Welcome to Jungle Island – home of AiAi and his gang of monkeys! I’m Masao Shirosaki, an island citizen and the producer of the Super Monkey Ball series.
Please grab a banana and join me as I tell the story behind the newest title in the series, Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania, which hits PS4 and PS5 today.
A new beautiful monkey world
What led to the creation of this title? When we released the last Super Monkey Ball game, we got a lot of requests from fans all over the world wanting to remake the original Super Monkey Ball and Super Monkey Ball 2. This project started as a direct response to those fan voices.
Based on the original stage data of a game that is now 20 years old (Happy Anniversary AiAi!), In a first step we made the world of the monkey gang more colorful and lively, increased the texture resolution and redesigned the surroundings and decorations in detail. We’ve also completely redesigned the user interface to give the new game a modern look. Plus: add more bananas to make it feel even better to roll through the stages.
Another important focus was the pace of the game. We have shortened the time between “fall out” and “retry” as much as possible so that you can play again immediately without loading time.
Stage adjustments won’t ruin your memories
Regarding the level of difficulty of the stage, we made sure to keep it as close to the original as possible in order to honor fans’ memories of the original games. However, in the original there were some stages that were so difficult that you wanted to stare at the sky. Surely there are some of you who know what I’m talking about …
For example “EXAM-C” from the original Super Monkey Ball. This stage has a beautiful night landscape, but the stage was so difficult that you didn’t have time to enjoy the view. There were bumps and incredibly narrow, curved paths that required full concentration at all times. We made a few small adjustments to the stage, increased the completion time and expanded the curved path in the second half of the stage so you can play a little more relaxed. I am sure that now you can at least enjoy the beautiful view a little while you play!
Another classic level is “ARTHROPOD” from Super Monkey Ball 2. This level involves navigating a large arthropod that (of course) turns in a circle.
There were originally gaps in the stage that made it extremely difficult. I can’t remember the number of times I fell on this stage because I got stuck on the gap and then got kicked by the arthropods …
So we eliminated the loophole. The stage is still pretty tough, but it’s at least a little easier now to avoid the arthropod’s legs!
Apart from a few minor adjustments to the stage, we have also added new support functions such as the “helper function”, which make the game more accessible. With a little help, even I could beat the game! *Laugh*
Of course, these features are completely optional, and for those who want to play the original difficulty level there is a mode that allows that too … so don’t worry.
Not just a remake of the main game
Aside from the main game, we’ve also made sure that all 12 party games from Super Monkey Ball Deluxe have been recreated. They are 1-4 multiplayer so you can play with friends and family, and some of the party games have network leaderboards so you can compete for the world’s top score.
We’ve also added a TON of new features like Golden Banana mode where you try to collect all the bananas within a certain amount of time, Dark Banana mode where you try to reach the goal without getting rotten bananas Touch and reverse mode, which swaps start and finish for a different type of Super Monkey Ball challenge. You can also customize AiAi and the gang’s outfits and monkey balls from over 100 different items.
There’s also a new Photo Mode in the main game that lets you take photos of your favorite moments in the fashion of SMB for each character!
In addition to the new modes, there are over 700 missions to complete and a host of new playable characters: Sonic & Tails, Kazuma Kiryu and Beat from Jet Set Radio are joining the gang on their adventure!
When you add it all up, Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is way more than just a remake of the original game – we’ve tried to make it as fun as possible with all of the various new features!
After all, we wanted to be 20. cementNS Anniversary with a special limited edition physical release celebrating this monumental milestone! The anniversary edition contains a 40-page art book with images from each game in the series straight from the Sega archives. It also contains a collector’s sleeve, a reversible cover and 10 exclusive cosmetic items. This was our way of celebrating one of the most popular series in Sega history with the Banana Maniacs.
There’s a lot more I want to talk about, but AiAi is calling me back to Jungle Island – my deepest thanks to everyone who has supported Super Monkey Ball over the past 20 years! Let’s play party games together if we get the chance!
Until we meet again, go bananas!