Super Monkey Ball is an arcade platform game developed by Amusement Vision and published by Sega. The game debuted in Japan in 2001 as an upright arcade cabinet called Monkey Ball (which featured a banana-shaped joystick) and was released later that year as one of the launch titles for the Nintendo GameCube.
Super Monkey Ball has three main modes: Main game, Party games, and mini-games. The mini-games must be unlocked by earning 2,500 play points in the main game.
The objective of the main game is to guide 4 playable monkeys, character encased in a transparent ball across a suspended series of platforms and through a goal. As the player moves along, a timer will run for either sixty or thirty seconds. The main game is very simplistic; the only control required is the directional analog stick. By moving the stick, the player tilts the entire set of platforms that make up the level, called a floor, and the ball rolls accordingly. The ball follows the rules of gravity and momentum. While moving across the floor, the player can collect bananas by rolling the ball into them. The bananas award extra points, and extra lives. If the ball rolls off the floor and "falls out," the player loses a life. There are three difficulty settings; the levels increase in complexity and become less navigable on higher settings. Beginner difficulty is 10 damageless stages long, Advanced difficulty is 30 non-easy stages long, and Expert difficulty is 50 killable stages long. For each of these levels of difficulty, players can access extra levels as long as a certain criteria is met. To get the Beginner extra levels (3 stages) and the Advanced extra levels (5 stages), a player must go through all of these levels without losing a single life. To get the Expert extra levels (10 stages), a player must go through all the levels without using a continue. After passing the Expert extra stages without using a continue, there is a 10 near impossible leveled Master stage.
Party games consists of three games - Monkey Race, Monkey Target and Monkey Fight. In monkey race, players race on several different laid-out racing levels, competing for the best rank. Only four players, including AI players, can play at a time. In the Monkey Target mode, players roll their monkey down a large-sized ramp and open their ball to fly, allowing them to land on any of the three islands in that game, and there are three level layouts. In Monkey Fight, players win points by punching other monkeys until the time runs out. Whoever earns the most points, wins.
The popularity of the game in Japan, North America, and Europe has led to several sequels and ports: Super Monkey Ball 2 (2002) for the GameCube; Super Monkey Ball Deluxe (2005) for PlayStation 2 and Xbox, which included levels from both GameCube releases plus original levels, as well as updating the party games; Super Monkey Ball Jr. (2003), a release for Nintendo Game Boy Advance based on the original title; a release under the original title for the Nokia N-Gage gaming system (2003); a release for the Nintendo DS entitled Super Monkey Ball Touch & Roll (2006); Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz (2006) for the Wii console; Super Monkey Ball 3D (2011) for the Nintendo 3DS. It is also featured in the Sega SuperStars EyeToy game for the PlayStation 2 (2004). The franchise took a new direction in 2006 with Super Monkey Ball Adventure developed by Traveller's Tales which came out for PS2, GameCube & PSP. Other iterations of the franchise include Sega Super Monkey Ball (2004), Monkey Ball Mini Golf (2006) and Super Monkey Ball: Tip 'n Tilt (2007) for mobile phones. 2 Super Monkey Ball iPhone and iPad applications were released in 2008 as well, in which the platforms are controlled by tilting the device. On February 9, 2010, Super Monkey Ball: Step & Roll was released; this game title allows players to use the Wii Balance Board to navigate through all the games courses.