In a reversal of a familiar theme, today’s story did not all start with a mouse. Instead, it started with a monkey. It is, however, about to continue with a mouse, some time after said monkey has pretty much packed it in. Just bear with me, this is going somewhere.
Fans of physics-puzzlers, SEGA nerds, and rabid gluttons for punishment alike will doubtlessly be familiar with the Super Monkey Ball franchise. From its humble arcade origins (featuring rather questionable banana-shaped joysticks), to the GameCube, DS and even the Wii Balance Board, gamers of all ages have long enjoyed its bonkers fun, sending their sphere-bound simians barrelling down a variety of improbable tracks.
For every moment of pure joy watching your aerodynamic ape scream round bends, there’s one of pure distilled rage as you helplessly send the poor primate plummeting down a pit, all because you simply had to have that one banana (Dole branded, of course). Potassium deficiency can kill in more ways than one.
But hey, that blend of excitement and controller-snapping ire is why folks fell in love with the series to begin with. Which is why it’s so baffling that it has pretty much gone extinct. Not counting a couple of middling phone ports and a brief glimmer of hope in the form of an HD redo in 2019, the last original entry was 2012’s Banana Splitz. On the Vita. Really. That should give you some idea how long it’s been gone.
Fear not though, amateur anthropoids! An indie title, Rolled Out, has appeared on Steam Early Access and, well, to put it bluntly… it’s Super Monkey Ball. No exaggeration, no hyperbole. It’s the same damn game. The only difference being you’ve now got the life of a mouse in your sweaty, trembling hands as opposed to a monkey.
Coming courtesy of Polarbyte Games, Rolled Out appears to be dispensing with any pretence of being a simple tribute, and is instead positioning itself as a new, unofficial instalment in a franchise the developer seems intent on forgetting.
From what can be seen in the initial trailer (check it out below), the stages are taking more than a few cues from SEGA’s beloved arcade roller, with the surreal architecture and retina-searing colour palettes all present and accounted for.
The press release promises “150 hand-crafted stages” that will require “speedy reflexes,” “precise control”, and, presumably, money set aside for the inevitable controller replacement.
Well, rather Mickey than you, eh, AiAi?
Are you a fan of Super Monkey Ball? Are you looking forward to seeing its legacy continued in this way? Let us know below!