Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble - Switch Review

"Classic Super Monkey Ball fun through-and-through"

Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble - Switch Review
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There was once a period where console iterations of Super Monkey Ball were scarce, featuring a nine-year gap between Super Monkey Ball: Step & Roll (Wii, 2010) and Super Monkey Ball: Bana Blitz HD (Switch, 2019). But in the past five years, fans have been feasting, with the new Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble being the third console entry to date.

This newest entry is a brand-new, from the ground-up rendition and features the whole shebang: a full campaign story mode, multiplayer, new modes and more. The story features a new monkey in Palette, looking to find her father as he went on a venture to find the Legendary Banana. This is pure Super Monkey Ball-in fun, so let's roll right in!

The Good

Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble attempts to go back to its roots with the gameplay that fans have soft spots for. You control not the monkey ball but the stage, tilting it to guide the $2 gacha toy around the place until you reach the end. You also have a spin dash that'd make Sonic himself proud!

The monkeys have always been adorable and customising them in cute little outfits is part of the fun. As you play the main campaign, you'll earn currency based on your scores and with this, you can buy new attire for your monkey and their ball. It's a little silly, and also a little grindy if you want to unlock all of them but hey, it's better than paying real money for cosmetics. Oh wait, there are additional characters and cosmetics available as separate paid DLC... never mind.

Each playable character has its own set of stats, including weighing speed, brake, weight and spin. This is nice as oftentimes, having characters that only feature cosmetic differences discourages you from trying anyone but your favourite based on aesthetics alone. Here, it encouraged me to try different characters for different challenges, and that felt rewarding in its own right.

There's an absolute tonne of replayability here, with time attack modes and a plethora of Battle modes. The latter is where I found the most enjoyment, featuring five different modes (Race, Banana Hunt, Ba-BOOM!, Goal Rush and Robot Smash), each with a few stages unique to them. It's nice to see developers not simply re-using existing tracks for different modes (looking at you Mario Kart 8's Battle mode on the Wii U).


  • Just fun, classic Super Monkey Ball
  • Adorable customisation
  • Unique character stats
  • A plethora of modes beyond the main campaign

The Bad

The plot is... fine? No, serviceable. Yeah, I'm going to go with serviceable. You meet a new monkey by the name of Palette who is looking for her treasure-loving father since he went missing, so the logical solution is to collect the seven trophy things in order to locate the Legendary Banana - Sure. Palette also suffers from an affliction where she has no idea how to make a good first impression, with the opening cutscene consisting of her stealing and rolling away with AiAi's banana, only to reveal that she needs their help and that she was testing them. As you unlock each new world, you'll be treated to new cutscenes that steer further into lazy storytelling tropes, with a ragtag band of bully thieves who want to steal all of the OOPLas because... I don't know, they're bully thieves. Like I said, lazy storytelling.

There are some pretty significant frame rate dips in any multiplayer mode, and this was quite surprising to me. Normally, when we see frame rate dips on third-party games on Switch, it's because it's a game made for more powerful consoles and then stripped back for the hybrid; however, Banana Rumble is releasing exclusively on Switch. The co-op mode is serviceable, but the multiplayer modes with more than one character, even if it's against AI CPU characters, is quite significant.


  • Lazy storytelling
  • Some frame rate struggles

Final Score: 7/10

If it weren't for the extra battle modes and decent replayability, I probably would've gone with a six, but it's that which keeps its head above water and carries it through. The core gameplay is classic Super Monkey Ball fun through-and-through, and fans of the series will revel in that. I had good mindless fun with this one; it was easy to get lost in the fun and before long, I found I had been playing for a few hours without realising it. It's just... nothing special, you know?

Thank you for checking out our Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble Switch review, thank you to SEGA (via Five Star Games PR) for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: