There’s a bit of a monkey’s paw paradox to Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD: SEGA’s vibrant Marble Madness-esque roll-‘em-up has finally made its long-awaited PlayStation 4 debut, but not even apes would have picked this wretched ex-Nintendo Wii exclusive as the version to port. Maligned at launch for its miserable motion controls, action has been translated to the DualShock 4’s analogue stick with some success, though the level design – butchered by the addition of a jump mechanic – takes a significant step back from the original GameCube classics.
The core gameplay concept remains faithful at least, as you’re tasked with rolling towards goal gates, snagging any spinning Del Montes along the way. Boss fights add a combat-themed twist to the format, though in truth they’re frustrating affairs; weak points are telegraphed clearer than a baboon’s buttocks, but the imprecise manner in which you position your primate means that you’re inevitably going to miss your target. A lot. At least the visuals, repurposed in the Unity engine, look clear and colourful; even the soundtrack, recreated as it’s been in places, is decent.
Unfortunately, the minigames – a selling point for the first two entries in the franchise – flop harder than a gorilla on a trampoline. Their ranks – down from 50 in the original to 10 of the “best” here – include snowboarding and a terrible version of Monkey Target, but not even considerable effort can salvage these irritating alternative activities. The package is rounded out with various Time Trial options and the minigame-powered Decathlon, but not even the addition of online leaderboards can make the title’s awful adaptation of Whack-a-Mole entertaining.