|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SEGA||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 9, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Although Step & Roll was meant to be played with Nintendo's Balance Board, things just didn't turn out too well. It's not that the controls with the big, white peripheral are inaccurate; the issue is that they're simply too tiring and require too much precision. Who wants to spend long periods of time standing on the platform, juggling your weight towards the sides, in order to control an ever-rolling ball? It's a tempting idea that could be fun, but most players will just want to stick to Wii-mote controls and leave the Board for Wii Fit, which at least helps you burn some calories!
Tilting the Wii Remote is an easier way to go in both the Main mode and the mini-games. In the single-player or the co-op, if you hold the controller flat on the palm of your hand and tilt it smoothly towards the sides, your chances of success are big. In fact, the first three worlds of the game are almost too easy - about 10 to 15 minutes each, give or take. Step & Roll is definitely not a long game, so it relies mostly on replay value. And yes, it does have replayability as far as mini-games go, collecting achievements and other unlockables, or trying to beat your own records in the Main mode, but a few things hamper the fun factor.
One of the most annoying issues I experienced with Step & Roll is that when you finish a 10-stage world, it makes you watch the credits. Sure, they made a mini-game out of it; each letter is a ball that drops into a platform and you have to make the orbs fall through the holes in order to gather points. This is fine and all when you've finished the game, but why at the end of each world? And why do I have to get through it all before I can record my score?
Another problem is the stage moves too much when you play, which may cause motion sickness. It's not a joke Watch the stage move back and forth while you try to concentrate on the ball and you'll see what happens! Adding Nunchuk support could have helped. We don't know why it wasn't an option, but the truth is, at the end of the day, controlling the stage and the ball with an analog stick is a lot more comfortable and satisfying. The Wii offers a unique control alternative based on motion controls, but this innovation sometimes doesn't compensate, turning fun games into more of a chore.
Super Monkey Ball: Step & Roll is not a bad game. One can see the effort put into it and enjoy the outcome. However, it's a game tailored for children more than anything, as adults probably won't have the patience it takes to get through it. It's also not a bad option as a family game. Parents can play with their kids at the same time and get a sense of accomplishment, and the mini-game competitions can be fierce. Still, one has to be realistic. This is the fifth console-based Super Monkey Ball title, and it's not the best one. It's missing some of the fun mini-games included in previous installments, and the Balance Board controls aren't very appealing after all. Of course, give it a try if Super Monkey Ball is your cup of tea!
CCC Site Director