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Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz comes to the Playstation Vita and seems to find a natural fit with its new controls - and even offers some nifty GPS features.
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz is all about rolling a Monkey in a ball around a course to collect bananas and reach the end within a strict time limit. This will, of course, be complicated by narrow passages and other kinds of obstacles which have traditionally made the Super Monkey Ball series an extremely fiddly test of control.
It seems natural to want to use motion controls to tilt the environment to roll the primates around. The Super Monkey Ball 3D (3DS) did attempt this, but I found it didn't manage to balance the changing screen angle with either the 3D or keeping track of the action. It will be a test for the Playstation Vita version as to whether it can provide intuitive gyroscope controls without causing you to lose sight of important action. If all else fails there's always dual stick control.
Another novel control feature will be the option to blow into the microphone to propel the Balls. This is an almost Nintendo-like example of creativity, which I imagine will come into its own when you just need a nudge to avoid falling off a platform. It appears that this game will be making great use of the Vita's features, including a GPS mode which will allow you to compare your score with other players locally.
The game will feature over 100 stages in different environments, as well as 8 mini-games including Monkey Target, Monkey Bingo, Number Ball. Monkey Target is a particular highlight; in the past this was a game mode which kept my friends and I playing long after the main game had been finished with. Essentially it involves gliding one of the monkeys through the sky onto a distant target, with greater points for more accuracy. Tricky, but fun!
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz is currently planned for release on the Playstation Vita during Summer 2012.
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