The Mini-Games of Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz (Vita)

MONKEYBABYI got a PS Vita for Christmas this past year. There are enough games on it that interest me now, but I guess it’s a little late since nobody is making new games for the Vita hardly anymore.  But one of the games I wanted for the Vita was Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz.  Luckily since it’s been out for so long, I was able to get it from Amazon for only 12 bucks!  Which is good considering it’s not much different from past Monkey Ball titles, and they’ve been declining in quality anyway.  But the first two Monkey Ball titles on the GameCube were great, so I always like to give the series a chance anyway, if the price is right.  While the main game has you rolling around a monkey in a ball through mazes and obstacles, many of the Monkey Ball titles have fun mini-games, too.  Banana Splitz included.  So since I like to write about mini-games, here are all the mini-games you can find in Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz for Vita.

But before I start with that, I wanted to say how proud I am that I’ve played nearly all the games in the Monkey Ball series. Even the ones in the arcade!  Yup, Monkey Ball started out as an arcade game and you used a banana-shaped joystick to move your monkey around mazes.  It was a little embarrassing holding onto a banana joystick for the arcade version.  Luckily, a couple of years ago, they released a new one in arcades called Super Monkey Ball: Ticket Blitz and I’ve played it, too!   You just roll around mazes like last time but you can earn tickets for prize redemption.  And instead of a joystick, you used a trackball, thank goodness!  No more embarrassment.

I’ve also played nearly all the console Monkey Ball games, too. Super Monkey Ball 1 & 2 on GameCube are some of the best games for that system.  Super Monkey Ball was even a launch title for the GameCube and it was a very good one!  The mini-games in those were especially fun.  You can also get Super Monkey Ball Deluxe on the PS2 and original Xbox, but they’re just a combination of the first two GameCube games.  There is also a GBA title called Super Monkey Ball Jr., but don’t let the Jr. part of the title fool you.  It’s still a great game and pretty awesome that it’s all in 3-D.

Sadly, the series went downhill from there. Super Monkey Ball Adventure put in exploration elements and a story, but it wasn’t near as fun as the first two games.  There were some handheld titles like Super Monkey Ball: Touch N Roll on the DS and Super Monkey Ball 3D on the 3DS, but they were not as good either.  Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz on the Wii was just plain awful, and there was another Monkey Ball game that used the Wii Balance Board called Step N Roll and that’s the only Monkey Ball console game I’ve never played.  When it came out, I didn’t have a Balance Board so I didn’t get it, but even now that I have one, I don’t feel too compelled to get it anyway.

There were a bunch of Monkey Ball games on the iPhone, but most of them came out long before I had an iPhone or iPad. I did review a Monkey Ball iPad game a while back called Super Monkey Ball Bounce, but it’s just a Peggle clone.  Monkey Ball characters have appeared in other Sega games like SEGA Superstars (an EyeToy game), SEGA Superstars Tennis, and the Sonic and SEGA All-Stars racing games.  I’ve played all of those, too.

Sadly, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz on the PS Vita falls into the mediocre category. The main game is just like the others, just with better graphics.  In fact, a lot of the levels I’ve played in the main game are exactly like the ones found on the GameCube versions.  But like most other Monkey Ball games, there is a selection of mini-games you can try, so let’s go over those now.

Monkey Bowling

One of the mini-game mainstays in any Monkey Ball title is Monkey Bowling. You’re already controlling a monkey in a ball, so it makes sense.  The Monkey Bowling games on GameCube were so good that I never felt the need to buy a stand-alone bowling game for that system.  The one on the Vita version isn’t quite as good, but it’s still kind of fun.  You use the Vita’s touch screen to roll your ball down the lane, and you tilt the Vita to move it as it rolls toward the pins.  You also hold the Vita on its side as you play.  You can choose to play a game with regular bowling lanes, or lanes that have obstacles, curves, and holes to steer around.

Monkey Target

The other big Monkey Ball mini-game favorite also makes an appearance on the Vita, and it’s pretty fun here as well. You roll your monkey ball down a ramp, and as it flies in the air, push a button to make the monkey open up the ball into halves, and then the monkey uses the halves to hang glide down to a target below.  You then must press the button again to close the ball and land on targets to earn more points.  Just make sure you close the ball and don’t fall into the water, otherwise you won’t get any points.  After three tries the game tallies up your score and posts your highest total scores on a board.  There are three kinds of Monkey Target boards you can try.  The first is the typical circle targets found in many other titles.  Another one has you landing in a pachinko style board and you must land in certain spots for points.  The last one has a long vertical target with a giant stone monkey hammering on it, and I don’t know how you’re supposed to land on the darn thing!  At least the other two boards are fun.

Monkey Bingo

This is a four player game. I don’t know if you can play this online via multiplayer, but I haven’t tried any of that because I don’t know anyone who has a Vita or this game.  But if you play solo, the computer controls the other players.  You have a playfield with little notches on each square, and if you can fit your ball into a notch, you’ll claim that as your square and start somewhere on the board to try and claim another square by rolling around.  You score points for each one you claim, and if you can claim a row or column (like bingo), you’ll earn even more points.  As long as you hurry and get in a hole as fast as you can, you’ll win anyway.  It’s pretty easy with the computer players, but it’s still quite fun.

Monkey Rodeo

Unfortunately, this one’s not fun at all! It’s another four player game, and you are riding one of those inflatable hippity-hopper things like you used to bounce on as a kid.  Every monkey has one and it looks like a horse toy, and they’re all wearing cowboy hats and riding in a western setting that looks kind of like a bounce house.  Your job is to collect the most bananas in a time limit to win.  But the way you control your hopper horse is what ruins the game.  You use the bottom touch screen on the Vita to bounce your horse from the floor, and it’s really hard to control that way.  You can hold down on the touch screen to give your bounce some force and try to knock bananas out of other players, but it’s easier said than done.  Not one of the good mini-games on this list, unfortunately.

Number Ball

In this one, you tilt the Vita vertically to view the playfield. A bunch of billiard-looking balls with numbers on them will roll and bounce around the screen, and each ball has a number on it.  You can either choose to tap them in order for points, or tap on the ball that has the same number at the top of the screen (at random).  But it’s super hard because as the balls roll around, you can hardly see the numbers and when you do, they only are visible for a split second and sometimes they’re upside-down!  I just couldn’t do this one at all.

Battle Billiards

This is a four player game. CPU controls the other players if you’re the only one.  Each player starts with three balls of their color, and one of them has a monkey in it.  You use the touch screen to aim and pull back and hit your ball to knock other players’ balls into holes.  Kind of like pool.  The table has lots of walls and bumpers and other obstacles.  You get more points if you knock a ball that has a monkey in it in a hole. Also, there is a flag on the table, and whoever gets it will continuously earn points each turn, and you can get more points if the flag is on your ball with a monkey.  I found the game rather tedious and slow, and I would’ve rather they just had plain ol’ pool on here instead.  Monkey Billiards on the Super Monkey Ball games was pretty fun.

Pixie Hunt

This one uses the PS Vita’s camera. I didn’t even know the Vita had a camera until I got one.  Anyway, you take pictures with it, but your camera reticule is a certain color.  You must photograph something in real life that is the same color or close to the reticule’s color. When you do, pixies will pop out and you must tap on the screen to catch them for points.  Once you tap all of them, you must repeat the process with a different color.  When time runs out, your score is tallied up.  It seemed to work fairly well with me, but I recommend doing this game in a well-lit, brightly colored room.  I don’t know what this game has to do with Monkey Ball, and it could’ve also easily have been done on the Nintendo 3DS.

Love Maze

All right, last game. This one uses both analog sticks, or you can move one and someone else can use the other one on the same Vita.  There are two monkeys on the screen and you must roll them around a tandem maze without letting them fall off the sides or get too far from each other, as they are connected by a string.  You view the action from overhead, and it kind of reminds me of the gameplay found in The Adventures of Cookie and Cream mixed with Libble Rabble.  I know that probably doesn’t help you imagine what the game is like, as those are pretty obscure game references.  But I recommend looking up those games anyway.  With as many systems that have twin analog sticks now, I wish Namco would release Libble Rabble in the US as it was created by the same guy who made Pac-Man.  Anyway, I can’t physically play Love Maze very well myself because I’ve been blind in my left eye since birth and have pretty narrow central tunnel vision in my right eye, so it’s hard for me to focus on two things on the screen at once, like Love Maze requires you to do.


And those are all the mini-games in Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz. Aside from these and the main game, the Vita version also lets you edit and make your own levels.  I’d like to make my own Pac-Man maze with it, but I doubt I’ll mess with it anytime soon as I don’t know anyone who would still play this game.  Anyway, in the comments section, let me know what your favorite Monkey Ball games are, and what mini-games you like in those series.  I’ll probably write about the other Vita games I got in a few months after I play them all!  Later!  –Cary

2 Responses to “The Mini-Games of Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz (Vita)”

  1. Huh, I could have sworn SMB came out on the N64 first… (it didn’t.) I remember SMB and its sequel on the GameCube fondly, they were both (i preferred the first) excellent multiplayer titles…

    I don’t recall playing a banana joystick in the arcade, but did play an arcade game with a giant trackball…

  2. If you played it with a trackball, you must’ve been playing Super Monkey Ball: Ticket Blitz.

    Thanks for reading! I hope you can come back and read articles I’ve got planned to post tomorrow and Friday. Really awesome stuff coming up!

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