Is Super Monkey Ball Jr. worth playing in 2020?

Sankar123
4 min readJun 14, 2020

Introduction

Its graphics are striking, features many worlds, and lets the main character run around in a ball. Yes, I’m talking about none other than Super Monkey Ball Jr. Released on November 29, 2002 for the Game Boy Advance, this game is one that GBA game collectors would definitely want to add to their collection, despite the fact that it identifies as more of a puzzle game.

Screenshot by @TheRetroPhilosopher. Super Monkey Ball Jr.

Game Modes

A good place to start is the two different game modes that Super Monkey Ball Jr. has to offer. They are called “Main Game” and “Mini Games”. I don’t have the mini games unlocked, but I will go through the rest. After you click “Main Game” it then offers two extra modes called “Normal Mode” and “Practice Mode”. As obvious as it sounds, “Normal Mode” is the regular version of the game where you progress from the Easy stages to the Expert stages, which I’ll get into later. There’s Multiplayer too, but I’m not going to talk about that.

Screenshots by @TheRetroPhilosopher. Two different modes

On the other hand, Practice Mode enables you to practice any stage you have unlocked on Normal Mode. This can help improve your skills, so you can play the stages like a pro.

Character Time!

Super Monkey Ball Jr. features four characters. AiAi, MeeMee, Baby and GonGon. AiAi is my personal favourite! Each character has different stats that differentiate them from one another and these stats are Ball Size, Acceleration, Speed, Weight and Jump. I will provide the following stats for each character down below.

AiAi:

|Ball Size= 3| |Acc.= 3| |Weight= 3| |Speed= 3| |Jump= 3|

MeeMee:

|Ball Size= 3| |Acc.= 3| |Weight= 2| |Speed= 4| |Jump= 4|

Baby:

|Ball Size= 1| |Acc.= 4| |Weight= 1| |Speed= 4| |Jump= 4|

GonGon:

|Ball Size= 5| |Acc.= 1| |Weight= 5| |Speed= 5| |Jump= 2|

By the way, did you know AiAi and MeeMee are husband and wife and Baby is their son?

Screenshot by @TheRetroPhilosopher. The different characters.

Gameplay (FINALLY!)

Now we can finally talk about the gameplay! The only control the player uses is the D-Pad. You play as AiAi or any other character, who runs in a ball and the objective of each level is to collect as many bananas as possible and make it to the finish line within a certain time limit. Super Monkey Ball Jr. also has bonus levels too!

Screenshots by @TheRetroPhilosopher. Regular levels and Bonus levels

Potential Issues

Super Monkey Ball Jr. has a lot to offer, especially with its memorable gameplay experience, but don’t think this game is completely flaw-free. The one and major problem I have is how the controls affect the mechanics.

On Floor 6, there are slopes everywhere. Not a big problem as it sounds now but the issue is that the character/sprite goes down fast and there’s no way to slow down so you can turn and collect the bananas.

I strongly wish that SEGA could’ve incorporated the “B” Button as a control to stop. This way, it would be easier.

Screenshot by @TheRetroPhilosopher. Floor 6 Issues

Is it Worth it in 2020?

Super Monkey Ball Jr. is an excellent game to play with its nice charm and everything good about it. Even though it uses the D-Pad as the only needed control, the controlling met most of my expectations and offered a lot. I also love how it revolves around the idea of monkeys; I’d say Super Monkey Ball Jr. is worth playing today in 2020. Sure, there are other Super Monkey Ball games out there, including the newer version, but you can buy them if you want to. Like I said before, this is a game that GBA game collectors would want to add to their collection. If you’re not a collector, you can still buy it. I’d suggest looking online or at some game stores that sell retro games.

That’s all I have time for today. If you didn’t read my last blog post, check it out at my profile @TheRetroPhilosopher. Thank you for reading and I shall see you soon in the next blog post.

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Sankar123
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Hi everyone! I hope you enjoy my /blogs/stories/ about games and tech.