smb2_go

Overview

Super Monkey Ball was launched with the App Store, and now a year and a half later a sequel comes out. The original game was definitely not very good in many regards highlighted by lackluster visuals, and terrible controls. Has SEGA improved Super Monkey Ball for the iPhone in the sequel?

A lot of levels are included in single player mode, there is now local multiplayer, and a mini-game with two more coming in updates.
smb2_world

Features

Single player mode consists of over 100 levels across five worlds with each having 20 levels. You have to beat each level in order to advance to the next. You can play as four different monkey ball characters.

Multiplayer mode is included so you can play any of the levels against up to three friends. It’s local over wifi only though. One mini-game is included which is bowling, with two more coming in updates in the wide window of “first quarter 2010.”

smb2_tight

The Good

Super Monkey Ball 2 has a lot to do, if you like the gameplay. That is a big if though. Also you need to get the hang of the controls, and be able to deal with them. Once you get through that, the game progresses nicely.

Each level presents a new level design, and challenge. The paths get smaller, and contain less walls so you really need to be precise. There are only 60 seconds, and to collect the bananas and make it through some expansive paths it will take nearly all of the time.
smb2_jungle
It’s quite a delicate challenge to just make it through the level or collect the bananas and be perfect. Some games make you want to replay levels for better scores and times, but definitely not in Super Monkey Ball 2.

One definite upgrade is in the visuals department. It looks much better than the original, and the 3D look is on par with iPhone gaming standards to date. Each level is nicely designed especially the backgrounds of each of the worlds.
smb2_bowling
The one mini-game is fun one or two times through, but that’s about it, as it’s just bowling with monkey ball. The game has a good save system to pick up on the level you last left off.

The multiplayer is nice though simplistic as it’s just a race through one of the levels. Or you can play the one mini-game. It’s just too bad there is only wi-fi. The soundtrack is nice, and upbeat, but the monkey sounds are extremely annoying.

The Bad

The main problem with the original was the controls, so you would think Sega would have worked very hard to rectify that. Well the controls are better, but not by much. The main concern is that there is no calibration option, so you just have to use the standard they’ve determined.
smb2_bananas
The controls are still a hassle, and don’t provide the pinpoint accuracy you need on higher levels. You have to move your device all up in the air to be able to get to bananas even though the playfield is flat. It’s just such a stark contrast to the other ball rolling sequel I just reviewed, Labyrinth 2.

Overall the game lacks fun, each level feels like a hassle/task rather than an enjoyable experience. There’s no storyline or reason to make it through the levels given. The game keeps track of score for seemingly no reason as the score doesn’t unlock anything, and there’s no online high scores or achievements.
smb2_rails
One mini-game is included with the two others saying coming soon. For $9.99 everything should come at launch, and again there’s no online high scores or achievements for the mini-games.

Each level is timed for no apparent reason other than making sure you finish within 60 seconds. Finishing faster means nothing, and collecting all the bananas perfects a level for only your own need to be perfect. Local wifi multiplayer is the only thing included so no bluetooth or online connectivity.

Overall the controls need super hard movements, and such sever tilting I wasn’t able to make a video.

The Verdict

Super Monkey Ball 2 is definitely an upgrade on the original, but that isn’t saying much. The controls still aren’t very good, but at least the visuals are better? A bunch of levels are included, but there seems to be no reason to play them.

The game doesn’t have a story, online high scores, or achievements, and is just merely an arcade game where the score is irrelevant. It’s a sad state when big developers can’t work with the iPhone as well as small developers do, and charge so much more. For $9.99 it’s definitely not worth it, and it still not worth it unless it gets to $2.99 or less.

If you want a ball rolling game, do yourself a huge favor and pick up Labyrinth 2.