Super Monkey Ball Touch & Roll
There isn't a lot to screw up with Monkey Ball. Put monkey into hamster ball and roll it. Incredibly addictive and solid fun...for all. Luckily, it looks like Sega isn't straying from this winning formula when it comes to Super Moneky Ball Touch & Roll for the DS. The same monkey rolling shennanigans that everyone has come to love on the GameCube remains intact, just with a few sweet touches courtesty of the DS hardware.
The biggest change is the interface. The touch screen on the DS replaces the analog stick that players have gotten used to. A circle with your monkey inside represents your "rolling field". You use the stylus to influence the momentum of your ball. At first, it's a bit of an awkward interface as initial reactions are to constantly be stroking your monkey ball in whichever direction you want it to go. [Edit: Awkward...was that sentence] Once you get the hang of things and realize the stylus acts more as a means to influence direction, control in the game becomes incredibly comfortable.
The main section of the game features one hundred different courses, and just as in past Monkey Ball titles, each has its own way of getting a bit trickier the further you go along. Course design is admittedly nothing new to the series so nothing here is really going to blow your mind or show you something you've never seen before, but from the tracks previewed, everything is in fine working order. They are challenging, gratifying, and chock-full of monkey hijinks. Come now, don't tell us you've never rolled your monkey off the edge just to hear them scream.
To compliment the wireless functionality the DS, Super Moneky Ball Touch & Roll comes with the following multiplayer gameplay modes: Monkey Hockey and Monkey Wars. Returning are the classic party games Monkey Fight, Monkey Golf, Monkey Bowling and Monkey Race. Multiplay is flexible, thankfullly because up to four people can play Monkey Race and Monkey Wars using a single cart.
From what's been played of Super Moneky Ball Touch & Roll, it just feels "right". No Nintendo DS gimmicks or forced integration seem to get in the way of anything. There is a learning curve of course, but it's rather short and once you get past it you get to the good ol' Monkey times you crave, and it's refreshing to see this. A lot of games get muddled with nonsense just because they're on the DS. What Super Moneky Ball Touch & Roll looks to be is simply a portable iteration of the series. No funny business here at all.
There is very little reason to dislike anything about a Super Monkey Ball game. Sega knows what they are about, they embrace it, and they do it well. Fans of the series who want some portable Monkeyin' probably won't be dissapointed, and people who've denied themselves the simple fun that is Monkey Ball will now have another reason to check it out. Fan or no, if you own a Nintendo DS, you'd be a cheating yourself not to check back here come February upon the game's release for our review.
[Edit: What happened to this article's quality? Seems like Chef Felix has been hittin his own special sauce.]