Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania review on Nintendo Switch

Reviewed by Ian Matties

2021 is the 20th Anniversary of the first Super Monkey Ball release, and what better way to celebrate than releasing a reimagining of the first 3 games in the series: Super Monkey Ball, Super Monkey Ball 2 and Super Monkey Ball Deluxe. 

In Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania, you play as, you guessed it, a monkey in a ball as you roll your way through the world.

Check out Ian's Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania pre-release live stream on Thursday September 30 at Noon EDT.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania Details

  • Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC
  • Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
  • Publisher: SEGA
  • Genre: Platform, Party
  • Modes: Single player, Local multiplayer
  • ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

A Puzzling Labyrinth

When I was a kid, I played these wooden labyrinth puzzle games where you attempt to roll a small metal ball to the end of the maze without letting it fall down one of the holes. Those mazes are essentially an easier version of Super Monkey Ball. The main game is single player only, and when you select it, you will immediately have 5 options:

  • Story Mode: consists of 10 worlds each containing 10 stages that increase in difficulty as you move through them.
  • SMB 1 Challenge Mode & SMB 2 Challenge Mode consist of challenging groups of levels at various difficulties as you attempt to achieve the fastest completion time including failed attempts.
  • SMB 1 Practice Mode & SMB 2 Practice Mode allow you to work through the challenge mode courses and these track your best times through the courses without including your failed attempts.

There is also a grayed-out option the Special Mode that contains 5 unlockable special modes. Each of these can be unlocked by the store using points that you earn in-game for completing stages and collecting bananas.

  • Reverse Mode starts you at the ends of 10 stages and challenges you to get back to the beginning.
  • Dark Banana Mode challenges you to get though 10 specific stages without collecting any bananas.
  • Golden Banana Mode presents the opposite challenge, where you have to collect all the bananas in the 10 selected stages.
  • Original Stage Mode contains 23 stages from 2001 & 2002 with their original difficulty.
  • DX Mode contains 46 stages from Super Monkey Ball Deluxe.

If you find yourself having trouble with any of the stages there are some options available to assist you. The Helper Function will double your time and allow you to go into slow motion mode to help you get through troubling sections. Alternatively, you can spend some of the points you have earned to simply skip the level and move on to the next one. There is also a jump button that you can unlock to help give you an additional boost when needed.

Within the pause menu you will also find a photo mode that will allow you to take a screenshot from many different angles and giving you customization options to get your photo just right.

Party Games

The local multiplayer party games really make the game fun. While you can play them in solo mode, they are a blast when you have the opportunity to get up to 3 friends to join you. There are 12 party games in all to enjoy and each one presents a unique play style that you and your friends will get many hours of enjoyment from. 

Ranking Challenge

In the ranking challenge you have the option to compete in a couple events.

  • The Main Game Time Attack allows you to challenge each of the 10 worlds from Story Mode in an attempt to get the fastest time. In this mode you can compete on your own or in a competitive mode against the ghost of a different player.
  • The Party Games Score Attack allows you to attempt to achieve the highest score in 4 of the party games.


There are nearly 750 missions that you can attempt to complete throughout all the modes available in the game. Completing them all is a challenge that will keep you coming back.


I previously mentioned some unlockable game modes, but there are more unlockables including more monkeys, characters from other Sega franchises and cosmetic options such as clothing and changing the appearance of your ball. There are even frames that you can unlock to help you frame the pictures you take in Photo Mode. 

There are even more unlockable characters coming in the future in the form of paid DLC.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is packed full of options for on your own or with your friends

Prior to this game I had never played a Super Monkey Ball game, and now I wish I had started the series sooner. I had so much fun challenging myself to get past difficult levels in the story mode.

Getting a few friends together to play through the party games was a blast. I’ll definitely be pulling this game out when I have the chance to play with others again!


  • More than 300 stages
  • Controls are simple and easy to pick up
  • Smooth graphics
  • Leaderboards and ghosts will help give you a challenge to overcome when others aren’t available


  • No online multiplayer
  • The difficulty really spikes as you get to the later stages