensitive game. If you move your iPhone in even the slightest way your monkey is going to move. This makes the game very challenging, and at times quite frustrating. The only other time I’ve played Super Monkey Ball was on the Wii – and I found it to be just as challenging there as it is here, so I don’t necessarily think the controls are bad, or poorly done, they’re just REALLY sensitive – and the game is difficult.

As I write this I have played through close to 50 of the games 110 levels, and so far the level of difficultly has remained pretty consistent throughout. I say this not to discourage you from playing, but to let you know that the levels don’t get significantly harder. They start out pretty difficult, and stay pretty difficult.

All in all, I like Super Monkey Ball a great deal. I think it shows us what the iPhone is capable of, and I’m very impressed with the results. With hundreds of levels of play, a variety of play options, and a magnificent presentation, Super Monkey Ball is well worth your $9.99.

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

19 thoughts on “Super Monkey Ball for iPhone – Review

  1. Okay, so I’ve got a stupid question…how do I advance to the next level? I’ve played through all 10 on the first level, but I don’t know what else to do…

  2. I’ve found it to be incredibly challenging as well but, in a good way. The controls are very touchy but after playing it all weekend I’ve found myself getting better and better at the game and even enjoying it more.

  3. @Drew

    The Easy and Hard levels are different. If you’ve beaten the 10 easy levels, go and beat the 10 hard levels, then you’ll move on to the next environment.

  4. How do I enter my name when I beat 10 levels? I can enter the first letter but I can’t see how to enter another letter. I just end up quitting the game and re-opening it. Thankfully it saves the fact that I beat those levels and lets me continue.

  5. @Michael

    Oh wow, I feel stupid now.. 😛 But really, that’s pretty poor UI design in my opinion. The iPhone SDK DOES have provisions for a keyboard to pop up, you know…

  6. I love this game. It is a great challenge even if highly frustrating as can be at times. Well designed with one major flaw, you can’t return to a game if you tab out, which is a major fail on Sega’s part. It is not an SDK issue because Crash Nitro allows for this option, so no reason for SMB to not have it.

    I have to disagree with you on the progression, it definitely gets more difficult, but it progresses nicely so that it doesn’t seem to be the case perhaps. Having cleared all 100 initial levels and 2 of the 10 extra levels, there is no question that it gets harder because as you move to the later maps the earlier ones are easier to go back and get all the bananas for unlocking the extras. And there are a couple of maps in the last couple zones that are just horrible. But the whole game is a blast and well worth the $10.

  7. ok so this is kinda stupid but i really need to know before i go crazy lol. after i beat the 1st 10 levels, i enter my name…then what do i do to go on to the next 10 levels?? and does it save for anyone after you beat a level?

  8. I beat all ten of the easy and hard levels in the first world (after much strss and hardship) but the extra level in both difficulties stil isn’t unlocked. When I look at the rankings some of the levels have a little crown on them and some don’t… what do i have to do to unlock the extra levels?

  9. @Christopher

    You have to get all the bananas on every track in one attempt to get the crown. Once you have the crowns on every level in a category (“Easy” or “Hard”) the bonus level will open up.

  10. how can i slow my monkey down and corners without fallin gof the sides in level 7 world 1 easy!
    i had a million attemps and still no luck

  11. after i beat level 9 on the first world it just goes to random levels after, how can i get to level ten?

  12. I’m not quite halfway done and I’ve got two gripes with the game… one is the controls which are very sensitive. It’s not just the tilt sensitivity but also how when the monkey turns the entire view rotates which means you’ve got to get really good at rotating your tilt at the fairly arbitrary rotation speed of the game – otherwise you end up accelerating your monkey in the wrong direction. The other is the way it devours batteries… best have your charger handy if you’re going to play this game.

    If the game was a console or PC title I’d give it a pretty crappy score because of the serious flaws… but as one of the first games on a new system (and at only $9.99) it’s not that horrible a deal.

  13. can someone elaborate on the special levels which can only be unlocked by eating all the bananas? do i have to get all the bananas on each level (say of 1-10) in one life or in in one game (meaning no continuations). ????? i am not very clear on this…

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