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Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz hands-on

How well does the Wii's tilt-sensitive controller handle the hardcore ball-rolling series?

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But the main game is only half the package. The original Monkey Ball has eight little mini-games that, despite their simplicity, were the reason fans kept coming back long after they'd completed the tilting stages.

Banana Blitz is taking it's Party Games mode to the next level with a total of 50 mini-games which should keep you playing until the year 2076. Almost.

As well as remixed versions of all the old mini-games, the massive selection of new games will have you piloting submarines, playing a golf-like game with a Frisbee, shooting aliens in a space ship, tilting seesaws, boxing, racing, keeping a ball up with a bat - the list goes on forever.

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Frisbee golf was one of our favourites, which had us flicking the Wee Remote forward in a throwing motion to whisk a Frisbee down a course. Sega has replaced the hole in the floor with a glass dome containing a bunch of bananas - each player must break this dome to finish the course.

Hardcore Monkey Ball fans might be wandering why on earth we've not gone crazy over Monkey Target already. Sorry guys, Sega has changed it. For those who aren't familiar, it's a classic that has you rolling down a giant ramp to pick up speed and launch into the air, then open your monkey ball to fly to an land on a small target for points.

It was ROCK hard, but so annoyingly doable that you just couldn't put it down. But in Banana Blitz, it's just not the same game we know and love. To start with, kiss goodbye to the ramp - that's gone. Instead you're shot from a cannon, abolishing the various ramp techniques adopted by different players. There also only seemed to be one level, so there are no varying targets to aim for. And even the physics have changed, with eased gravity making it floaty. We were massively disappointed.

Regardless, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz is one of our most anticipated Wii launch games. The game looks and plays great, but it'll be interesting to see how the new control system performs after extensive play.

We're hoping expert players will be able to reach the same elite level that was achieved on the GameCube. The difference is that this set-up lacks the touch feed-back of an analogue stick, i.e. it's not as easy for your hand to naturally determine where the neutral central point is, or how far you need to tilt the controller for 100 percent tilt in the game.

Look out for a full review nearer the game's release on December 8.

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