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Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

Waning primate influence

Product: Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition | Developer: Other Ocean Interactive | Publisher: Sega | Format: iPad | Genre: Arcade, Platform | Players: 1-4 | Networking: on one device | Version: Europe
Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition iPad, thumbnail 1
Such is our cultural closeness with monkeys - especially of the cartoon kind - that it's easy to imagine their eyes slowly and comically widening as they spy an enormous stash of bananas.

But if they're not ripe for eating, they'd be no good for monkey. He doesn't have access to a frying pan and cooker.

It's a similar situation with Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition, which goes for quantity over quality when it comes to gameplay, offering up a whole pile of rawness.

Dozens of levels and clever multiplayer mini-games make it an attractive, value-packed game. Yet, its unrefined controls and lack of options demonstrate the need for further ripening.

It's not that effort wasn't made to craft a compelling iPad version out of the iPhone's Super Monkey Ball 2.

On the contrary, developer Other Ocean deserves credit for introducing a swathe of exclusive levels in the new Far East world. This, along with an extra mini-game, ensure a port that is pertinent and reasonable for the price.

Pernicious peels

The trouble stems from the quality of gameplay - specifically, the mechanics of controls - and not the amount of gameplay offered. Guiding a monkey ball through timed stages is handled via tips and tilts of your iPad but the control is just too stiff for my liking.

You're bound to slip up due to the rigid nature of movement. And turning is problematic. There's little gradient between slight and hard turns. This puts a limit on the speed at which you can manoeuvre through levels.

You're constantly speeding up and slowing down to make turns.

It's an irritating flaw, particularly when encountered in easy levels that you could zip through, but are hampered by the arbitrary slowdown. To be fair, it's less of an issue in advanced levels where intricate hazards negate the need for speed. Yet even then, you never feel as though you have full mastery over your monkey.

Ape escape

Hand-in-hand with the unrefined controls is a stunning lack of options. Ignoring criticism regarding the lack of calibration and sensitivity options in the original iPhone and iPod touch version, this iPad edition forgoes them too.

Whatever the game sets as your neutral position is what you're stuck with, whether you like it or not. A tilt meter that shows the degree at which you're tilting during a level is a pathetic substitute.

Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition sabotages itself with the lack of standard options and inadequate controls then. Such errors in the game's design demonstrate the need for further development; ripening before the picking.
Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 13 May 2010
Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition has plenty of good gameplay waiting to be peeled back, but its raw controls need ripening before it's recommendable
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