Fast-paced puzzle solving; high replayability; tons of content; able to record gameplay.
Lack of new mechanics; every world looks the same; mediocre soundtrack.
Whenever I find myself with nothing to play, there will always something coming out on the Nintendo eShop to keep me occupied, no matter what it is. Take Banana Bliss: Jungle Puzzles, for example. I only found out about the game on its release date in the middle of December, yet my interest piqued immediately upon seeing it. Despite being something that I never asked for, developer Mechanic Arms truly made something special with its latest eShop title, and I’m glad I was able to find it.
In Banana Bliss, you must navigate Morris the monkey through a series of puzzles in order to collect all of the hearts scattered around a level for his soul mate, Molly the monkey. Each level is timed, so it’s important that Morris accomplishes his objective as quickly as possible. To get through each room, Morris will have to kick boulders, push obstacles, fight or avoid enemies, ascend using fans, fling himself horizontally using springs, and lift blocks that suspend themselves in mid-air for a few seconds. These gameplay mechanics may not sound overly difficult, but they can provide quite a challenge as the player progresses through Banana Bliss’ 350 levels. I breezed passed the game’s first 100 levels, but as I continued to play, I started to struggle due to the game’s tough level design. Thankfully, retrying a level is as simple as pressing a button and is completely free of any loading times whatsoever, making numerous attempts easy for the player.
Yet, collecting all of the hearts is not the only challenge that the game presents to you, as there is also a hidden bunch of bananas within each level. Because they are initially invisible, the only way to get these bananas is to search every nook and cranny of a level. This helps make each level replayable, as you may not always be able to get both the hearts and the hidden bananas in one try. You’ll want to collect these bananas too, since they unlock new levels to explore. They also unlock a video recording of your playthrough, which is not only cool to watch, but could also aid you in speed runs. By watching these videos, you’ll be able to strategize your movements and plan out a more efficient route that will lead to an even faster time. This makes Banana Bliss even more replayable, which is terrific in a game that’s already filled with a ton of levels.
However, the game is severely lacking in variety, which serves to hamper the experience. Every set of 50 levels is contained within its own world. But, each of the game’s seven worlds fails to distinguish itself with any unique traits. Every single world contains boring brown bricks and a jungle background. While the jungle background does vary a bit from each world, they largely look the same. Not only that, but these worlds also play very similarly to each other as well, since the game never adds any new mechanics after the second world. The game is still a blast to play, but its magic definitely starts to fade after you’re attempting to do your 200th block puzzle in another jungle-themed environment. The game’s soundtrack is nothing special either, as it’s full of unmemorable tunes that make each world appear even duller to me.
Aside from the overall presentation and lack of gameplay variety, Banana Bliss: Jungle Puzzles is still a game that is definitely worth your time. The game is a steal at $3.99, as it is completely jam-packed with an extensive amount of content and highly replayable levels. The level design is also top notch, and some of the later levels could prove to be quite challenging for even the biggest puzzle enthusiasts. This game is quickly becoming one of my favorite pick-up-and-play games on my 3DS, making it a perfect addition to the eShop’s stellar library.
Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.