Saturday 13 May 2006
When we heard about Super Monkey Ball Adventure, the spin-off action game for everyone's favourite sphere-encased simians, our first question was: How will that work, then? Well, we've been hands on with the game, and the answer is: Really rather well.
In SMB Adventure you must roam the lands of monkey-dom, from your starting point on Jungle Island through Moonhaven, Zootopia, Monkeytropolis and Kongri-la. Each location has its own visual flavour, for instance Moonhaven is a city in the clouds, Zootopia is a theme park and Kongri-la is set underwater - these characteristics are maintained across the roaming level itself, where you collect quests and bananas and interact with the locals, and in the 'puzzle tray' world of traditional Monkey Ball gameplay.
Above: There are many lands to travel through, each with its own theme
We played a section based on Jungle Island, and were free to explore a small monkey village, where we were told about the Naysayers, who are corrupting the world. One of the quests around the village was to find a lost monkey baby, although we're sure that later tasks will be more complex and involved. And we got to see just how the normal world links to the Puzzle Realm, land of Monkey Ball's puzzle trays.
As we tried to reach Jungle Island's castle, where the king was waiting, our path was blocked by a simple puzzle. And to solve it we had to use a number of glowing plates that transported us to the Puzzle Realm. By successfully completing the puzzle trays we opened the way forward and were free to progress.
Super Monkey Ball has always been a favourite of ours, and it's great to see Adventure replicating the game's atmosphere so faithfully in a totally different way. With the game out for PS2 this summer, we'll be getting back into the Monkey Ball zone very soon to give our final verdict.