Super Monkey Ball ruled, and that's a fact. It was polished to a sheen, it was tightly focused, and it had cute monkeys. Unfortunately, Super Monkey Ball Adventure, the latest entry in Sega's simian series, can only stake a claim to one of those merits.
Taking the series in a more modern direction, Adventure offers up a lengthy story mode wherein you roam large environments in a rolling capsule, completing objectives to unlock further large environments. Trouble is, it lacks the series' former single-minded direction and polish, and in failing to recognize the essential qualities of Super Monkey Ball, the developers at Traveller's Tales have besmirched its good name.
As in previous outings, the main challenge in Super Monkey Ball Adventure lies in maneuvering your roly-poly pygmy into and past precarious traps and obstacles. A limitless supply of lives keeps the pressure low, though it's no small feat to collect Story mode's 3,000 bananas.
However, the designers forgot to include the proverbial banana-on-a-stick which might have made completing this massive undertaking seem worthwhile. The unlockable prizes are a sideshow, and it's doubtful that even the silliest 8 year-old girl would care to see how Adventure 's insipid storyline turns out. In fact, the best parts of story mode are a series of flashback levels that offer challenges reminiscent of the previous games. Story mode just isn't fun. The idea's not terrible, but the execution isn't good enough to sell the concept.