Close search results

Super Monkey Ball (Series) Review

Play YouTube video

Posted: 3 months ago.

Author: @GeekDadGamer.


Super Monkey Ball is a rolling and balancing game where you tilt platforms to control the path of a hamster ball containing a monkey. The peculiar premise is matched with accurate challenging gameplay and some great multiplayer modes (like Monkey Target) that could be games in their own right.

Play involves tilting the world to control the speed and trajectory of the ball. The goal of the main game is to reach the goal gate before the timer runs out, and without falling off the floor. You can collect extra points via the bananas on the stage.

In addition to the main reach-the-goal mode, there are a number of party games.
  • Monkey Race: Up to four players race around six courses divided into three difficulty levels a little like Mario Kart.
  • Monkey Fight: Up to four players simultaneously engage in combat by rolling in any direction with the analogue stick and using the A button to punch opponents.
  • Monkey Target: Up to four players take turns rolling their monkey down a ramp, launching it into the sky to land closest to the target.
  • Monkey Billiards: Up to two players take turns competing in a game of nine-ball pool.
  • Monkey Bowling: Up to four players take turns competing in a game of ten-pin bowling.
  • Monkey Golf: Up to four players take turns competing across 18 holes in a game of golf with stroke play scoring, or two players compete using match play scoring.

The game has been released in a large number of iterations on most consoles and gaming platforms. Where these offer tilt controllers, like the Wii, Switch or smartphone, this is used to control the rolling of the ball. Most recently Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania will bring an updated collection of the main games to PlayStation, Xbox and Switch.
Early games use traditional controllers to play while many recent titles utilize modern technology, such as the accelerometers of the Wii and iPhone titles. The gameplay is similar to Atari Games' 1984 arcade video game Marble Madness.

The iOS version in 2008 was one of the first games on the App Store and was the best selling app on launch day.6 A 2006 study conducted by the Beth Israel Medical Center found that surgeons who played Super Monkey Ball for 20 minutes prior to performing a surgical drill finished slightly faster and made fewer mistakes.7 In 2009, Edge ranked the first Super Monkey Ball #39 on its list of "The 100 Best Games To Play Today", stating "Seeing its sturdy physics model being used to perform incredible acrobatic feats shows just how finely honed it is."8 Writing in 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die, Christian Donlan described Super Monkey Ball as "one of Sega's grade-A triumphs."9 An enhanced engine of the Gamecube games was used in F-Zero GX,10 which was critically acclaimed11 and Nintendo considered a step forward for the franchise.12 The developers of Super Monkey Ball went on to make the Yakuza series.13

When commenting on the differences of the franchise between the Gamecube games and the Wii entries with Banana Blitz and Step & Roll in a Tokyo Game Show 2009 interview, Toshihiro Nagoshi stated that they were made easier for kids and families. However, he stated that if they got the chance, they definitely would like to go back and make a game in the style of the old games that particularly the fans overseas want.14 Due to the older demographic of the PlayStation Vita, the difficulty for Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz was made more on par with the Gamecube entries.15 The voice behind the game's narration was uncredited. However, on December 7th 2019 YouTuber Nick Robinson published a video which reported that the narrator had been Tokyo-based voice actor Brian Matt. 16 The 2020 battle royale game Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout has been described as "Super Monkey Ball for the Fortnite generation" by Tom Wiggins of Stuff magazine.17

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 23/06/2001, updated in 2021

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Android, DS, PS Vita, PS4, PS5, Switch, Wii, Xbox, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Genres: Physically Active, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @SuperMonkeyBall


Duration: It takes between 2 minutes and 5 minutes to play a round of this game.
Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room, but you can’t play it online. Although not online, Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania offers online leaderboards.


Super Monkey Ball usually costs £14.99 to £44.99.

Super Monkey Ball 3D

Switch Store 2DS|3DS £14.99

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania

XBox Store Xbox One £34.99
PlayStation Store PS5 £34.99

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania Digital Deluxe Edition

XBox Store Xbox One £44.99
PlayStation Store PS5 £44.99

Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz

PlayStation Store PS Vita £24.99

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD

XBox Store Xbox One £24.99
PlayStation Store PS4 £24.99
Switch Store Switch £24.99
Does not offer in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 3. Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz has additional information. At the end of each world a boss battle occurs. Players need to roll into a certain body part to defeat the boss, which only results in comical, very mild violence. There's also a mini-game where players fly a spaceship and need to shoot stars at incoming enemies. They explode when defeated. While this violence is a bit more frenetic than the rest of the game, the child-friendly setting mitigates the violence and makes it very mild.

Skill Rating

This game is enjoyed by 10+ year-olds as it's a good match for their ability and maturity. Although it seems like a game for really young players, the level of control required (and the frustration when you fall) makes it more suitable for older children.


We haven't documented accessibility features for this game yet. Our Super Monkey Ball Accessibility Report details system-wide settings that may help, and suggests similar games with accessibility features. Tweet the developer (@SuperMonkeyBall) to let them know about our Accessibility Questionnaire.

Image of the cover of the hardback edition of the Taming Gaming book  by Andy Robertson Image 311 Thank you for using our resource, supported by AskAboutGames, ParentZone and PlayAbility Initiative. We are editorially independent, written by parents for parents, but welcome sponsorship, partnership and suggestions. Email our editor for details on these opportunities.

The information on this database is designed to support and complement the in-depth discussion and advice about video game "addiction", violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. If you have any concerns or questions in these areas, email our editor who is quick to respond or can arrange for a one-to-one conversation.

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Discord | Contact | Help