Member Log In or Register


Columns & Editorials
Podcast (RSS)

Twitter Feed

reviews info and tools

Super Monkey Ball Touch & Roll Package Art

Super Monkey Ball Touch & Roll

Disappointing. That about sums up Super Monkey Ball Touch & Roll. Granted, somewhere in there is some fun to be had, but glaring control problems hold this title back from living up to the pedigree of its fantastic console siblings.


Super Monkey Ball Touch & Roll features an impressive 3D engine, far more advanced than the franchise’s previous handheld offering on the GBA. During the main game the action takes place on the top screen of the DS, while the bottom screen features a larger representation of your character. While the individual stages appear to be almost on par with the GameCube versions of the franchise, the characters you control are represented by a simplistic 2D sprite. It’s a minor complaint, but has a minimal affect on the overall look of the game.

The playing field of each stage is composed of bold, bright colors. The backgrounds of each stage feature detailed, pre-rendered panoramic pictures. For anyone that has played a Monkey Ball game, they will be happy to see how faithful the developers of the DS version were to the look of previous games in the series.

The Party games included with this version feature a good attention to detail. Monkey Golf and Monkey Bowling feature the same detailed mini-golf turf and 3D-rendered castle as the console versions before them.


The Super Monkey Ball franchise has never been known to feature impressive scores. They generally consist of pop-inspired, simplistic tunes. However, Super Monkey Ball Touch & Roll contains some of the worst music in the series. The music feels as if it’s been ripped directly from a public access children’s show. The music has a catchy, rhythmic beat to most of it, but the melody will force you to play the game with no sound.

Sound effects seem to have been taken directly from the console versions. Whether it’s the “boing-coin” noise when you grab a banana, the “wot-wot-wot” sound of your monkey speeding up or the annoying cries of your little simian in a hamster ball, the game appears to have it all.


The franchise first appeared on the GameCube back in 2001. People were pleasantly surprised with the addictiveness of its simplistic game play. The game features over 100 different stages, comprised of 10 different themes. The object of each stage is to navigate your monkey to pick up bananas and find the gate. Every 100 bananas you collect will give you an extra life and the gate leads to the next stage.

A key feature of the console versions is that you don’t need to press any buttons during gameplay, you just need a simple analog thumb stick. This is where the glaring control problem mares the DS gameplay.

Several developers, including Nintendo themselves, have tried to map a type of analog control to the touch screen, but with less than stellar results. Super Monkey Ball Touch & Roll, unfortunately, didn’t find a way to improve on the formula.

You can control your monkey using two methods: the D-pad or the touch screen. The D-pad is either fully on or fully off. When you press a direction, the game features no progression of momentum. For example, in the original Super Mario Bros. on the NES, while controlling Mario with the D-pad, the longer you held down a certain direction, the more he would speed up. If you needed him to ever so slightly move toward an edge, you repeatedly tapped the direction you wanted him to go and he would merely inch forward. Super Monkey Ball Touch & Roll has no such ability to control the momentum using the D-pad. Press any direction and the entire stage tilts immediately to its furthermost position and causes your monkey to zip in that direction.

The other control method, featured in the name of the title, is the touch screen. Unfortunately, this control method is equally awkward. Essentially, the exact middle of the DS touch screen is the default position, much like an untouched analog stick that is centered. Touch anywhere on the touch screen in relation to the center and the stage will tilt in that direction. You will find yourself frequently falling off the edge in the beginning, but you can become semi-proficient with this method, though it will never feel as natural or responsive as an analog controller.


Four of classic Party games return via single-cart download, including Race, Fight, Bowling and Golf, in addition to two new games, Hockey and War. The familiar Monkey Race and Monkey Fight feel broken, as the action has been shifted to the bottom screen, forcing you to block your view with your stylus as you touch the direction you want to go. Monkey Golf has a simple and fun swing mechanic, but features nowhere near the level of control as introduced in True Swing Golf for the Nintendo DS.

By far the worst controlling party game is Monkey War. At its heart, it is a first person shooter in the same vein as Faceball 2000 for the SNES. You move in any direction with the D-pad and you use the touch screen to look around. However, you can only turn to look side to side by dragging your styles across the bottom section of the DS touch screen. In order to shoot your opponents, you simply tap the enemy on screen. Left-handed players are simply left in the cold with no way to adjust this control setup. The ABXY buttons simply do nothing, forcing left handers to use the stylus in their right hand. Lame.


Good looking, familiar visuals? Check. Assortment of unlockable party games? Check. Ability to actually play the game? Well…at least it looks good.

Super Monkey Ball Touch & Roll is a game that had high expectations from its fans, but ultimately lets everybody down. If you are a fan of the series it’s worth a rental just to see some of the inventive stages introduced, but a purchase of $30 is hardly recommended.

final score 6/10

Staff Avatar Ryan Heath
Staff Profile | Email
"Be sure to drink your Ovaltine."

Bookmark and Share
This Story in Printer Friendly Format

E-Mail This Story

Search Our Website:

All original content ©1996 - 2010 Nintendojo is an independent website and is not affiliated with Nintendo of America or Nintendo Co. Ltd. All third party images, characters, and names are property of their original creators. About | Contact | Hiring