Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Super Monkey Ball 2

Developer: Other Ocean
Publisher: Sega
Release Date: Dec. 2, 2009
System: iPhone/iPod Touch
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Super Monkey Tilt 'N' Tumble

0:00 My first experience with iPhone gaming was playing the first Super Monkey Ball on a friend's brand-new phone just after it launched. I found the game to be an impossible-to-control mess, which is a shame, because I loved the console Super Monkey Ball games. Here's hoping this one is an improvement.

0:01 A few logos, then right to the title screen, with a picture of the four core Monkeys and some bouncy, catchy music. Baby has on a Geordi La Forge visor for some reason.

0:02 Mini-games? There are mini-games? Nice! I'll save them for dessert, though. For now, it's on to the main game. There's an option for a tutorial, but I think I know how this works by now and just dive in.

0:03 I pick Gongon, because he's the biggest and manliest of the available monkeys by far. I can spin a globe around to choose what world I want, but everything except for Jumble Jungle is an inky black. Let's do this!

0:04 "Welcome to Super Monkey Ball 2. Let's cover a few basic tips before getting into the game." Wait ... I thought I skipped the tutorial. Oh well. Tilt the iPod to move ... a tilt meter in the corner shows whether you're centered or not. I roll forward down an arrow-straight path and reach the white light as instructed. I like how the game treats holding the iPod downward at a natural, 45-degree viewing angle as "centered." Too many other games force you to hold it level and look straight down.

0:05 A second tutorial level introduces turning, with nice high walls to protect me from falling to my doom. Turns are a little shallower than I expect, but when I slow down they get sharper. So far the controls feel entirely natural and intuitive. I think they may have actually gotten it right this time.



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