Monkey Ball Touch & Roll for the DS fails to take
full advantage of the touch control capabilities of
the handheld machine and instead is a replica of the
by Cole Smith
3, 2006 - Those
looking for a unique Monkey Ball experience are going
to be disappointed with Super Monkey Ball Touch &
Roll. It includes levels that were already featured
on the console version and the touch control, which
uses the stylus, is not tight enough for a game like
this where precision is required to navigate the obstacle
you're unfamiliar with the gameplay, think Marble
Madness. But in instead of a marble there is a see-through
ball with a monkey in it. Why a monkey? It really
doesn't matter, it could have been anything, even
a Sea Monkey since it's only the ball that we're concerned
about. You control the direction of the ball, in this
case with the stylus of the D-pad, and roll it along
a treacherous path to reach the goal. There are more
than 100 of these paths and all of them are different.
There are ones with ramps, tracks, circular platforms,
bridges, stairs and slides and combinations of all
of these. Some of these platforms will spin and tilt.
You have to maintain balance and keep the Monkey Ball
from falling off the side of a ledge as many of these
paths are located high in the air.
the stylus you can move it in any of four directions
on the screen. Move it up and the ball will roll forward.
Move it down and the ball will roll backwards. Point
it to either the left or right to steer it in that
direction. The problem with this control system is
that it just doesn't have a very good feel to it.
It seems disconnected with the actual gameplay. The
D-pad is definitely the way to go as it allows you
more control and finesse since it moves the ball ever
so slightly in any direction. It's very easy to overshoot
with the stylus, not to mention that holding the game
with one hand and drawing with the other is a very
uncomfortable position as opposed to having your thumb
clamped on the D-pad.
you're rocking and rolling over these paths you will
encounter obstacles that you want to avoid and things
such as bananas that you want to collect. By collecting
bananas you will earn extra lives, and you're going
to need some because things get more difficult later
in the game. There are timed bonus stages in which
you can unlock more levels. There are also mini-games
but not as many as you might expect. There is bowling,
racing, fighting, golf, hockey and wars. All of the
games support up to four players. Overall, the games
are average, with the exception of the race game.
There's not enough depth in the rest of them to keep
your interest for any extended period.
involves rolling the Monkey Ball towards a group of
pins. The problem with this game is that you can't
control the monkey in the ball after you've launched
it down the lane. I suppose that would make the game
too easy but it would be interesting if you were allowed
one small change in direction at the halfway point.
Racing pits you against three other players in a fight
to the finish line. The "fight" comes in
as you pick up weapons along the track to use against
other players. The races include speed strips that
were stolen from Sonic which are like conveyor belts
that give you a speed boost when you run over them.
There are plenty of Sonic-influenced elements in the
game including the tracks themselves. With six different
tracks and a kart-racer style of gameplay, the Racing
mini-game has the most depth of all the mini-games.
Fighting mini-game outfits the monkeys with boxing
gloves in a fight to the finish. The idea is to punch
your competitors off the platform. The concept is
similar to Last Man Standing and King of the Hill.
The fighting moves are extremely limited and there
are only a few different platforms. The appeal of
this game is also extremely limited.
only one 18-hole golf course, you won't get much replay
value out of the golf mini-game. It plays out like
miniature golf course with a variety of obstacles
to overcome. By outlining a circle with the stylus
you will build up the required power to hit the ball.
Just aim and shoot. There's not much more to it than
is like playing an arcade version of air hockey, but
it does have some interesting twists making it the
most fun and inventive mini-game of the bunch. This
game takes up both screens with goals at the far end
of either side. You are able to draw your paddles
with the stylus. A portion of the paddles comes off
after each hit until you're basically defending your
net with a piece of gnat crap. To makes things even
more interesting there are switches on the sides of
the board that are capable of really mixing things
up. They can stretch your opponent's goal to the opposite
sides of the screen making scoring a virtual certainty
- unless your opponent manages to get his paddles
enlarged to the same proportions. Of course those
conditions can also be reversed, leaving you with
a small net which your opponent will find impossible
to score on. You can also trigger several pucks to
enter into the game for a frenzied round of scoring.
is really out of place here. It's a first-person shooter
that is so basic that it's really not much fun at
all. Not only are perspectives difficult to judge
but the controls are performed on the touch screen.
Tap on it to shoot and press the arrows to rotate.
It's slow and awkward and anything but fun.
Monkey Ball Touch & Roll has a colorful, anime
look to it that is aesthetically pleasing. The framerate
is steady at 60 fps and the animation is very smooth.
There is a decided lack of detail to some of the levels,
especially in the background where sometimes there's
nothing more than just some wallpaper patterns. The
monkey and the ball are presented in 2D but the tracks
actually look very good in 3D. The music is a bit
on the relaxed side but after an hour or so I began
to enjoy the slightly exotic and understated melodies.
can't go wrong with renting this game but if you've
played all of the console versions of the Monkey Ball
series then you might want to save your money and
rent something else since you've already experienced
everything this game has to offer. Even the touch
controls are more of a hindrance than a novelty.
Single-player Modes. Whether you're rolling through
the 120 stages in Challenge Mode, getting up to
speed in Practice Mode, or reviewing your glory
in Replay Mode, you're sure to have a ball.
Party Games. All new Monkey Wars and Monkey Air
Hockey join the roster of Super Monkey Ball favorites:
Monkey Race, Monkey Fight, Monkey Bowling, and Monkey
Your Friends to the Party. All party games support
up to four players and allow you to play as either
a boss or a normal player. If your friends don't
own a copy of the game, use DS Download to play
Monkey Wars and Monkey Air Hockey.
up and Play. By simply touching your stylus to the
screen, you're rolling. This makes it easy for both
new and familiar fans of the series to get in the