Best Super Monkey Ball Games In The Series (Ranked)

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Some game series are just surreal. Presenting ludicrous concepts and mechanics that absolutely make no sense, yet they’re hours of fun.

I mean, who could ever believe that monkeys like to chase bananas around inside transparent balls while their entire world tilts?

Well this would have been an absurd premise before the release of Monkey Ball.

Right from its first release in 2001, players knew they had something special in their hands.

Despite the greatness of the arcade game, Monkey Ball started becoming popular only after the GameCube port had been released, spawning a series of 19 titles that reinvented the experience while keeping as close as possible to series’ roots.

Some utterly failed, while others successfully honored the legacy of one of the best puzzle-platforming series of the last 20 years. Let’s take a look at the best-of-the-best in the Super Monkey Ball saga.


10. Super Monkey Ball Adventure (2006)

Super Monkey Ball Adventure PS2 Screenshot

Platforms: PS2, PSP, GameCube

Super Monkey Ball Adventure is packed with some real interesting ideas that could have been executed a little better.

The main story mode tries to combine the typical Super Monkey Ball gameplay formula with an open-ended world.

But the poor execution makes it cumbersome to play, at least for most new players. There are somea neat ideas here, such as a variety of power-ups that must be used properly to solve puzzles.

But what truly saves the game is the puzzle mode, which makes the gameplay like classic Super Monkey Ball. But it’s complete with new mechanics from story mode, and a nice selection of multiplayer mini-games.

AiAi, MeeMee, GonGon, and Baby find more than a few bumps in their road to adventure. But if you’re a die-hard fan of the series, you will still find some fun times in Super Monkey Ball Adventure.


9. Super Monkey Ball Touch & Roll (2005)

Super Monkey Ball Touch & Roll NDS Screenshot

Platforms: Nintendo DS

Super Monkey Ball Touch & Roll feels like a familiar experience. You roll a lot, while not exactly wanting to touch anything.

Motion and touch controls don’t gel particularly well with the Super Monkey Ball experience, mostly due to their lack of accuracy.

I think controlling the monkeys with the stylus is mostly fine, to be honest. But you will soon revert back to regular controls as you need to be as accurate as possible in some of the later stages.

Outside of touch controls and two new types of mini-games(Hockey and War), there isn’t a whole lot in the game that will surprise you. Granted the 100 stages are well-designed, but they’re not the best the series has ever seen.

And the mini-games are nothing more than a nice variation from all the rolling action.

But these problems can be overlooked when you can have a full Super Monkey Ball experience in the palm of your hands.


8. Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz (2006)

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz Wii Screenshot

Platforms: Wii

Super Monkey Ball and the Wii Remote were supposed to be a match made in heaven.

Unfortunately for many fans, it was not, but thankfully we got an HD Switch remaster that plays a whole lot smoother

On paper, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz comes with every feature that makes for a great Super Monkey Ball game:

  • 80 cleverly designed stages set in colorful worlds
  • New mechanics like the ability to jump
  • A massive collection of mini-games that use the Wii Remote in different ways

Sadly many of these concepts are not executed so well, as the Wii Remote controller feels a bit intuitive here, forcing players to twist their wrist to tilt the world.

As you can imagine this results in some imprecise movements and numbness in the wrist.

However, if you can find a way to play the game without hurting your wrists, you will definitely appreciate the level design.

The levels in Banana Blitz are among the best the series has ever seen. This is remaking levels the right way!

But if you want to wait it out, you could just get the HD Remaster. Your wrists will be grateful.


7. Super Monkey Ball: Step & Roll (2010)

Super Monkey Ball: Step & Roll Wii Screenshot

Platforms: Wii

Step & Roll literally took a step away from the joystick controls of the original arcade release, rolling onto the Wii Balance Board in a clever way.

Unlike Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, which could only be controlled with the Wii Remote, Super Monkey Ball Step & Roll uses the Wii Balance Board to tilt the world.

This lets the monkeys move around to collect bananas, find treasure, and reach the exit in classic Super Monkey Ball fashion.

While the control scheme works great, the higher difficulty level of some stages makes the whole experience feel very frustrating. Many of these stages come with a strict time limit and complex designs that make it difficult to recover from a mistake.

And even switching to Wii Remote does little to alleviate the issue. With an uneven collection of mini-games to boot, Super Monkey Ball Step & Roll is far from being the best entry in the series, but it deserves to be remembered for a lot of fun hours.

As stepping on the Balance Board and rolling is incredibly fun alone in your living room.


6. Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD PS4 Gameplay

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD fixes most of the issues seen in the original Wii release to present a better experience.

It easily earns my unending gratitude.

The HD remaster doesn’t change the experience all that much, which is fine! The gameplay was always great in this title.

But the removal of the dreaded motion controls makes Banana Blitz HD play exactly like a regular entry in the series. Which in turn makes the experience a lot less frustrating and way more fun.

The Time Attack and Decathlon modes, complete with online leaderboards, are very welcome additions that extend the game’s life and may keep you hooked for years.


5. Super Monkey Ball 3D (2011)

Super Monkey Ball 3D NDS Screenshot

Platforms: Nintendo 3DS

Super Monkey Ball 3D says everything you need to know right in the title.

The game marks not only the series’ debut on the 3DS, but it also features 3 different experiences for the price of one!

Super Monkey Ball 3D features the classic Super Monkey Ball mode alongside two particularly uninspired mini-games: Monkey Kart and Mokey Fight.

These do feel like blatant rip-offs of Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. Yet they’re still pretty engaging, really.

The main mode, however, is as fun as Monkey Ball has ever been. It features eight different worlds with different themes and different hazards. Plus a varied level design that includes labyrinths that put your world tilting skills to the test, along with plenty of secrets to find.

Truth be told, the game is much easier compared to other entries. So the most hardcore monkey ballers may not appreciate the game a whole lot… but if this is your first foray in this crazy series, you will love it so much that you might even consider this title the GOAT.


4. Super Monkey Ball Jr (2002)

Super Monkey Ball Jr GBA Screenshot

Platforms: GameBoy Advance

Super Monkey Ball Jr. deserves to be called a miracle. Why, you ask?

Because it’s the full Super Monkey Ball experience on a portable console. An old-school portable console, I might add.

The GBA, as great a system as it is, was not known for its 3D capabilities(it basically had none).

So imagine the surprise of Super Monkey Ball fans when they saw the original game get a complete and extremely faithful handheld port.

Sure, the game hasn’t changed much here since its original release. So you’ll be twisting around narrow pathways, getting on rotating platforms, hitting pinball bumpers, all the stuff you’ve been doing for years.

But can you imagine the satisfaction of being able to do it on the go? Some Monkey Balls are truly priceless!


3. Super Monkey Ball (2001)

Super Monkey Ball 2001 Nintendo GameCube Screenshot

Platforms: GameCube

The game that started it all.

Super Monkey Ball established most of the series’ gameplay mechanics.

And like in all the other games, players guide the monkey-trapped-in-a-ball AiAi by tilting the world in what effectively is a modern take of the classic Marble Madness. At the time it was released, this was a unique premise powered by excellent level design that makes each stage fast-paced and exciting.

The main mode is not all that different from the arcade game. But the inclusion of Practice Mode, which helps you become a Monkey Ball master, expands the experience considerably.

Not to mention the Competitive Mode which allows multiple players to compete against eachother. The original really had a little something for everyone.

And if the main modes end up boring you into oblivion, you can enjoy a selection of mini-games that put a Monkey Ball spin to classics like kart racing, bowling, Pilot Wings, and more.

A very straightforward title, for all intents and purposes. But a very good one that has only been surpassed by its direct sequel.


2. Super Monkey Ball 2 (2002)

Super Monkey Ball 2 GameCube 2002 Screenshot

Platforms: GameCube

With a legacy to surpass that of the original, life was not easy for Super Monkey Ball 2.

High expectations can be damning. But Ai Ai, Mee Mee, Gon Gon, Baby, and the development team rose up to the challenge.

And emerged victorious.

Super Monkey Ball 2 cranks up the volume on the series’ formula by just straight-up offering more:

  • More stages
  • More complex design
  • More mini-games
  • More fun

Level design here is particularly remarkable, as it toned down the arcadey nature of the original’s design in favor of one that places more emphasis on puzzle solving.

This forces players to turn on their brains as they tilt the world and rush past obstacles in search of bananas.

And if the 100 new stages are not enough to challenge your Monkey Ball mastery, you can take on Challenge Mode and see if having a limited number of lives is enough to curb your hubris.

It is truly the best entry in the series.

Or rather, would have been, if the game didn’t get paired with the original for the ultimate Super Monkey Ball package!


1. Super Monkey Ball Deluxe

Super Monkey Ball Deluxe on PS2

Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox

Super Monkey Ball Deluxe doesn’t require a pompous introduction.

All you need to know is that it includes the first two entries in the series in all of their glory.

You know what this means, right?

160 total levels of stunning ball-rolling, godly world-tilting, and hectic banana collecting, coupled with 12 multiplayer mini-games that are all available from the get-go.

Admittedly, the number of additions over the originals feels a bit limited.

But if you have never played either of the games, there’s no more convenient way to do so that with Super Monkey Ball Deluxe.

Just maybe avoid the PlayStation 2 release, as there are lots of complains from players about minor technical issues.

Maybe one day we’ll get a PS4/PS5 remake of the iconic duo that really defined this series. Or even a PlayStation store release!

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