Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble review

by on June 24, 2024
Reviewed On

Anyone who has been playing video games for long enough will have some core gaming memories that mark important moments in their life of pushing buttons. For me one of those is playing my first Nintendo GameCube game in a local game shop before the console was released. As a long term Mario fan I was most excited to try out Luigi’s Mansion, but the game running on the console available first was Super Monkey Ball. I immediately fell in love with AiAi and companies’ ball rolling adventure, thanks to its fun arcade-style gameplay and the selection of delightful minigames that were perfect for playing with friends. Although the series still holds a special place in my heart, many of the more recent entries haven’t connected with me quite the same as the launch title I loved all those years ago. Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble might change that though, thanks to its fantastic stages and fully fleshed out online multiplayer modes.

As is almost always the case with Super Monkey Ball, Banana Rumble does have a story relating to delicious fruit and mysterious treasure. The now ridiculously large group of monkeys from various games all set out on an adventure to find the Legendary Banana, while some shifty characters aim to do the same for more nefarious purposes. Really it just serves as a framework to roll around some stages though, which you’ll be doing a lot of.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble

There are two hundred stages to be played in Adventure Mode, each with the same simple objective: roll through the goal gate. Each stage serves as an obstacle course to be overcome, with narrow paths, fiendish seesaws, and pesky bumpers all placed with the aim of knocking you off the edge and forcing you to start over. It’s an exceptionally simple concept for a game, but carefully navigating the environment with the lightest of touches of the analogue stick is as tense and compelling now as it ever was.

There’s a single new addition to your monkey moveset in Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble, and I’ll admit this concerned me after the addition of jumping in a past entry that shall not be named. The new dash in Banana Rumble is thankfully nothing like that, though, and instead makes for some interesting strategies. Some stages might be beatable in mere seconds if you boost into a little bump at just the right angle, or perhaps a small boost at the last second might level you out when rolling out of control. Nothing feels better than soaring to success after a perfect dash, which is especially handy when you’re trying to accomplish the secondary objectives.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble

Each stage of Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble has three bonus objectives to accomplish, which will reward you with bonus points you can spend at the shop. The first of these is for beating the level in under a certain number of seconds, which is very often easier said than done. There’s also an objective for collecting over a certain threshold of bananas, and for finding a golden banana hidden somewhere that’s usually a bit tricky to get to. These objectives might not sound like much, but especially when playing through the first few worlds as an experienced ball roller they added a whole extra level of challenge that I was craving.

For the single player adventure mode alone I would have been more than happy to pay the price of admission for Banana Rumble, but for many it won’t even be where they spend the bulk of their time. The sixteen player multiplayer mode features five totally different game types, as well as the ability to play against bots, with friends locally or your preference of friends or random players online. With a full on (free) battle pass of outfits and ball patterns to unlock too there’s even a good reason to keep coming back for those who need those hooks.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble

The best of the five multiplayer modes is the race mode, which sees sixteen players all fighting to make it to the end of a long winding course of peril. It’s harder to carefully cross narrow paths when fifteen other monkeys are trying to roll into first place, and with weapons like baseball bats and missiles to aim at each other, your chance of staying on the course and rolling through the goal in first place is pretty slim.

Goal Rush is a blast too, and is played by two teams of eight instead of being more of a free-for-all. A massive downhill wedge full of goal hoops is the playing field for this battle, with harder to reach goals worth more points for the team. The last monkey to roll through a goal paints it in their team’s colour, and bonus points are awarded for each of these when the time runs out. It’s frantic, fun, and just the right amount of ridiculous for my liking.

Not all the multiplayer modes are created equal though, which is unfortunate when they’re selected at random online. Robot smash involves teams dashing into bots as hard as possible to score the most points, Banana Hunt is a race to collect the most potassium packed fruit, and Ba-Boom gives bombs to a selection of the monkeys which can be passed around until a timer ends. All three of these modes are functional enough and have their moments, but just can’t hold a candle to the better options.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble

All your success in both the single player and multiplayer will earn you points, which are used to buy all sorts of fun bits and bobs from the store. Everything from new characters (with different stats that might make racing around courses easier), silly outfits, and vibrant colours of ball can be bought with your hard earned cash, all of which are perfect if you want to stand out in the crowd in an online match.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble is a wonderful new game in a series I love, but it’s not without a few faults. While the dash is a nice addition to the game, it can mean that luck is rewarded more than balancing skill in quite a few levels. There are some serious framerate issues too that you’ll have to deal with when playing online, which although not always egregious are a bit off-putting at the start of a race.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble is one of the most entertaining new Monkey Ball games we’ve had in a long time, with an exciting new movement mechanic, loads of levels, and a fleshed out multiplayer mode that’ll keep you coming back for more.


Wonderful ball rolling gameplay
Boost and secondary objectives are great
The online multiplayer is a blast and fully fleshed out
A ridiculous amount of content


Some framerate issues during online play
The dash takes the skill out of some levels
Not all the multiplayer modes are great

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble is a great entry in the series, with loads of single player stages and fantastic frantic online multiplayer.